8 signs a woman doesn’t truly know her worth, according to psychology

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She could be the prettiest, the smartest, and the most talented woman out there…

But none of it would matter if she thinks she’s worthless.

While some would think “Eh, it’s okay. At least she’s humble,” the sad truth is that this mindset gravely affects how she lives her life—from the partner she’ll choose, to the career she’ll pursue.

So, if you know a woman who doesn’t truly know her worth, step up, and pull her out of that hole she’s sunken into. 

But first, you gotta spot the symptoms.

Here are 8 signs a woman doesn’t truly know her worth, according to psychology.

1) She’s a people pleaser

Does she act like everyone’s loyal sidekick?

Does she go above and beyond what’s expected from her all the damn time?

Does she take “behind every successful man is a woman” a little too seriously?

And…when she feels like she’s let others down, does she beat herself up for it?

It’s quite unfortunate because she probably doesn’t truly know her worth.

According to psychology, being a people-pleaser and a workaholic (from research by Paano) are signs that someone has low self-esteem.

And society plays a big role here.

Social norms include conditioning women to be selfless—to give, and give, and give. And then feel bad when we leave even just an iota of something for ourselves.

If you know this woman (or if it’s you), you can build back your self-esteem by finding the right balance of care that you give to yourself and to others.

You’re more than a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend. You’re your own person. You have to attend to your needs, too.

In fact, you SHOULD love yourself first before you can love others properly.

Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. 

2) She can’t take a compliment

Take these scenarios:

You: “Wow, you’re really good at guitar!”

Her: “No… You’re just being nice! You don’t have to flatter me.”


You: “You look so cute in your dress!”

Her: “Haha. You must have incredibly low standards.”

And you know it’s not false humility, she really believes that the praises she receives aren’t genuine. 

She suspects people are just flattering her because she doesn’t believe in herself.

And underneath it all lies the number one sign of low self-esteem—fear.

Denise Marigold, associate professor of social development at the University of Waterloo says that people don’t want to feel good when hearing a compliment because… what if they’re not able to live up to other people’s expectations?

Now that possibility of failure is unbearable for their already fragile self-esteem.

3) She stays in a toxic relationship 

Many women stay in unhappy (even abusive) relationships mainly because they believe that’s all they deserve.

According to research on domestic violence by Dr. Jason Whiting, many women in abusive relationships have distorted thoughts. They even find fault in themselves when talking about their abuse.

This is due to the fact that her self-worth has plummeted to devastatingly low levels.

And the longer she stays in a toxic relationship, the worse her self-worth suffers.

You’ll hear them say things like:

“I stayed because I don’t think I’ll ever find anyone better.”

“I stayed because no one’s perfect anyway.”

Or the saddest one of all: “Toxic? I don’t think we’re toxic.” She’s so used to being treated badly, that she can’t see it anymore. And for some, it’s possible that this all started years before—from growing up in a toxic home.

4) She stays in a dead-end job

Just like staying in a bad relationship, a woman who doesn’t know her worth would be “content” staying in a sh*tty job she doesn’t love.

Even if she’s overqualified and yet, underpaid, she’d tell herself that she’s just lucky to have a job.

She also probably suffers from impostor syndrome, where she thinks she’s just pretending to be good at what she does, when in actuality, she doesn’t know what she’s doing.  

And no matter how miserable her job gets, she stays, because she feels that she’ll never find another company that would be willing to hire her.

If only she’d learn her worth, she’d be doing something she’s passionate about and earning a paycheck that’s actually deserving of her abilities. 

5) She’s scared of taking risks

If a woman doesn’t have faith in herself, she’d be scared to do anything.

In her mind, she’d prefer not to bother, because she doesn’t want to risk humiliating herself. And most of all, she doesn’t want to waste anyone’s time on her.

This is the reason why she:

  • Self-rejects
  • Keeps her dreams small
  • Stays in her comfort zone
  • Won’t start something new
  • Always waits for a “go signal” from others before doing anything

If this is you, don’t worry. Everyone’s a little bit scared.

What you have to do is realize that whatever happens—if you fail, if you get rejected, if you waste a bit of someone’s time—so what?! This happens to everyone once in a while. 

You’re worthy, even at your lowest. 

So, do two things:

  1. Practice viewing yourself from a different perspective.
  2. Redefine how you see failure.

And you’ll realize that a lot of what you were scared of were just in your own head.

6) She desperately wants to be liked

A woman who doesn’t know what she’s capable of will always be insecure.

And when we’re insecure, we tend to chase any type of validation just to feel better about ourselves.

We need it like we need water or air.

This insecurity could also be the reason why a woman who doesn’t know her worth becomes a people-pleaser.

She wants to feel valued and adored because it makes her feel like she’s actually worthy… even for a fleeting moment. 

And when that’s over, she’d pull out all the stops to get that validation again.

A woman who has a healthy sense of self-worth doesn’t give a damn about being liked, especially not if it’s at her own expense. 

For her, as long as she’s not being a drag, she’d rather just be her authentic self. And if people have an issue with that, that’s their problem!

7) She’s so easily jealous

Research psychologist Joli Hamilton says that while jealousy is usually external friction, the cause is almost always an internal feeling of insecurity, scarcity, or fear.

She adds that it’s often resulting from past experiences.

Perhaps a couple of her ex-boyfriends cheated on her, and made her believe she’s unworthy of real love.

So, when her new lover talks to a random girl, she automatically gets suspicious.

Her mind spirals into made-up scenarios that make her even more insecure…

Until she starts to think, “Of course my boyfriend likes her because she’s prettier than me.”

Or “I’m sure he now regrets that he chose me, when he could’ve been with her.”

Unless she takes the necessary steps to address and heal her own image of herself, she will always suffer from poor self-worth. And sadly, she (and her relationships) are bound to suffer from this.

8) She struggles to assert herself

According to psychology, those who have a hard time asserting themselves often see themselves as less than compared to other people.

A woman who doesn’t truly know her worth feels like she doesn’t deserve to take up space. So much so, that telling others to respect her is asking for too much!

You’d notice that she:

  • Struggles to set boundaries.
  • Doesn’t speak up even when she has something important to say.
  • Allows others to make fun of her.
  • Prefers to stay quiet to keep the peace.

Final thoughts

When you think about it, it’s actually unsurprising that a lot of women have difficulty recognizing their worth. 

For a lot of us, we’ve been taught to care for and cater to everyone except ourselves. We’ve basically been trained to be supporting characters!

But getting out of this vicious cycle starts with knowing that you deserve more. 

So, the next time you’re feeling a little down and start discrediting yourself, pause, and shake that off. 

Remember that you’re the star of your own life, and you’re— in every bit— worthy of this!

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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