Break Free: 24 Signs of Insecurity to Leave Behind

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Self-reflection is often challenging when we don’t want to face things that make us feel inadequate. Taking the time to identify areas you can work on is important. There are a few signs that you or someone you know is insecure in some way, and it’s time to identify and address those feelings. Recognizing and working on these aspects will contribute to personal growth and foster increased confidence.

1. Excessive Self-Criticism

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Ever catch yourself in a never-ending loop of self-critique? That inner perfectionist might be causing unnecessary stress. Ease up, cut yourself some slack, and remember, it’s okay not to have it all figured out. Growth comes with learning, not flawless execution.

2. Constant Need for Validation

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Seeking validation at every turn is not a good thing. It’s a sign of insecurity. While external affirmation feels good, relying on it too much can be draining. Focus on building internal confidence — acknowledge your achievements and worth without constantly seeking approval from others.

3. Fear of Rejection or Abandonment

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Reluctance to embrace vulnerability is evident when you don't want to open up. Some of us may struggle with the fear of thinking that someone won’t accept us as we are, especially in areas like dating and friendships. Putting yourself out there is pivotal for fostering authentic connections. Allowing others into your world builds genuine relationships and nurtures a stronger sense of self.

4. Difficulty Accepting Compliments

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Difficulty accepting compliments usually stems from more than just humility; it’s often linked to self-worth. Overcoming this challenge involves recognizing your value and graciously acknowledging positive feedback. Allow yourself to bask in the affirmations you’ve earned.

5. Perfectionism

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Being stuck in the perfectionism trap is a classic sign of having unrealistic expectations. While high standards are commendable, unattainable expectations can lead to stress. Accept the idea that mistakes are part of growth and that progress matters more than perfection.

6. Avoiding Social Situations

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Steering clear of particular social scenes? It might come from discomfort or past experiences. Some of us are introverts, so there is that to consider, but there comes a point where your avoidance of being social might be debilitating or detrimental to your progress. Facing these situations gradually can build confidence. Understand that everyone has moments of unease, and it’s perfectly fine to navigate social spaces at your own pace.

7. Over Apologizing

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Apologizing excessively goes beyond politeness — it typically reveals a lack of willingness to disappoint or inconvenience others. Apologize when necessary, but not every situation warrants it. Strike a balance to maintain genuine relationships without diminishing your own value in the process.

8. Frequent Self-Doubt

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Constantly doubting yourself is a clear indicator of uncertainty. Challenge negative thoughts, pay attention to your capabilities, and celebrate achievements. Building self-confidence means utilizing your strengths, learning from challenges, and preventing doubt from overshadowing your full potential.

9. Comparing Oneself to Others

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Constantly measuring yourself against others can and will erode your confidence. There’s always someone in a better (or worse) position than we are at various stages of life. Remember, each person’s journey is unique. Focus on your progress and appreciate the individuality that makes you stand out in your own way.

10. Always Being Indecisive

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We won’t always make the right choices in life, and that’s alright. Being unable to make a choice because you’re afraid to fail means that you’re insecure in your decision-making abilities. Trust your instincts, weigh options, and remember that decisions, even if imperfect, contribute to growth.

11. Overly Defensive Behavior

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Consistently being overly defensive could indicate an internal struggle. Constantly justifying or deflecting criticism might suggest a fear of being exposed. Take constructive feedback, note that you are a flawed creature, as we all are, and move on. You should be self-aware and understand that not everyone is out to get you or attack your character. Get used to not always being right and accept that we all have things to work on.

12. Fear of Expressing Opinions

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Hesitation to express opinions or speak up might indicate a low opinion of yourself. You have a unique perspective, and your opinions are valid whether someone agrees with you or not. You have to get to a place where you realize your voice matters, especially when it’s an area where you know your stuff!

13. Clingy in a Relationship

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This sign is the most common way that people usually identify insecurity within themselves, but it’s not foolproof. It depends on how clingy you are. Sometimes people just really like to be around their person! However, if you’re clingy and overbearing because you’re afraid to get cheated on, then that’s a problem.

14. Constant Attention Seeking

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You don’t always have to be the most important person in the room. People who feel a need to remind everyone how much they matter and to overcompensate if someone gets a bit more attention than them are insecure. It’s okay to blend in with the crowd and go with the flow.

15. Being Mean to Others

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I hate to be around people who feel the need to constantly put someone else down to make themselves feel better. That’s gross. You have to be secure enough within yourself that you don’t feel like you have to bring negative attention to someone else so that you can be comfortable in your own skin.

16. Reluctance To Try New Things

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Embrace the unknown! Overcoming insecurity starts with challenging yourself. Break free from the shackles of reluctance. Step into discomfort with courage. Every “first” is a step towards a more confident you. It’s also okay to fail at new endeavors and to pick yourself up and try something else!

17. No Accountability

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Finding the fault in everyone else and blaming others for your shortcomings is a classic sign of insecurity. Try to focus on rebounding when you make a mistake instead of pretending that any unflattering characteristic you possess or bad decision you made wasn’t because of you.

18. Feeling Threatened by Others' Success

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Cultivate a mindset that views success as a collective journey. I love those friends who cheer you on as you go. Everyone can win together. Just because you may not be where the next person is during their life journey doesn’t mean that you’re failing or inadequate. You’ll get there — just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

19. Difficulty Maintaining Eye Contact

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Difficulty maintaining eye contact may hinder effective communication. Practice gradual improvements by focusing on short intervals. Build confidence by engaging in conversations and maintaining eye contact, facilitating stronger connections in personal and professional interactions. Remember that you have something meaningful to offer during a conversation.

20. Superficial

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Excessive concern about physical appearance may impact self-esteem. Redirect your attention towards inner qualities and accomplishments. Take on a more holistic view of self-worth, recognizing the richness beyond external appearances. It's annoying when you come across people who are constantly measuring their value against how many likes and subscriptions they get for money, fame, looks, etc.

21. Self-Sabotage

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Imposter syndrome is a real thing! When someone operates as though they don’t deserve happiness or success, it’s a sign that they’re insecure within themselves. Constant intrusive thoughts make you feel like you’re not good enough, you shouldn’t be happy, or that you messed up too many times to have this or that. Away with that — you deserve whatever you’ve earned or been given.

22. Overly Accommodating Others

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Being overly accommodating can neglect your needs. It’s okay to help others but don’t be a people pleaser to your detriment. Set boundaries, prioritize yourself, and be respectfully assertive. You must find a balance between kindness and self-preservation for healthier relationships and personal well-being.

23. Avoidance of Leadership Roles

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Avoiding leadership roles hinders personal growth. Challenge yourself by taking on leadership responsibilities. Accept opportunities to lead, develop valuable skills, and build confidence in your abilities. It can be daunting, but it can also be very rewarding! Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and your style of leadership doesn’t have to look like the next person’s. All that matters is that it’s effective.

24. Perceiving Challenges as Threats Rather Than Opportunities

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Perceiving challenges as threats also hampers your growth and keeps you from acquiring new perspectives in life. Change your outlook and consider challenges as chances for learning and improvement. Approach difficulties with a positive mindset to build resilience and unlock opportunities for personal and professional development.

Author: Creshonda Smith

Title: Trending Topics Writer

Expertise: Travel, Food, Parenting, Lifestyle


Creshonda is a content writer with a passion for entertainment and lifestyle topics like parenting, travel, and movies. Hailing from Cleveland, OH, she graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor's and master's degree in Clinical Social Work. While she has specific topics that she enjoys writing about, she likes to tackle other topics that she's not as familiar with in an attempt to continually improve her writing skills and knowledge about the world around us. Creshonda has written for various publications such as MSN, Detroit Legal News, Jacksonville Journal-Courier, and more. When she's not serving as a Trending Topics writer for Wealth of Geeks, she's searching for tropical destinations to travel to with her family.