10 signs of a highly successful person with low self-worth

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Ever met someone who’s super successful but still doesn’t think they’re good enough?

It sounds weird, but it’s more common than you think.

Today, we’re going to talk about 10 signs that show someone is winning at life but still feels like they’re losing inside.

Why does this matter?

Well, if this sounds like you, recognizing these signs could be a step toward feeling better about yourself.

And if it’s someone you know, you’ll understand them a bit better.

Let’s get started.

1. They Overwork Themselves

Ever notice how some super successful people are always busy? Like, always.

It’s not just because they have a lot to do. Sometimes, they’re overworking themselves on purpose.

Why?

Well, they might think that if they stop or slow down, they’ll somehow be seen as ‘less than’ or not good enough.

So, they keep the pedal to the metal, working late nights and skipping breaks.

But here’s the kicker: No matter how much they do, it never feels like it’s enough.

Sound familiar? This could be a sign of low self-worth hiding behind that busy schedule.

2. They Can’t Take a Compliment

You know that friend who’s amazing at what they do? You tell them they’re awesome, and they kind of shrug it off or change the subject.

It’s not that they don’t hear you; they just don’t believe you.

Imagine you just baked the best chocolate cake ever, and people are raving about it. But instead of soaking in the praise, you think, “Oh, they’re just being polite,” or “I bet they’ve had better.”

If you or someone you know can’t simply say “thank you” when praised and instead downplays achievements or looks for flaws in the compliment, that’s another red flag.

It’s not just modesty. It’s like having this mental block that stops you from believing you’re as great as everyone says you are.

3. They’re Scared of Being Found Out

You know that nagging feeling that one day, everyone will figure out you’re not as great as they think you are? That’s called “Impostor Syndrome,” and it’s like a shadow that follows some successful people around.

You’ve got the job, the life, maybe even the family that says “I’ve made it,” but inside, you’re convinced it’s all some fluke. Any minute now, someone will point a finger and shout, “Hey, you don’t belong here!”

So you work harder, you keep your head down, and you don’t risk stepping out of line. Maybe you even avoid opportunities because you’re afraid they’ll reveal you as a fraud.

The irony? This fear often keeps you from taking the very steps that would prove to yourself and others that you do, in fact, belong where you are. And that’s messed up.

4. They’re Really Good at Helping Others, But Bad at Helping Themselves

This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Some people are amazing at lifting others up. Need career advice? They’ve got your back. Relationship trouble? They’re your go-to guru.

But ask them how they’re doing, and it’s like they forget all that wisdom.

It’s like a mechanic who can fix anyone’s car in a jiffy but ignores the rattling sound in their own engine. They can solve problems for everyone else, but when it comes to their own issues, they’re stuck.

Why?

Maybe it’s easier to focus on other people’s problems than to confront your own. Or maybe helping others gives a temporary boost of worthiness that they don’t know how to give themselves.

So they continue to be everyone’s rock, everyone’s advisor, even when they’re silently crumbling inside.

5. They Measure Their Worth by Their Failures, Not Successes

Remember that time you nailed a presentation or scored the winning goal? Felt good, right?

But somehow, the memory fades quicker than a Snapchat, and you’re left thinking about that one question you flubbed during the Q&A or the one missed opportunity during the game.

For some successful people, the triumphs are like sand slipping through their fingers, quickly forgotten, while the failures are like tattoos—permanent and always there to remind them.

It’s like having a mental highlight reel, but it only plays your awkward moments and mistakes.

You could be the life of the party, the star employee, or even the doting parent, but you can’t stop thinking about the times you weren’t.

It’s not about being humble or learning from mistakes; it’s about using these slip-ups as proof that you’re not as good as people think. And that just makes it hard to see how amazing you actually are.

6. They Don’t Think They Deserve Happiness

This one’s tough to talk about but needs to be said. Some people, no matter how successful, just don’t think they deserve to be happy.

You see them laughing, enjoying moments, but deep down, there’s a sense that they’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It’s like they’re renting their happiness, not owning it, because they think they’re not entitled to it in the first place.

They might have amazing partners, friends who adore them, or jobs that people would kill for.

But instead of enjoying it, they’re uneasy. They question it. “Why would someone like me deserve something so good?”

So they sabotage themselves. Maybe they pick fights, procrastinate on important tasks, or pull away from loved ones.

Whatever it is, they’re setting up roadblocks to their own happiness because they can’t shake the idea that they shouldn’t have it to begin with.

7. They Always Compare Themselves to Others

Ah, the comparison game—a trap so many of us fall into. You’ve got that friend or colleague who’s always keeping tabs on what everyone else is doing. Just got a promotion?

They’re wondering why it wasn’t them. Someone else landed a big client? They’re tallying up their own wins and losses.

Social media makes this even worse. Your feed is full of folks flaunting their perfect lives, perfect vacations, perfect relationships.

And even though you know it’s just a highlight reel, you can’t help but feel a bit… less.

Here’s the thing: Even when they’re doing great, they see someone else doing better, and suddenly their own achievements seem to shrink.

It’s not about being competitive or striving for more. It’s about feeling like you’re always one step behind, even if you’re miles ahead by anyone else’s standards.

For some reason, it’s easy to use someone else’s success as a measuring stick for your own worth. And honestly, that’s a race you’ll never win.

8. They Apologize For Everything

You know those people who say sorry even when it’s not their fault? Yeah, that might be a sign of something deeper than just being overly polite.

If someone bumps into them, they apologize. If they speak their mind, they apologize. They even apologize for apologizing too much!

It’s like they’re walking on eggshells, trying not to disturb anyone or draw too much attention to themselves.

Why?

Because somewhere down the line, they’ve picked up the belief that their mere existence is an inconvenience to others.

So, they say sorry as a pre-emptive strike, as if they’re bracing for disapproval that hasn’t even happened yet.

This isn’t just being considerate; it’s a form of self-censorship that says, “I’m not important enough to take up space or have an opinion.”

9. They Keep People at Arm’s Length

Some successful people seem to have it all but still hold people back like there’s an invisible line you just can’t cross. Friends, family, even romantic partners—they’re all kept at a safe distance.

Why?

Deep down, there’s a fear of getting too close because closeness means vulnerability.

And vulnerability could lead to getting hurt, rejected, or worse—exposed for being the “imperfect” person they believe they are.

So they build walls. Maybe they hide behind humor, or they always steer conversations away from anything too personal.

Perhaps they’re the life of the party but are nowhere to be found when the party’s over.

The thing is, keeping people at arm’s length doesn’t just protect them from you; it also keeps you from experiencing the full depth of relationships that could actually prove your worthiness to yourself.

Yeah, it’s a tough cycle. You crave the intimacy you’re afraid of and end up feeling more isolated, just reinforcing that low sense of self-worth.

10. They Think Love Is Conditional

This one might hit home for a lot of folks. Some people grow up thinking love and acceptance come with conditions. You have to earn it. Be the smartest, the most successful, the most likable, or whatever else you’ve been led to believe.

So what happens? You chase success like it’s a golden ticket to being loved and valued. But no matter how many boxes you tick off, there’s always that worry: “Will they still love me if I fail? If I’m not on top?”

Maybe you’ve seen this in relationships where one person is always going above and beyond, almost like they’re in a never-ending audition for love and approval.

They think their worth in the relationship—or in the world—is tied to what they can offer or achieve.

And let’s be real: That’s exhausting. It’s like running a race with no finish line. Love should be a safe space, not another performance stage.

Practical Tips to Overcome These Feelings

So you’ve read the signs and some of them hit a little too close to home.

What now? Don’t worry; recognizing the issue is the first step toward turning things around.

Here are some practical tips to help you start feeling more worthy, no matter how successful you are (or aren’t):

1. Talk About It

The first step is admitting there’s a problem, right? Sometimes just saying it out loud to someone you trust can be a relief. You’d be surprised how many people have felt the same way at some point.

2. Set Boundaries

It’s okay to say no. Really, it is. Learn to set boundaries so you’re not constantly overworking yourself or being everyone’s go-to problem solver.

3. Celebrate the Wins

Big or small, a win’s a win. Got out of bed on a tough morning? That’s a win. Landed a big client? Another win. Celebrating these can help shift your focus away from constant self-critique.

4. Stop the Comparison Game

Easier said than done, but try to catch yourself when you start comparing your life to someone else’s highlight reel. You’re seeing their best moments, not their struggles or insecurities.

5. Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would a friend who’s going through a rough time. You wouldn’t berate them for feeling low, so don’t do it to yourself.

6. Take Time for You

Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. Whether it’s a long bath, a short walk, or even a hobby you love, taking time for yourself helps you recharge and reassess.

7. Remember, You’re More Than Your Achievements

Your worth isn’t tied to your job title, social status, or any other external factor. You’re valuable just for being you.

8. Seek Unconditional Love

Whether it’s a pet, a close friend, or a family member, surround yourself with beings who love you for you, not for what you can do for them.

9. Daily Affirmations

Write down positive things about yourself and read them daily. It might feel weird at first, but you’re rewiring your brain to focus on your positive traits.

There you have it, folks. We’re all works in progress, but every step you take toward valuing yourself is a step in the right direction. You’ve got this.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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