If you tolerate these 6 behaviors from someone, you lack self-esteem

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When someone has low self-esteem, they lack confidence in who they are and what they can do. And it can sometimes mean you tolerate bad behavior from others that you don’t deserve. 

Does that sound like you?

The thing about self-esteem is it’s not a permanent state, it fluctuates throughout life depending on our experiences and what’s going on in our lives. 

If you’re suffering from low self-esteem right now, the good news is you can improve it.

But before you can improve anything, you’ve got to confirm there’s a problem. 

So do you really lack self-esteem?

Well, if you tolerate these 6 behaviors from people in your life, there’s a good chance you do. 

1) They’re dismissive of your thoughts and ideas

Do you ever notice that people around you often brush over or disregard your ideas? 

When you share your thoughts or ideas, at work, with friends, or even at home, they don’t get much time or attention, making you feel unheard and unimportant.

Sound familiar? 

Dismissing someone’s feelings is a form of emotional invalidation and tolerating it suggests you don’t value your own thoughts and ideas enough to make sure they’re heard. 

It’s a classic indication of low self-esteem. But your ideas are valuable so it’s time to stand up for yourself and call people out when they dismiss you. 

2) They talk down to you 

Do you remember as a child, adults would often talk down to you?

As adults, it was clear they had the power and authority, and you didn’t. 

Do you still experience that today in some of your adult relationships? 

Some people still treat you like a child as if they don’t believe you’re capable of understanding them otherwise. They might explain things in a condescending way, leaving you feeling belittled.

Belittling behavior like this is designed to make you feel small and insignificant.

If you are tolerating being talked down to, it suggests you lack self-esteem

The thing is: it’s never acceptable for anyone to make you feel small so it’s about time you put a stop to it.  

3) They interrupt you constantly 

I worked with a guy who had this terrible habit of interrupting me and speaking over me. The most frustrating part of all was he didn’t seem to do it to anyone else on our team.

Can you relate to this? 

It’s like when you’re in the middle of saying something, they cut in, and take over the conversation. It makes it tough for you to get your point across and often you’re left feeling unheard. 

It’s hard to handle being interrupted because it requires you to be assertive which is not easy for people who lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. 

If you notice this happening a lot and you haven’t addressed it, it’s a clear indicator it’s time to start working on your self-esteem. Your opinions and valuable and deserve to be heard. 

4) They overstep your boundaries

How do you make sure others treat you right? 

The importance of personal boundaries has been well-documented in recent years and it’s a great way to be clear with others about what you’re willing to accept and more importantly, what you simply won’t accept. 

There’s just one small problem: what happens if you set a boundary and someone oversteps it? 

Is this something that happens to you? 

Your self-esteem and the boundaries you set for yourself are closely related. Generally the higher your self-esteem the more well-defined your boundaries are as outlined by Forbes

And on the contrary, if you allow people to constantly overstep your boundaries it’s a telling sign you lack self-esteem

You need to be willing to push back and say no when people overstep, it’s the only way to make sure your boundaries are effective. 

5) They’re disrespectful towards you

At a time in my life when my self-esteem was at an all-time low, I had a ‘friend’ who was constantly disrespectful to me. 

And I tolerated it because, at the time, I thought I didn’t deserve any better. 

Have you experienced this? 

This can look like someone constantly showing up late, canceling plans last minute, showing up to your house unannounced, or calling you at 2 am to give them a ride home. The list goes on. 

Such actions can make you feel undervalued and disrespected.

There are so many ways people can disrespect you but if you’re allowing it to happen, it’s a tell-tale sign your self-esteem is lower than it should be and it’s time to start working on it. 

It’s never okay for someone to be disrespectful towards you and no matter what you feel about yourself, it’s always okay for you to call this kind of behavior and put an end to it. 

6) They take advantage of you

Do you ever feel like someone is taking advantage of you

It’s like they’ve realized that you’ll do anything for them and instead of simply appreciating that they’ve got a good friend, they want to push it just to see how far you’ll go for them.

I once loaned my friend a significant amount of money when she was short on rent. I didn’t have much money myself but she said she’d pay me back when she got paid and I believed her.

Instead, she kept making excuses about why she couldn’t pay. Meanwhile, I’d see her out living it up partying and having a good time. She took advantage of my generosity for sure.  

If this is something you find yourself tolerating a lot, it’s time to realize low self-esteem is really harming you. 

You deserve better and shouldn’t stand for someone taking advantage of your good nature. 

Next time they want something from you, say no and see what happens. 

Final thoughts

How many of these behaviors are you tolerating? 

If you’ve just realized that you’re allowing some of these behaviors and you do lack self-esteem, don’t panic.

There are lots of things you can do to start repairing your self-esteem.

Practicing assertiveness by refusing to tolerate these behaviors going forward, will actually help you to start building up self-esteem. 

This is a great first step towards increased self-esteem so give it a try. 

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Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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