People who lack self-esteem often do these 15 things (without realizing it)

We’re all familiar with actions that exude self-confidence. But what about behaviors that hint at low self-esteem?

You might be surprised, but sometimes even the most seemingly insignificant habits can be tell-tale signs of a lack of self-assurance.

So, pour yourself a cup of tea and let’s delve into the 15 things individuals with low self-esteem often do, without even realizing it.

You might just discover something about yourself!

1) Over apologizing

Ever found yourself saying sorry for things that aren’t even your fault?

I’ve been there too.

This used to be a major pitfall of mine.

I’d apologize for everything, from someone else’s mistake to the weather!

It was as if I was holding myself responsible for things completely out of my control.

Excessive apologizing is often a sign of low self-esteem.

It stems from a fear of being seen as a bother or causing inconvenience, even when it’s unwarranted.

2) Avoiding eye contact

Ever noticed how you often avoid making eye contact during conversations?

This seemingly harmless habit might be more revealing than you think.

People with low self-esteem often shy away from maintaining eye contact because it makes them feel vulnerable or unworthy.

But remember, direct eye contact is not just about asserting dominance, it’s also a sign of confidence and sincerity.

So, the next time you’re in a conversation, try to look the other person in the eye.

It might feel uncomfortable at first, but it can go a long way in boosting your self-esteem.

3) Frequently saying “yes”

If you find yourself constantly agreeing to things or offering your help even when you’re already stretched thin, it might be a sign of low self-esteem.

You might think that saying “yes” more often would make you appear more likable or capable, but in reality, it might be doing the opposite.

Overcommitting can lead to stress and burnout, and people might start taking advantage of your inability to say “no”.

It’s important to remember that your time and energy are valuable, and it’s okay to prioritize your own needs over others’ requests.

4) Neglecting self-care

Do you often find yourself skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, or neglecting your personal hygiene?

These might seem like just symptoms of a busy lifestyle, but they could also be indications of low self-esteem.

When you don’t value yourself highly, it’s easy to put your own needs on the back burner.

Taking care of your physical well-being is a fundamental part of maintaining your mental and emotional health too.

Make sure to carve out some time for self-care every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. You’re worth it!

5) Seeking constant validation

This one hits close to home.

I’d often catch myself fishing for compliments or approval, even when I knew I’d done a good job.

It felt like I couldn’t trust my own judgement unless someone else affirmed it.

If you find yourself constantly seeking validation from others to feel good about yourself, it might be a sign of low self-esteem.

Remember, your worth isn’t defined by what others think of you, but how you view yourself.

6) Avoiding new experiences

Ever notice how you tend to stick to your comfort zone and avoid trying new things?

This could be a sign of low self-esteem.

When we lack confidence in ourselves, we often fear the unknown and hesitate to take on new experiences or challenges.

However, embracing new experiences allows us to grow, learn, and build confidence in our abilities.

The next time you’re presented with an opportunity to try something new, don’t shy away.

You might surprise yourself and discover a newfound confidence in the process.

7) Neglecting personal passions

Have you found yourself gradually letting go of the things you love doing?

Maybe you’ve stopped painting, writing, playing an instrument, or even spending time in nature.

When we struggle with low self-esteem, we often deem our passions as unworthy or trivial.

However, it’s these personal interests that make us unique and bring joy to our lives.

Reconnecting with your passions is not just a form of self-expression, but also a powerful way to boost your self-esteem.

8) Self-deprecating humor

Cracking a joke about yourself once in a while is perfectly normal, but if you find yourself constantly resorting to self-deprecating humor, it might be time to take a step back.

This could be a sign of low self-esteem.

You might think you’re just being funny, but constantly putting yourself down, even in jest, can reinforce negative self-perceptions and chip away at your self-worth.

It’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes, but remember to also celebrate your strengths and achievements.

You have so much to be proud of.

9) Perfectionism

On the surface, striving for perfection might seem like a good thing. After all, who doesn’t want to produce the best work possible?

However, for those with low self-esteem, this drive for perfection can be a toxic trap.

Instead of pushing them to improve, it can lead to procrastination, stress, and a constant feeling of inadequacy.

They may believe that anything less than perfect is a failure, which can be paralyzing.

10) Struggling with decision making

I remember a time when picking a restaurant for dinner was a monumental task for me.

It was almost like I was scared of making the wrong choice, so I’d just let others decide for me.

Looking back, I now realize it was my low self-esteem at play.

I didn’t trust myself to make the ‘right’ decision and was fearful of the judgement that could follow if I made a ‘wrong’ one.

If you find decision-making a daunting task, it might be because of low self-esteem.

It’s important to remember that it’s okay to make mistakes – they’re stepping stones to learning and growth after all.

11) Comparing yourself with others

Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy”?

If you find yourself constantly comparing your life to others’, it might be due to low self-esteem.

You’re unique and have your own journey to travel, don’t let comparison steal your joy. 

Everyone’s journey is unique and your worth is not determined by how you stack up against others.

Celebrate your individuality and focus on your own growth.

12) Difficulty accepting compliments

Compliments are meant to make us feel good about ourselves, right? Well, for some people, it’s quite the opposite.

Individuals with low self-esteem have a hard time accepting compliments.

They may dismiss them outright, deflect them onto someone else, or counter them with self-deprecating remarks.

Oddly enough, this isn’t because they don’t desire praise. It’s just that they struggle to believe that they are worthy of it.

A compliment can feel like a lie or a trick, something they don’t deserve or can’t live up to.

13) Being overly defensive

Being overly defensive can be a common trait for individuals with low self-esteem.

If you find yourself frequently becoming defensive, even in response to minor criticisms or jokes, it may indicate a tendency to perceive negative intent where none exists.

This defensiveness serves as a protective mechanism to shield oneself from perceived threats.

Recognizing and addressing this behavior is crucial for personal growth.

Constructive criticism is an integral part of the learning process and self-improvement.

Embracing feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn fosters a healthier approach to challenges, contributing to your overall development and well-being.

14) Struggling to say ‘no’

The ability to say ‘no’ is a crucial aspect of maintaining healthy boundaries.

It allows us to protect our time, energy, and personal space.

However, people with low self-esteem often struggle with this.

They might fear disappointing others or being perceived as unkind or uncooperative.

This can lead them to overcommit, sacrificing their own well-being and peace of mind in the process.

15) Ignoring your needs

It’s noble to care for others and lend a helping hand, but not at the expense of forgetting yourself.

People with low self-esteem often find themselves in this dilemma.

They invest so much time and energy in others, neglecting their own needs and desires in the process.

They’re so focused on making others happy that they forget about their own happiness.

This tendency to put others first is often a subconscious attempt to feel valued and accepted.

Last words

Having skimmed through these signs, you might have identified with some or even many of them.

I want you to know that it’s okay. Recognizing these signs is not a reason to criticize yourself further, but rather a chance to embark on a transformative journey of self-love.

Low self-esteem is not an inherent part of who you are, but rather a conditioned response from your past experiences. It’s something that can be unlearned and replaced with a healthier, more loving perspective of yourself.

I’ve found that the journey of self-love is the most effective way to tackle low self-esteem.

It’s about accepting yourself, flaws and all, and understanding that it’s okay not to be perfect.

It’s about treating yourself with the same kindness and compassion that you extend to others.

So, if you find yourself doing the things listed in this article without realizing it, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, let this be the spark that ignites your journey towards self-love.

Trust me when I say that as you grow in love for yourself, you’ll find these habits gradually fading away, replaced by healthier ones that reflect your newfound respect and appreciation for the wonderful person that you are.

Nguyet Yen Tran

Yen is a freelance writer and a researcher specializing in mental health, self-awareness, and psychology. Her hobby is studying human behavior throughout their reaction upon situations.

Be sure to check out her other posts on our blog.

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