10 personality traits found in people who lack self-confidence (and #3 is so challenging)

It's easier said than done to be confident, but it's important to push ourselves when we recognise the signs of low-confidence

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A personal success expert reveal the ten personality traits often found in people who lack self-confidence - and a psychotherapist shares how they can impact day-to-day life. 

It's easier said than done to be confident a lot of the time, isn't it? We can use phrases that make you a more confident parent  but it's still a universal experience to lack self-confidence some of the time. 

So recognising the traits of those with low levels of confidence, whether it's yourself or a friend, could be vital in helping you or them to build a more positive self-image and, therefore, more self-confidence. According to personal success expert Holly Burns there are ten worrying traits should be on the lookout for. Writing in New Trader U, Holly reveals exactly what the traits are. 

10 personality traits found in those lacking self-confidence

  1. Perfectionism. "Perfectionists often set unrealistic standards for themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy and disappointment when they inevitably fall short," Burns explains, adding that perfectionism often also leads people to procrastination as the 'overwhelming' worry about something being perfect means they never start it at all. 
  2. Overthinking. As well as making the brain run over conversations again and again to pick out where you may have tripped up, overthinking can also, the expert says, "Lead to decision paralysis, as the individual becomes so caught up in weighing the pros and cons that they struggle to ever take action."
  3. Self-Criticism. We're all guilty of it from time to time and know that self-criticism is a tough cycle to break out of. You talk yourself down so you have even less self-confidence, leading you to again talk yourself down, and down, and the cycle continues. 
  4. Avoidance Of Risks And Challenges. Engaging in risks and challenges is what helps us grow as people. But those with low self-confidence often avoid these challenges for fear of failure or embarrassment. 
  5. Seeking External Validation. Because they can't get validation from themselves, people with low self-confidence often have to turn to others to make them feel good about themselves. The expert says, "While positive feedback can be helpful, an over-reliance on external validation can be problematic. It can lead to a fragile sense of self easily shaken by criticism or lack of recognition."
  6. Difficulty Accepting Compliments. It seems to be in contrast with 'Seeking External Validation,' but you might notice someone with low self-confidence deflecting the praise given to them or downplaying their accomplishments. 
  7. Negative Self-Talk. With all the self-criticism, external validation and difficulty accepting and believing compliments, people with low self-confidence often perpetuate a negative mindset that can be hard to get out of and constantly inspires negative self-talk. 
  8. Comparing Oneself To Others. "Social media can exacerbate this tendency, as people often present curated versions of their lives online, leading others to believe that everyone else is more successful, attractive, or happy," says the expert. "It’s essential to remember that everyone has a unique journey and that comparison is rarely fair or productive."
  9. Difficulty Asserting Oneself. Those who don't believe in themselves may often struggle to share their needs, desires, and opinions with others, fearing that they'll be dismissed or berated for doing so. 
  10. Procrastination. The expert explains, "Individuals may procrastinate due to fear of failure, perfectionism, or a belief that they lack the skills or knowledge to complete the task. Procrastination can lead to a vicious cycle, as the longer one puts off a task, the more daunting it becomes, further eroding self-confidence."  

But why do people with low self-confidence exhibit so many of these negative traits? According to Eloise Skinner, an author and psychotherapist who spoke with us here at Goodto.com, "When it comes to why people might develop these traits, it really will depend on the individual. 

"One common factor is childhood upbringing as growing up in a tough or demanding environment can reduce self-confidence or self-belief. Another is encountering big challenges early on in life such as a lack of support from a social group or important relationship. There are also practical factors like the loss of a job or failure of a business - although these factors are likely to be more circumstantial, with individuals possibly able to gather self-confidence back over time."

But whatever the cause, the impact of low self-confidence is the same and can lead to a huge range of practical consequences. "It might lower ambitions and personal goals, or make us less tolerant of risk, or even make us feel less creative or artistic," Skinner said. 

"It can prevent us from sharing innovative ideas or strategies at work, fighting for a raise or promotion, or volunteering ourselves for new opportunities. On a personal level, it can hold us back from making new connections and relationships, socialising with others, or expressing vulnerability within our relationships. Emotionally, over time, it could also result in excessive comparison to others, or even a feeling of frustration or disappointment."

Therefore, noticing, recognising and challenging the traits associated with low self-confidence, whether you recognise them in yourself or in another, is vital. But doing that can be hard. We've got you covered with insight on body positivity, our list of inspirational quotes that can motivate, inspire and share positivity every day, and we've rounded up nine of the best positivity planners for parents

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.