Self-esteem plays a massive role in how we live our lives, the way in which we view ourselves, and the decisions we make.
So, what happens when a woman lacks self-esteem?
Chances are, you’ll recognize some of the behaviors below, but perhaps without realizing where they stem from.
Things like being unable to make a decision or needing constant reassurance – in other words, behaviors that are easy to pass off as “annoying” may actually come from a place of low self-esteem and confidence.
If you’re in doubt about someone you know, or even yourself, read on. If a woman displays these 10 behaviors below, she probably lacks self-esteem:
1) She over apologizes
One of the most telling behaviors that a woman lacks self-esteem is if she apologizes for everything; even things that aren’t her fault.
This comes from a need to please others, which we’ll discuss a bit further below.
On that note, I do remember a friend from school who struggled massively with her self-esteem. She’d apologize in situations where it didn’t make sense to apologize.
And when we’d say, “Lara, there’s no need to say sorry!”…She’d apologize for apologizing!
Sadly, she felt she had to take the blame for things that had nothing to do with her.
2) She constantly puts herself down
One thing is being able to laugh at yourself and find humor in your flaws, another is to constantly make negative comments about yourself.
And women who lack self-esteem will often put themselves down; from their appearance and personality to their achievements and decisions.
For example, if your coworker lacks self-esteem, after successfully completing a project she might say something like:
“Oh, it’s not a big deal. Anyone could have done it.”
Rather than take the win and be proud of herself, she’ll belittle her achievement and avoid recognizing her important role in the project.
3) She shies away from challenges
“Oh, I’d never be able to do that…”
This is something I’ve heard many times from women who lack self-esteem.
You mention taking part in a marathon or going on a solo trip, and their first response is to assume they wouldn’t be able to do it.
This shows a lack of self-confidence.
You might notice women like this tend to avoid making new friends or trying new things. They stick to what they know and avoid getting out of their comfort zone.
Ultimately, this comes from a place of fear; they’re afraid to try something different and potentially mess it up.
But what they don’t realize is that failure is an incredible opportunity for learning and growth. And actually, the more they push themselves to try new things, the more they’ll raise their self-esteem.
4) She needs constant reassurance and validation
Another behavior you might notice in a woman who lacks self-esteem is the constant need for reassurance.
Whenever she makes a small decision, she’ll need to ask those around if they think she did the right thing.
This reminds me of a family friend – whenever we’re getting ready to go out, she’ll ask us over and over if we think she looks okay, or if her top is too tight, or her shorts too short.
It sometimes feels like she depends on our answers to feel good about her appearance, which is quite sad.
But I know she struggles with her self-esteem, and this is just one of the ways it presents itself. She doesn’t have the confidence to wear whatever she wants and feel good about it without someone else reassuring her.
5) She displays people-pleasing behavior
Earlier, I mentioned that many women with low self-esteem over-apologize, and this stems from a fear of disappointing other people.
So you might also notice the following:
- Agreeing with opinions they don’t actually agree with
- Changing themselves to fit in with others
- Prioritizing other people over themselves
- Accepting negative behavior without standing up for themselves
- Doing things they don’t want to
What you won’t see in a woman with low self-esteem is the drive to stand up for herself. She won’t want to rock the boat or be seen as assertive.
The truth is, when you lack self-esteem, you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable.
That’s why women in this situation will often put up with toxic friendships or relationships – they’re too afraid to set boundaries or walk away.
6) She’s sensitive to criticism
I’m going to get a little bit personal here:
When I was younger, I suffered from low self-esteem. If someone said anything remotely negative to me, I’d take it to heart.
Either I’d get defensive or I’d shut myself off from the world and ruminate over the comments for days.
So if a woman you know is like this, there’s a good chance her self-esteem is at an all-time low.
But it doesn’t mean she can’t change for the better – I have spent the last couple of years working on myself, building a strong inner connection, and raising my confidence levels.
Now, when someone criticizes me, I’m in a better position to seriously consider what they’re saying, and either take it on board or ignore it if it’s unwarranted.
7) She’s closed off in her body language
Now for a physical behavior that indicates a woman lacks self-esteem…
If she tends to:
- Hunch over
- Avoid eye contact
- Shake hands limply
- Cross her arms or appear nervous
It’s a sign she feels uncomfortable and unconfident within herself.
In other words – she looks like she wishes the floor would swallow her up. This stems from not feeling worthy of attention; she’d rather hide herself and blend in with her surroundings.
8) She’s indecisive
One of the behaviors I recognized in myself from my youth was never being able to make a firm decision.
It used to drive people crazy – I’d go back and forth over something simple like where to eat. And usually, I’d prefer to go along with other people’s suggestions.
This was usually because I was afraid of making the wrong decision. I didn’t have confidence in my ability to organize things or choose the correct restaurant.
So, if you have a friend or a relative who’s like this, it could come from their lack of self-esteem.
You’ll notice they tend to be happy to go with the flow, and would much prefer to stay out of the decision-making process, as this can be highly uncomfortable for them.
9) She struggles to accept compliments
Ever met someone who, no matter how beautiful they are, will always bat away compliments?
The thing to remember here is that if you don’t have good levels of self-esteem, you aren’t seeing yourself the same way other people do.
You could be drop-dead gorgeous, but if inside you feel ugly and worthless, that’s all you’re going to see.
And that makes it hard to accept compliments. A confident, self-assured woman will say “Thank you” when complimented. An insecure woman will either think you’re lying or just trying to be kind.
10) She avoids expressing emotions
And finally, if a woman can’t express how she feels, she probably lacks self-esteem.
This could be because she doesn’t feel her emotions are worthy and valid of being shared.
It could also be that she’s afraid of being rejected or mocked if she shares her feelings.
In my previous relationships, I struggled to express my needs and wants. I often thought people would look at me differently or stop liking me.
But as I grew in confidence, I realized the importance of using my voice and being in control of my emotions.
So, if someone in your life is like this, go easy on them. They’re not shutting down or avoiding uncomfortable conversations for fun; they’re genuinely struggling.
I’m pretty sure that whilst reading this article, a woman in your life has come to mind. Perhaps you yourself have related to some of the points above.
These behaviors may seem gloomy and hopeless, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Self-esteem can be built.
Women, given the right support and with the right mindset, can grow into confident, independent beings.
It all starts with taking that first step into looking within, recognizing the areas of yourself that need healing, and then one step at a time, moving forward.