7 Habits of Deeply Insecure People


After I switched schools in my third year in secondary school, I couldn’t stay asleep for up to five days before resuming my new school.

Panic. “What would my new classmates think of me? Omg, what are the girls like? They are all probably very smart in that school, how I’m I going to cope?”

We all care, to an extent, about what others think of us. To completely ignore what others think of you is impractical. However, some people are on the extreme of the approval-seeking spectrum.

Here are seven ways to spot someone overly concerned about what others think of them. No one is perfect. If you spot any of them related to you, simply use the knowledge to improve yourself.

1. They have a high need for approval

People who are too concerned about the approval of others will go to extra lengths to make sure that their words and actions are perfect. They can’t separate who they are from their mistakes.

Mistakes make them perceive themselves as failures. In conversations, both with friends and especially with strangers, they’ll censor every sentence in their heads before letting it out. When it finally comes out, they still wonder if it was good enough.

They turn themselves into performers, thinking the only way to get accepted by people is to offer their best at everything; they have to be the funny ones on a date or the smartest person in the room. 
According to experts,

“Perfectionism…is based on one’s belief that others demand the individual to be perfect, as well as to have exaggerated concerns about meeting these high standards so as to avoid rejection.”

There will never be a point in humanity where we will do everything perfectly. We are not robots.

Overthinking your actions only leads to anxiety, not approval. You are not your mistakes and the right company wouldn’t reject you because of them.

2. They Point Out Your Flaws Behind Your Back

Approval-seeking people point out your flaws behind your back, firstly because this way, they can avoid any potential conflict.

Secondly, and more importantly, they do it because they will do anything to please whoever they are with at the moment, including making jokes at the expense of others. As Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. wrote:

“When you seek approval to avoid conflict, you have an uncanny sense about what other people want to hear, and you know how to feed it to them in heaping spoonfuls!”

Here’s the thing: A person who desperately wants your approval will impulsively do anything to make you look good. This makes them highlight your good sides while also bringing other people down in your presence.

When they are with you, you get the advantage. But your flaws might also be used to make someone else feel good in your absence.

Nothing brings disapproval from people like a bad reputation. Trying to get people’s approval by pointing out the flaws of others behind their backs doesn’t make anyone look good. True and solid relationships are built on honesty, trust, and reliability.

3. They Rarely Have Original Opinions About Anything

A person who wants approval doesn’t want confrontation. Having an opinion often requires you to think for yourself, stand up, and defend what you believe. It means placing your ideas above others’ when you think you’re on the right side.

People who want approval have opinions that are always changing, depending on who they are with. They are afraid of conflict because it might reduce or sabotage their chances of getting accepted.

Their ideas are often a collection of opinions they’ve gathered from people they think are smarter than them, this makes them feel secure about sharing those ideas with others.

Always avoiding conflict by supporting people’s opinions might be comfortable in the short term. However, always being a supporter might make you negligible in the long run.

People who stand up for themselves get more respect and admiration from others. Being able to withstand conflict also builds your strength of character as a person.

4. They Are Often Social Media Addicts

To an extent, we all want to be liked, but approval-seeking people want to be liked by as many people as possible (if not by everyone). This makes them do whatever they can to get as many likes as possible on social media.

As research by Francine Edwards, published in the Athens Journal of Mass Media and Communications explained,

Vulnerable people are more likely to “develop an addiction to the number of likes, comments, reposts, and shares, which result from a given post. The power of the like indirectly pressures users to go to greater lengths to get noticed by friends and followers.”

The thing is, people who are overly concerned about getting approval feed on the approval they get from others.

They feel if others say that they are too thin, then they are; if people say they are too black, pale, or short, they might start to feel bad about themselves; say they are too fat, everything goes downhill. They live up to the standards others set for them.

To measure your worth and looks only by the approval of people, most of whom you don’t know, is to put your self-worth at the mercy of others.

You are the only person who can really know you for who you are. What makes you who you are, your individuality character, virtues, and values as a person, cannot be seen by those on social media.

5. They Oscillate Between Ecstasy and Depression

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes,” said Carl Jung. The failure of approval-seeking people to look within puts their moods and emotions on autopilot.

Here’s the thing, people are quite erratic. Their judgments are subject to the mood they are in at the moment.

Often, their opinions of you might have nothing to do with you. When they feel bad, stressed, depressed, or insecure, they might project their baggage on you.

As a result, approval-seeking people end up being affected by the emotional drama and insecurities of others. They end up taking personal, even judgments that may have nothing to do with them.

When others feel great, they receive the generous end of their nature. But sooner or later, a stressed, unhappy, insecure person will project their baggage on them as well.

As Sadhguru said, Human folly is that people are always trying to extract joy from the outside.” To awaken, we must look within. Validate yourself. As the psychologist, Lauren Suval advised:

“When you act or speak in a way that makes you feel good about yourself, stop, and acknowledge it. When you work hard on a project or goal, find a way to reward yourself. It is not egotistical to give yourself acknowledgement.”

6. They Are Often Emotionally Exhausted

Those who overly seek people’s approval usually don’t know what to expect from people. Human nature can be erratic and unpredictable.

Sometimes the people they depend on to feel good about themselves, like their social media friends, can give off-comments about their looks, or physique, making them feel betrayed.

This is one of the reasons some celebrities become depressed and some go as far as committing suicide. Depending so much on the unpredictable approval of their fans, they always feel tensed about what their reaction will be concerning everything they do.

At the core of the downsides of approval-seeking, is emotional exhaustion. Always trying to control what people think of you will always cause anxiety and tension.

Accept that you can never know for sure what to expect from people. The only person reliable enough to depend on is yourself.

7. They Don’t Know Themselves

This is the major reason people seek approval. Because they have no sense of who they are, they become a bundle of opinions.

When they think about who they are, they don’t think in terms of their values, or their character; rather, they think in terms of opinions, compliments, insults, or achievements.

They don’t look within, they focus on the external. They don’t seek their approval, rather, they place opinions above everything they know about themselves.

“Don’t be confused between what people say you are and who you know you are,” Oprah said. You’ll always know yourself better than anyone else can.

No wonder the Greeks highly recommended their famous maxim, “know thyself.” Because, as Aristotle famously put it, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” A good and balanced life is built on a foundation of self-knowledge.

It’s no wonder why most great minds geniuses, philosophers, and spiritual leaders spend a significant amount of time alone, confronting their thoughts and attaining self-mastery.
Keys to Bear In Mind

To recap, here are the traits often common with insecure people:

1. They care too much about approval from others

2. They rarely have opinions about anything

3. They point out your flaws behind your back

4. They are often social media addicts

5. They oscillate between ecstasy and depression

6. They are often emotionally exhausted

7. They don’t know themselves

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