11 phrases that instantly show you’re insecure

The way we speak often reveals our innermost thoughts and feelings.

The way we perceive the world and ourselves is often communicated through our choice of words, which can also influence the way others view us. 

Insecurity is something that most of us grapple with at some point in our lives.

It’s a normal part of being human, but when it starts to seep into our everyday communication, it can become a hindrance to personal growth and healthy relationships. 

Expressing your insecurity too much or too often can cause people to feel pity or uncomfortable around you. In some instances, it can lead others to take advantage of you.

Learn these 11 phrases that instantly signal feelings of insecurity so you can avoid them:

1) “I’m not ______ enough.”

Saying you are not good, young, skinny, smart, or anything “enough” is the first giveaway of your insecurity.

It’s a telltale sign of low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth when you constantly doubt your abilities and compare yourself negatively to others.

If you’re not careful about your choice of words, you broadcast your insecurity loud and clear.

2) “I’m too ______”

Saying you are “too” anything has the same effect as not being “enough”. 

It perpetuates the idea that you’re not exactly who you should be, which is not true. We are always exactly who we should be.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for self-growth, but self-growth can be approached with a loving, understanding, and kind attitude toward oneself. 

So try to build the trust that you’re exactly where you need to be!

This phrase also sometimes applies if you’re over-complimenting yourself, by saying things like, “I’m too good for that” or “I’m too smart for them”.

Sometimes, displays of “confidence” like this can actually be masks to cover up deep wounds of insecurity – and most people can see right through them. 

3) “What will/do they think of me?”

Worrying excessively about what others think of you is a classic sign of not feeling secure in yourself.

Someone who has self-trust and confidence and knows they are who they want to be, won’t question how they’re received by other people. 

While it’s natural to care somewhat about our social standing, obsessing over other people’s opinions of you can be indicative that you need to seek less external validation and work more on validating yourself.

4) “It’s OK, I don’t want to be a burden.”

Do you turn down people’s offers to help you out because you feel bad about being a burden?

Excessive self-sacrifice and a reluctance to ask for help can stem from insecurity. 

Try to recognize that giving others the opportunity to give to you if they want to, is just as much of a gift. Most people feel good about helping you out if they care about you.

By denying them this opportunity to help or give, you’re denying a potential strengthening of the bond, friendship, or connection.

Also remember that seeking assistance or support when needed is a sign of strength, not weakness.

5) “Sorry for being _____”

Over-apologizing is a habit many insecure individuals fall into, especially if it’s apologizing for being a certain way rather than doing a certain action that was a mistake.

Constantly apologizing for minor or non-existent offenses implies a fear of upsetting others and a need to be in their good graces.

Apologizing for being a certain way is like saying that you are inherently ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’, just for being yourself. 

This is inaccurate, shows insecurity, and may make others feel uncomfortable. 

6) “I don’t think/ know if I can ______.”

Here’s an uncommonly known secret: you’re capable of anything you want because your mind can be extremely powerful if used correctly.

Yes – anything.

But the ironic kicker is that the main key that unlocks this potential is self-belief. Without it, you will be as incapable as you believe. 

So when you immediately dismiss challenges or new experiences with “I can’t do it,” you’re showcasing a lack of self-belief, and ultimately telling yourself and others that you’re incapable.

Try to embrace challenges and believe in your ability to overcome them, and your confidence will naturally build on itself.

7) “I don’t deserve ______”

phrases lack of empathy 11 phrases that instantly show you’re insecure

Feeling unworthy of good things or success is a common insecurity. 

You’re undermining your self-worth if you say that you don’t deserve something that’s either being offered to you or is being discussed as a possibility, whether it’s a gift, credit, praise, or a dream. 

If you believe in the law of attraction, believing you don’t deserve something often will actually repel it even more from coming to you. 

We attract what we are aligned with, and if you don’t see yourself as aligned with a certain prospect, then others may not either. 

Practice giving yourself more credit for your abilities and skills!

8) “I’ll never be as good as_____”

Comparison is a big yikes – both for you and the people listening to you.

Whether you’re comparing yourself in a negative light, or saying you’re better than someone, both express insecurity. 

Healthy competition can be motivating, but relentless self-comparison often in one way or another leads to self-doubt.

Undervaluing yourself compared to others diminishes your self-worth. Overvaluing yourself compared to others shows a need to be valued by being better. 

 Instead of comparing yourself, focus on your strengths and areas for growth.

9) “I’m the best at everything I do”

On the flip side of feeling “not enough”, sometimes people display their insecurity through phrases that put other people down or strive to put themselves above others. 

It often signifies a superiority complex, which actually stems from insecurity and a fear of not being good enough or the best. 

A desire to always be the best is very different from a statement like “I’m amazing at everything I do”, which isn’t coming from comparison to others. 

This subtle difference can indicate the fine line between true confidence, and insecurity masked as confidence.

10) “I’m such a failure.”

Labeling yourself as a failure, especially after a setback, can be detrimental to your self-esteem. 

The way we speak to ourselves is so important in determining our self-image.


If we define ourselves negatively through normal setbacks in life, it can forever impact the lens through which we see ourselves.

Failure is a part of life, and it’s essential to learn from it rather than internalizing it as a reflection of your worth.

Instead, try to embrace them as a stepping stone that helps you grow, gives you greater perspective, and informs you on how to do better next time. 

That’s what a secure person does. 

They don’t seek perfection, they just have patience and forgiveness for themselves when things take longer than they anticipated.

11) “I wish I could be more like _____.”

Wishing to be someone else is a clear indicator of dissatisfaction with yourself. 

Instead of rejecting yourself and desiring to be like another, try to understand the parts of them that inspire you, and integrate them in a healthy way.

You have your own unique gifts to offer the world that nobody, not even those you look up to, can replicate. 

So try to embrace your individuality and focus on self-improvement instead of trying to emulate others.


So we’ve learned that words hold the power to shine a spotlight on our deepest insecurities

Insecurity is a common facet of the human experience, but when it seeps into our everyday communication, it can hinder our personal growth and relationships as well as impact how we view ourselves.

Even if we already think it, saying it out loud impairs our self-belief that much deeper. 

It makes it more real.

The phrases we’ve explored in this article are like signposts pointing to our inner struggles with self-esteem and self-worth. They can signal to others that we harbor doubts about our abilities and place in the world.

Moments of self-doubt are natural, but it’s also helpful to deal with this on our own rather than putting it on others. There’s nothing they can truly do to help you overcome these insecurities. 

They can validate us, but that only creates more of a need for validation, rather than actually building self-confidence. Only you can truly build your self-confidence.

So, as you embark on your journey to greater self-assurance, keep these phrases in check. 

They may have once been your security blankets, but shedding them can lead you toward a more confident, authentic, and fulfilling life.

Remember that confidence isn’t about perfection! It’s about cultivating forgiveness for our shortfalls and using them to make better decisions, with grace. 

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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