Lack of Self-Confidence: Symptoms, Causes, and Solutions

What is self-confidence?

Self-confidence is the path between being proud of oneself and self-pity. It’s the perception of self where an individual does not think too highly of oneself.

Think back on all your decisions and behaviors; self-confidence and, more importantly, self-esteem is right at the center.

The better you feel about yourself, the more confident you are. It’s the mirror in which you see yourself just as you are, acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. 

It’s A Fine Thread

Thus, self-confidence is the fine thread between pride and self-condemnation.

Finding a balance for some is a lifelong challenge, while others can adapt and learn by utilizing self-taught skills.

However, when this balance tips, one can either end up being a cocky person or be a too timid person lacking self-confidence.

What Low Self-Confidence Looks Like in People

  • A difficulty in mustering enough courage to take any kind of initiative due to fear of failure.
  • Fear of other people’s opinions.
  • Showing fear of criticism.
  • Pretending to be somebody they’re not.
  • Assuming others are better than themselves.
  • Avoiding social gatherings and events.
  • Giving reasons for everything they do.
  • They snapback aggressively to criticism.
  • Taking defensive postures like folding hands accompanied by crossing legs.
  • Seeking other people’s approval.
  • Judging themselves by what people say and think.
  • An inability to make decisions for themselves.
  • Panicking and getting overwhelmed at crossroads in life.

What Impacts Self-Confidence?

Various experiences may impact someone’s self-confidence and self-esteem. However, most of the influence comes from interactions when we’re younger.

Suppose someone begins their life in an environment where they are consistently praised and can develop high self-esteem.

In that case, they’re more likely to be successful when tested by temptations, rejections, adversity, etc.

However, if they come from an environment where they never learn to develop self-esteem, then when those same temptations and rejections arise, their confidence reduces even more. Thus, beginning a never-ending cycle. 

Lack of Self-Confidence Causes

Neglect During Childhood

The saying “children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes an impression” fits perfectly here. The years of childhood are the molding years in a person’s life, and a dysfunctional childhood can inhibit an adolescent’s development.

Not receiving a parent’s love and attention while growing up could cause a child to believe they weren’t good enough for their caregivers.

Moreover, children living in families with constant quarrels between parents can cause the child to think they may somehow be responsible for all the problems and end up with self-blame.

This self-blame and self-doubt create a barrier to personal development as it becomes difficult to face the world with confidence in the face of adversity.


Whether it be mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual, or physical abuse, abuse during childhood years can result in a lack of self-confidence in adulthood. Many children who experience types of abuse become shy and withdrawn. 

Additionally, victims of sexual abuse may not want anybody to know what is happening to them, so they avoid making friends and remain aloof.

The wounds caused by sexual and child abuse leave marks on their lives, which, when left unresolved, results in low self-esteem in adulthood.

Moreover, families with a history of alcohol, drug abuse, etc. are also seen to occur in children with low self-esteem.


Children and adults who are obese often find it difficult to boost their self-confidence. With ridicule at school and work, these individuals begin to suffer from a poor self-image among family and peers. 

Having thinner friends who can fit into fashionable clothes compared to their baggy outfits makes them feel like trash. They begin to look down upon their appearance and begin to shy away from social gatherings.

High Expectation from Parents

Parents with the desire to see their children succeed in the future push them into all kinds of classes and extracurricular activities.

They spend a lot of money and time on their child’s development and keep telling their child how they should work very hard and be grateful since they have an opportunity to learn. 

They increase the pressure if the children find it challenging to cope up.

Consequently, a child’s self-confidence gets reduced. The child begins to feel he or she is too dumb and wasting their parent’s money and effort.

Controlling Parents

Controlling parents are those parents who wish to control the children’s lives to create well-disciplined and responsible individuals.

However, in this attempt, they fail to let go of their children and prevent them from thinking for themselves. They keep criticizing their child and expect perfection. 

Ultimately causing the child to become fearful and discouraged.

Controlling parents refuse to listen to their children’s opinions and desires and repress all signs of confidence from them.

Narcissistic Mother

Mothers, your role in a child’s upbringing is invaluable. Your love nurtures, teaches, and nurtures offspring, allowing them to blossom into beautiful human beings.

However, narcissistic mothers are mothers who only want love and attention from their small child. 

Instead of giving respect to their young ones, these mothers demand love. For these mothers, their children exist only to fulfill one duty, complying with their own needs. 

They refuse to acknowledge that their child has his or her personal needs.

In turn, the child begins to lose confidence and fails to understand why his or her mother’s love is limited to only when he or she does something she wants.

How to Overcome Lack of Self-Confidence

A lack of self-confidence conduces to increased levels of stress and depression. The person slips into the pit of depression and can develop disorders like bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.

Additionally, they may end up ruminating on his or her weaknesses and getting entangled in obsessive thinking. 

Sometimes people who cannot handle overwhelming situations begin to lose their self-confidence to such an extent that they completely shut down, isolate, and shy away from others.

Therefore, these individuals are more prone to substance abuse, impulsive decision making, poor sleep habits, and poor performance.

It’s crucial to hoist oneself as soon as one recognizes that he or she is losing self-confidence. Let’s look at how we can build our self-confidence by resorting to a more dependable method.

You are Capable and Wonderful

The first step to overcoming a lack of self-confidence is accepting who you are and no longer blaming yourself or creating excuses for what you are not. 

Who cares what your friends are doing or what job your neighbor has? How are you improving?

You have weaknesses, but so do I and the next person. Learn to see your weaknesses for what they are and then find your strengths. You are capable, enjoyable, and valuable as you are.

Take a moment and embrace the fact that we falter, fail, and make mistakes as humans. To err is human, so don’t place the bar of expectations so high for yourself.

You do not need to do things perfectly and correctly the first time or every single time. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Give yourself some space to grow.


Beneath the blanket of self-confidence lies a lot of disappointment, betrayal, pain, and emotional wounds.

Before you rip the curtain of self-blame and move ahead to a new world of confidence, it is crucial to deal with the scars hidden under the blanket.

You need to list all the people who have hurt you in words or actions and forgive them.  How does it help?  

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

– Nelson Mandela.

When we hold inside that unforgiveness, it’s ourselves who ends up being poisoned. So let go, even though it may seem bizarre.

Be it abuse, a narcissistic mother, controlling parents, an ex-partner, betraying friends, etc. do not hold anything against those who brought you pain.

Not forgiving them will only cause you to remain in your past and never let you live a confident and pleasant life.


You have spent enough time ruminating about other’s opinions and what they think of you. You have spent enough time condemning yourself and avoiding people; however, now it’s time to talk and let out what you think and feel. 

Find a friend, an elder you can trust, or a counselor, and share what you have gone through. Letting it all out will help you get out of your past.

Do not be under the impression that you waste somebody’s time by dwelling on your aches and pains. Share your sorrow, and you will find relief and new strength.

Acknowledge Your Strengths and Weaknesses

We all have them – even your favorite celebrity that seems “perfect.” Begin to lower the bar of expectation and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses; in fact, list them in a journal daily. 

Now, accept yourself for who you are. 

Understand that you, as a person, can only be stretched to a specific limit. Realize that you do not need to strive to be perfect because this will only exhaust you. Spend time doing what you like and invest time in your hobbies.

Set Goals

In what direction are you taking your life? Or are you along for the ride? Goals give us purpose and clarity. Setting realistic goals for yourself will help you boost your self-confidence immediately by giving you something to strive for. 

For the purposes left unaccomplished, accept that you cannot achieve everything, and sometimes you will fail or have to modify. But, failure does not determine your self-worth. Learn from the experience and use it to your benefit.

Take home

The best part about the lack of self-confidence is that it is not an irreversible process. If you lack self-confidence, you can move out and tread the path of life with the utmost confidence.

The time we spend on this earth is too precious to be spent worrying about what others think of you; instead, we are here to live abundant lives the way we choose to.

Ask yourself: “How can I get better?”

Accept this challenge, make a list, and complete it. Once it’s complete, begin a new plan.

You’re capable of doing anything that you.

So why not try? Why not you?

Thanks for reading. I hope the words in this article were helpful or helped spark conversation.

What do you do to boost self-confidence? Let us know below.

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