On the outside, it looks like your life couldn’t get any better. Good job, amazing relationship, and a friend group so tight you have a shared Spotify playlist.
And when people ask, you can’t help but boast about how great things are. But deep down, things aren’t quite what they seem.
Not only did you miss out on that big promotion, but those little “quirks” of yours are drawing attention in all the wrong ways.
Usually, you’re so self-assured, but that confident facade of yours isn’t living up to the hype. You don’t understand what’s happening, you were killing it (and then some).
At least that’s what you thought.
Here’s the thing – the signs are subtle but you’ve been keeping a secret. Not just from your peers but also from yourself.
So what’s the takeaway? Well, if you display these nine behaviors, you’re being insecure without realizing it.
1) You hate the spotlight
Did you know that the human face can make up to 21 different facial expressions?
It’s true. Each expression uses a different muscle to represent a specific emotion. Be it surprised, happy, sad, mad… you get the idea. If only for a microsecond.
So why am I bringing this up?
Let me put it this way – body language says a lot about a person. And yours? Well, let’s just say it’s giving off some serious insecure vibes.
When you’re in a crowd, you do everything in your power to slip in and out unnoticed. You hate attention, and to avoid it, you quite literally shrink down and make yourself smaller.
And chances are, you do it without realizing. Hey – even the best poker players have a tell.
Perhaps you slump your shoulders and stand with your arms closed or close to your body with your head facing down. It may even be more subtle.
For instance: keeping your palms hidden or your legs rigid and closed like you’re auditioning for the role of ‘Beanpole Number 3’.
Either way, you do whatever it takes to dodge the limelight and evade people’s gaze. And that includes averting your eyes.
2) You avoid eye contact
People often say that eyes are the window to the soul and research shows, that there might be some truth behind it.
Just like body language, your eye movements can provide us with a lot of emotional information. In fact, experts say it can reveal more than 50 different mental states. Because of this, it’s an important part of non-verbal communication.
Let me explain.
When someone maintains eye contact, it’s a sign that they’re paying attention. Conversely, when you regularly break eye contact, it signals disinterest.
Or in your case, it’s a warning that you’re uncomfortable. And that’s because you’re insecure.
That’s right. Looking away, together with rapid or decreased blinking, can indicate that you’re lacking confidence and trying to hide it. Even your pupil size can give you away.
Simply put – eye contact is how we build connections and trust. When you’re insecure, that closeness is something you fear the most.
3) You use everyday objects as a shield
I’m sure you’ve heard someone mention that they’re “putting on their face” or “applying their war paint” before.
Well, in the same way you use posture and eye contact to avoid attention, your fashion choices are designed to keep people at a distance.
It doesn’t have to be make-up, of course.
Sunglasses, a cleverly positioned bag, chunky jewelry – you use these items like modern-day armor. Even the way you zip your coat up signals “stay away”.
You tell yourself it’s to project confidence and empowerment. But the fact is, you’re insecure.
However, it doesn’t just stop at fashion choices – it’s everyday objects too.
Just take that party the other day. Not only did you beeline towards the couch, but you grabbed a throw cushion to create a barrier.
And when you finally left your fortress of solitude to grab a drink, you held that beer glass firmly in front of your chest like some kind of medieval shield.
These actions seem slight at first, but they all point to your hidden insecurity.
4) You can’t take a compliment
True to form, you struggle to take a compliment, even when it’s deserved. In fact, it’s downright painful for you. As a result, you’ll do whatever it takes to evade praise by downplaying your achievements.
The thing is – you think you’re being humble, but in reality, you’re exhibiting some insecure behavior.
Ultimately, you feel unworthy of praise – an imposter. Not only that, but it draws unnecessary attention – something else you grapple with.
And if you’ve gone through trauma, you worry it might come with strings or hidden motives.
But just because compliments are painful, doesn’t mean you don’t need reassurance from time to time.
5) You need constant reassurance
I know, I know. It’s confusing.
On the one hand, you resist compliments and praise (of any kind) like the plague. And on the other, you crave acceptance and approval from others by actively fishing for them.
What can I say, you’re one complicated cookie.
But if your mood hinges on the number of likes or comments on your latest post, you use your sexuality to feel better about yourself, you constantly seek reassurance that you’ve “done the right thing” or “made the right decision”, or you fail to take the initiative.
Well, those are all signs that you’re insecure.
Mostly, though, you’re a perfectionist at heart. As a result, you overthink everything.
6) You suffer from paralysis analysis
Perfectionism is often considered a good thing. It demonstrates a desire for greatness by any means necessary. And that’s how you view it – you always have.
But research shows that there’s a subtle difference between perfectionism and excellence. The truth is, it can be damaging to your health.
Because let’s face it.
There’s no such thing as perfect. That constant need for perfectionism will never get filled. It’s simply unattainable, and when you fail to reach your goal of “perfection”, it can seriously knock your self-esteem.
Team that with your deep-rooted insecurity and that pressure is multiplied. Before you know it, you’re consumed by that self-defeating cycle of negativity.
The thing is – it’s self-inflicted.
Ultimately, you have a warped perception of “perfect”. Your insecurity makes you feel inadequate (no matter what) and until you learn to embrace your imperfections, your best will never be good enough.
Not only that, but you need to accept that perfect doesn’t exist.
7) You always say “sorry”
You’re extremely polite. After all, you were raised to always own up to your mistakes and say sorry when you did something wrong.
It’s the respectful thing to do, right?
Well, yes. Typically, it’s good to take responsibility for your actions. However, when you start apologizing for every little thing, whether it’s your fault or not, it can suggest that you’re insecure.
Especially if the thing you’re apologizing for doesn’t warrant an apology in the first place.
For instance, if you often start sentences with “sorry if” or “sorry to”, it can come across as passive. Not only that, but it undermines anything that comes afterward and shows a lack of confidence.
In fact, by its very nature, you’re preempting a negative response.
And if you really think about it, the real reason you say “sorry” at the drop of a hat is that you’re too concerned about what people think.
Not only does it make you look insecure, but it can seem disingenuous and insincere. Some might say, passive-aggressive.
Simply put – over-apologizing actually does more harm than good, even if you’re doing it to be nice (a people-pleaser).
Something which brings us to the next point…
8) But you can’t say “no”
For such a short word, “no” can also be incredibly powerful.
So when someone asks a favor, it can be difficult to refuse. That would mean letting that person down or worse, potential conflict – two things you can’t abide.
The truth is – you can’t help it, and that’s because you’re a people-pleaser.
But what does that mean?
Just like it sounds, you’re motivated by your need to please others, even at the risk of your own well-being.
Simply put – your insecurity makes you fearful. By that, I mean you worry about rejection, failure, and disapproval from your peers. In fact, your biggest fear is disappointing others.
So, even if you’re busy or not interested, your insecurity often gets the better of you.
9) You talk too much (until you don’t)
On the rare occasion you decide to accept an invite to a social gathering, do you find yourself dominating the conversation? Either that or you have trouble saying anything at all.
Sure. It could be the liquid courage you drank before the party. Or maybe, it’s a telltale sign you’re feeling insecure.
That’s right. Incessant chatter, tripping over your words, constant interrupting, and awkward silence can all indicate a lack of confidence.
Look – we all get a little self-conscious sometimes, particularly when we’re in a big crowd. But when you’re insecure, it’s difficult not to be self-focused.
Because of this, you miss key conversational cues.
Instead, you stumble your way through the discussion – all while trying desperately to ignore your inner dialogue.
The spotlight effect is a phenomenon where an individual feels like all eyes are on them. Basically, they overestimate how much people are paying attention to their every word.
The thing is – oftentimes, they’re not. They didn’t notice that word you mispronounced, or that piece of cake in your teeth.
Nope, it was just your insecurity coming out to play.