7 little-known body language signs that signal low self-esteem

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

We’ve all heard it said, “Confidence is key!” And it’s true. 

Confidence can open doors, pave paths and even help us win over a room. But what if you often feel like a wallflower, always blending into the background?

Here’s the real kicker.

Your body language might be broadcasting your lack of self-esteem without you even realizing it. Yes, those sneaky, subtle cues we unconsciously give off could be telling a very different story from the one we want to tell.

The question is – “How do I know if my body language shows low self-esteem?”

Good news! We’re about to delve into some less-known body language signs that signal low self-esteem.

By recognizing these signals, you can take steps to increase your self-assuredness and let your confidence shine through.

Let’s dive in!

1) Avoiding eye contact

Ever noticed how some people can’t hold your gaze?

Well, here’s the scoop.

Avoiding eye contact is a classic sign of low self-esteem. It’s like an instinctive way of hiding, of avoiding being seen too clearly.

Think about it.

When we’re confident, we’re comfortable making eye contact. It shows that we’re engaged, interested, and present in the moment.

But if you find yourself constantly looking away or down, it might be a sign that your confidence could use a boost.

Remember, the eyes are the windows to the soul. Let your gaze meet others with conviction and self-assuredness.

2) Slumped posture

Confession time – I used to be a serial sloucher.

Whenever I walked into a room, you’d find me hunched over, shoulders rounded, trying to make myself as small as possible. It was as if I was trying to blend into the background, to not draw attention to myself.

But here’s the thing.

Your posture is a silent yet powerful communicator. A slumped posture, much like my old one, can signal low self-esteem. It suggests a lack of confidence and can make you appear less assertive.

On the flip side, standing tall with your shoulders back and head held high communicates confidence and self-assuredness.

So next time you catch yourself slouching, straighten up! Trust me, it makes a world of difference.

3) Fidgeting

Alright, here’s another personal nugget. I used to be a chronic pen-clicker. You know, that annoying habit of clicking a pen repeatedly when you’re nervous?

But wait, it gets more interesting.

Fidgeting isn’t just about annoying your classmates or colleagues with incessant pen clicking. It’s actually a common sign of low self-esteem. It’s like your body’s way of dealing with the unease that comes with feeling unsure of yourself.

Whether it’s pen clicking, nail biting, foot tapping or hair twirling – these nervous habits can be telltale signs of low self-esteem.

The solution? Becoming aware of these habits is the first step to eliminating them. Once I realized my pen-clicking was a sign of my own discomfort, I made a conscious effort to stop. And guess what? It worked!

So if you’re a fidgeter, take note. Your body might be telling you something about your self-esteem.

4) Rarely initiating conversations

Ever find yourself waiting for others to start a conversation?

Well, here’s a little insight.

Rarely initiating conversations can be another sign of low self-esteem. It might feel safer to wait for others to make the first move. After all, if you don’t speak up, you can’t say anything wrong, right?

But here’s the truth.

People value those who take the initiative, who are willing to break the ice. By always waiting for others to start the conversation, you could be giving off signals of low self-confidence.

So, next time you’re in a social situation, try taking the lead. You might surprise yourself with how well you handle it!

5) Crossing your arms

Ever observed people in a heated debate or a tense situation? You might notice a common body language sign – crossed arms.

Crossing your arms is often perceived as a defensive posture. It’s like our body’s natural way of setting up a barrier between ourselves and potential threats.

But here’s a fascinating twist.

People who frequently cross their arms may be displaying signs of low self-esteem. This closed-off posture can indicate that we’re uncomfortable or uncertain.

So, the next time you catch yourself folding your arms, try to relax and let them fall naturally by your sides. It can help to project a more open, confident stance.

6) Speaking softly

Once during a public speaking course, my instructor pulled me aside. He said, “You have great ideas, but you need to speak up. Your soft voice is making you seem less confident.”

I was taken aback. I’d never realized that my soft-spoken nature could be interpreted as low self-esteem.

But here’s the deal.

Speaking softly, especially in group settings, can indeed signal low self-confidence. It may seem like you’re unsure of your ideas or afraid of drawing attention to yourself.

This doesn’t mean you have to shout to be heard. But projecting your voice and speaking clearly can convey confidence and command respect.

So, if you’re a soft speaker like me, remember – your voice is powerful. Let it be heard!

7) Constant self-deprecation

While a little self-deprecating humor can be charming, constantly putting yourself down is a different story. This, my friends, is often a sign of low self-esteem.

It’s like you’re trying to beat others to the punch by criticizing yourself first. But in reality, this can make you appear less confident and even uncomfortable in your own skin.

Here’s the golden rule.

Your words have power. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and others will follow suit. Remember, confidence starts from within. Speak about yourself positively, and it will reflect in your body language too.

Final thoughts

If you’ve seen yourself in these signs, remember – awareness is the first step to change.

Here’s the silver lining – it’s something that can be improved with time, patience, and practice.

Start by observing your own body language. Notice when you avoid eye contact, slump your shoulders, or cross your arms. Pay attention to when you speak softly or put yourself down.

Then, practice projecting confidence. Stand tall, make eye contact, and speak clearly. Treat yourself with kindness and respect in your words and actions.

It’s not an overnight transformation. It’s a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.

Perhaps Albert Einstein said it best: “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”

So, embrace this journey with an open heart. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small. And remember – you have the power to change your narrative.

It all starts with you. And the journey towards increased self-esteem is one well worth taking.

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

If you really want to live a mindful life, start saying no to these 9 things

Women who had to grow up too fast often display these 9 distinctive behaviors as adults