The body language of those who feel inferior

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Robert Maurer
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The body language of those who feel inferior

The body language of those who feel inferior is unconscious, but it causes various psychological effects both in the person and in the surrounding environment. Adopting authoritative gestures and postures neutralizes the feeling of helplessness.

Last update: January 01, 2021

We do not need to use words to express ourselves, we communicate continuously with our gestures, our postures and our facial expressions. A good example of this is the body language of someone who feels inferior. Even if we try to hide it, there are many ways to express with the body that we don't love each other.



The body language of those who feel inferior has a great social impact. By nature, we are all capable of interpreting the messages of the body. This interpretation occurs on an unconscious level, yet it largely determines how others see us and relate to us.

"Nobody can make us feel inferior without our consent."

-Eleanor Roosevelt-

In other words, the body language of those who feel inferior leads others to perceive the interlocutor as a person with low self-esteem. Following this, the individual in question adopts specific behaviors that correspond to that impoverished image that he projects.

But not only that: the people around will perceive it as inferior and will act accordingly. But what is the language of those who feel inferior? In this article, we will make a short list of the most common gestures.

5 typical gestures of the body language of those who feel inferior

Shoulders closed

All animals instinctively try to make themselves smaller or larger when they feel they are at a disadvantage compared to others. Some curl up on themselves so that they are not seen. Conversely, the peacock spreads its plumage to appear larger in the presence of a threat.



Human beings behave in a similar way. Keeping the shoulders closed is an attempt to become smaller and to build a closed shell on itself. This is a typical gesture that indicates inferiority. It manifests itself, above all, by hunching the shoulders.

The inclination is visible, as if we were doing a reverence; bowing is nothing more than a conscious gesture of prostrating oneself in front of someone who is perceived as superior.

Crossing arms

Those who feel inferior try to create a shield to isolate or protect their body. It is a gesture through which it expresses a defensive attitude of protection and delimitation of the territory. It conveys a strong feeling of inferiority.

Crossing the arms at chest height, it is as if the person erects a defensive barrier in front of the interlocutor. Crossing the legs also shows the desire to contract and close in on oneself. It clearly denotes the intention to protect yourself from something or someone.

Small and uncertain movements in the body language of those who feel inferior

When a feeling of inferiority prevails, the person sneaks into the world; that is to say try not to attract attention, to go unnoticed and "do not disturb" anyone with his presence. A person who feels inadequate often feels uncomfortable simply by being in a crowded place. She would like to be transparent because being seen or heard causes her a feeling of shame.

From the point of view of the body language of those who feel inferior, this manifests itself as a tendency to perform short movements. Walk in small steps, make small movements with your hands, say short phrases. All this is intended to reduce the effect of one's presence.



The gestures of self awareness

Psychologist Amy Cuddy, author of the book Your body language shapes who you are, informs us that science has detected a very interesting phenomenon. The posture we adopt greatly influences emotions and thoughts, as well as the opposite. In other words, the more we adopt the body language of those who feel inferior, the more we feel inferior.


Cuddy suggests doing the opposite: In a moment of insecurity or lack of self-confidence, we need to adopt powerful body language. According to her approach, it only takes two minutes for ours to start changing.


In times of stress or fear it is a good idea to change your body posture. Cuddy recommends standing up and placing your fingertips on a table while keeping your head and back straight. This would increase the release of testosterone and, with it, the feeling of self-awareness.

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