Before I begin with signs of low self-confidence and ways to improve them, I’d like to explain you’re the difference between Self-esteem and Self-confidence.
Although self-esteem and (self-) confidence are often used interchangeable, there is a crucial difference between both of them.
Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself overall; how much esteem, positive regard or self-love you have. Self-esteem develops from experiences and situations that have shaped how you view yourself today.
Self-confidence is how you feel about your abilities and can vary from situation to situation. I may have healthy self-esteem, but low confidence about situations involving my ability to do a work.
When you love yourself, your self-esteem improves, which makes you more confident. When you are confident in areas of your life, you begin to increase your self-confidence. Self-confidence might be said to stand on the shoulders of self-esteem. Without a healthy self-esteem, self-confidence has feet of clay. It might be temporarily ‘boosted’, but it cannot be sustained without genuine self-esteem. On the other hand, a healthy self-esteem nurtures self-confidence.
Signs of Low Self Confidence
A lack of self-confidence can be emotionally, physically and psychologically debilitating. The following are some signs that show that you may be lacking self-confidence.
- Want to & Need to explain
The need to explain actions is one of the signs of a lack of self-confidence. Mistakes happen to everyone, but those who have self-confidence issues may feel that they have to give reasons. Suppose someone was having lunch with a group of people whom he doesn’t know very well and then he accidentally dropped his glass of coke on the floor. What will he do? Well, some people will immediately start to give reasons to explain what just happened by using comments like “oh, the glass was just at the edge of the table” or “oh, I am so tired today, that’s why I wasn’t concentrating”. Confident people don’t give reasons for their actions; if you dropped the glass or made a mistake then it doesn’t change who you are. It’s your right to make mistakes because you are human and you don’t have to find excuses for doing them.
When people chronically complain and blame others, they may be suffering from a lack of self-confidence. This takes the responsibility off the person who does the complaining and puts it on those they are complaining about. The complainer with low self-esteem becomes the victim.
- Response immediately to criticism
When criticized, the person who lacks self-confidence may immediately make excuses. More confident people will listen to the criticism and decide later whether or not it is constructive. The need to make excuses shows the person’s desire to keep people from thinking he is worthless. I am sure that you have experienced a situation where upon saying a small critical comment to one of your friends he replied back immediately and aggressively. For example, if you told your friend something like “your performance wasn’t that good today” and he replied saying, “no no no, its just because I was tired” or “no I was just thinking of something else while working and that’s what why I was distracted”. This shows that he lacks self-confidence. Confident people listen to criticism and see whether it’s constructive or not. If it was constructive they accept it, if not, it doesn’t bother them much. If you saw a body building champion and told him “hey, you look pretty weak”, what will he do? He will just smile and move away because he knows that he’s a champion.
- Body Language is defensiveness
When a person has defensive body language, such as crossing the arms or legs, she may be exhibiting a lack of self-confidence by shutting others out. People who lack self-confidence always take the defensive position (arms folded and may be accompanied by crossing their legs). The gesture of closing off shows anxiety and discomfort in the environment.
People who lack self-confidence often need the approval of others to feel validated, according to Selfesteemawareness.com. If others accept the person who lacks confidence, then she must be okay. Not getting that approval or receiving criticism is frustrating and drives the level of self-confidence even lower. To change this, the person suffering from confidence problems needs to realize that not everyone will approve of her actions or be pleased with her decisions.
A friend of mine looked really upset one day and when I told him that he replied saying ”I never get upset and I never have problems”. What happened here? Is my friend a superman who is always happy?
Of course not, he is just compensating for his lack of self-confidence. Every one compensates in his own way. One person may become arrogant, another one may reply using the ‘never’ word just like in the previous example while others turn into perfectionists.
Some people’s self-esteem is so low they drive themselves to overachievement then fail to see that their ability was what brought success. They may consider themselves lucky rather than competent. They lack confidence in their own judgment, and they expect disapproval.
- Scare to change anything about surroundings or themselves
A lack of self-confidence can also motivate people to stay in unsatisfying situations. They may stay in a bad relationship or job that isn’t right for them because of a fear of change. The lack of confidence to make good decisions for change keeps them in negative environments.
When someone suffers from low self-esteem, he may become pessimistic and critical of all situations. He takes his negative feelings out on family, friends and coworkers, and lacks the ability to be optimistic.
Many sufferers from low self-confidence worries about the future and what might happen. They lack the ability to enjoy the present because they’re so worried about the bad things that might happen.