There are some things you just can’t fake. Confidence is one of them.
In The Healthy Mind Toolkit, a new book by Alice Boyes, Ph.D., the author breaks down the importance of being able to check your ego. Unfortunately, like in most things, too much self-doubt is just as bad too little. Boyes notes that no matter how hard men and women try, those with low self esteem give themselves away in their daily interactions. Here’s how.
1 They Keep Good Ideas to Themselves
Know a shortcut to the local bar or have great idea for our new project at work? If you kept the thoughts to yourself, or only told someone who couldn’t help create change, it’s likely not modesty holding you back. Boyes says people who lack confidence tend to be quiet about their big ideas in social and professional settings. Making a change requires practice. Start in settings where you feel safer, like intimate friend circles or small work groups. It’s a muscle you have to work on.
2 They Overthink Requests v. Asking Directly
Unconfident people tend to beat around the bush. Their rationalizations aren’t based on consideration, but fear. They fear rejection, embarrassment and lack of validation. Want a date with a person you’re feeling or a raise? Don’t beat around the bush. Speak up.
3 They Defer To Others, Even When It’s Not Necessary
Ever let your colleagues pick their vacation days first? How about letting your partner dictate what you do during all of your dates? Yes, allowing someone to get a win in periodically is cool, but if you’re consistently putting the needs of others before your own, you’re not being nice. You are being fearful. By de-valuing your position in the relationship—whether it’s personal or professional—you’re letting others know they matter more than you.
4 They Obsess Over People’s Responses
If you spend a lot of time thinking about how to get people to respond positively to your thoughts or requests, and significantly modify your asks for favorable responses, you’ve got a people-pleasing issue. Building your confidence requires a better balance of your needs and wants v. those of your friends, colleagues and family.
5 They Let Mistakes From The Past Hold Them Back
Maybe you messed up during a speech, so you avoid public speaking. Or perhaps you had a bad experience with dating, so you’ve sworn off apps. Unconfident people reduce their thinking to absolutes—either you’re good or bad at something—and use the rationalization to avoid action. There are better options, such as pushing yourself to think beyond shortcomings, and getting assistance in areas where you need support. Invest in your growth.