If someone displays these 9 behaviors, they have low self-worth

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Ever notice how some people just seem super confident, like they’ve got it all together?

And then there are those who always look unsure, even if they’re doing great.

Well, that’s often about self-worth, or how much you think you matter.

Self-worth is tricky.

It doesn’t shout, “Hey, I’m messing with your life!”

Instead, it hides in small actions and words you might not even notice.

Today, we’re talking about 9 behaviors that show someone might have low self-worth.

This isn’t to blame anyone; it’s so we can spot the signs and do something about it.

1. Constantly Seeking Approval

We all like a pat on the back or a thumbs-up emoji from our friends.

Who doesn’t want to feel validated, right?

But when someone has low self-worth, that quest for approval takes on a whole new level.

We’re talking about people who can’t make a move without asking what others think.

Whether it’s choosing a place to eat or making a big life decision, they need someone else to say it’s okay before they go ahead.

It’s like they’ve got this internal scale, and it only tips in their favor when someone else adds a little weight to it.

“Is this a good idea? Do you like my outfit? Was that funny?”

The questions might seem small, but they reveal a lot. They’re really asking, “Am I good enough?”

The thing is, constantly seeking approval from others is like building a house on sand.

It might feel solid for a moment, but it won’t last.

Real self-worth comes from within, and no amount of outside validation can replace that.

So if you or someone you know is always fishing for a ‘yes’ from others, it might be time to dig a little deeper and find out what’s going on with that self-worth.

2. Over-Apologizing for Everything

You know that person who says “sorry” more than they say “hello”?

Yep, we’ve all got that friend—or hey, maybe it’s even you.

I remember a time when I’d apologize for just about anything, like if someone bumped into me on the street, or even for laughing too loud.

Sounds familiar?

When you’ve got low self-worth, every small mishap feels like a massive screw-up.

That’s why some people apologize as if they’re handing out free candy on Halloween—except it’s not sweet; it’s kind of sad.

Over-apologizing isn’t just a quirky habit; it’s often a sign of feeling unworthy or thinking you’re constantly in the wrong.

By saying “sorry” all the time, it’s like you’re making yourself smaller, taking up less space in the world because you feel you don’t deserve it.

And trust me, you do deserve to take up space; you deserve to be heard, and you don’t have to apologize for existing.

So, the next time you find yourself saying “sorry” for no good reason, pause.

Ask yourself why you felt the need to apologize.

Is it a one-off thing, or is it a pattern?

Because if it’s a pattern, it might just be your self-worth waving a red flag, saying, “Hey, let’s work on feeling better about ourselves, okay?”

3. Avoiding Eye Contact

Here’s something that hits close to home: avoiding eye contact.

Have you ever talked to someone who just can’t seem to look you in the eye?

Their gaze is on the floor, the wall, or basically anywhere but you.

I’ve been that person, and let me tell you, it’s not because the floor is super interesting.

When you can’t hold someone’s gaze, it’s often because you feel like you’re not worth being seen.

You’re scared that if someone really looks at you, they’ll see all the flaws and imperfections you think you have.

It’s like trying to become invisible because deep down, you feel like you don’t matter enough to be noticed. 

Look, I get it. Eye contact can be uncomfortable, especially when you’re feeling vulnerable. But eyes are the window to the soul for a reason.

They’re how we connect, how we say, “I see you, and you matter.”

So, when we avoid that connection, we’re essentially saying we don’t feel worthy of it.

If you find yourself or someone else constantly dodging eye contact, that’s a pretty clear sign that self-worth is in short supply.

And it’s something that needs to be faced head-on—literally. Because everyone deserves to be seen and to feel like they matter.

4. Overcompensating by Being a People-Pleaser

Ever known someone who bends over backwards to make everyone else happy, even when it’s clear they’re stretching themselves too thin?

Maybe they say ‘yes’ to every request, offer to pick up the slack for others, or go out of their way to make sure everyone else is comfortable—even if it means they’re uncomfortable themselves.

Heck, maybe that someone is you; it’s certainly been me at times.

This isn’t just about being nice or considerate; this is people-pleasing on steroids. And you know what drives it?

A sense of low self-worth.

When you feel like you’re not good enough just as you are, you might try to “earn” love and respect by becoming indispensable to others.

You think, “If I do this for them, they’ll have to like me, right?”

But let’s get real: This behavior is like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound.

It might cover up the issue for a bit, but it doesn’t actually heal anything.

And the worst part?

You end up feeling even more drained and unworthy, because you’re giving all your energy away to others and leaving nothing for yourself.

So if you’re always playing the people-pleaser, constantly hustling for worthiness, stop and take a breath.

Ask yourself why you feel the need to win everyone over.

You might just find that the person you really need to please is you.

5. Acting Overconfident or Arrogant

Usually, we think of people with low self-worth as being shy or withdrawn, but that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, they’re the loudest ones in the room, always boasting about their latest achievements or name-dropping famous folks they “know.”

It’s a bit like someone wearing a mask of confidence that looks real at first glance, but upon closer inspection, you realize it’s just for show.

The over-the-top arrogance is often a cover for deep-seated insecurities.

Imagine using a loudspeaker to drown out a whispering voice inside that says, “You’re not good enough.”

That’s what’s happening here.

I’ve met people like this, and to be honest, I’ve been tempted to act this way myself when I felt unsure.

It’s tempting to swing to the other extreme when you’re feeling low. But this fake confidence isn’t fooling anyone in the long run, least of all yourself.

The tricky thing is, acting arrogant can actually drive people away, making that feeling of low self-worth even worse.

So if you see someone puffing up like a peacock or if you catch yourself doing it, remember:

Real confidence doesn’t need to shout to be heard.

And if you’re trying that hard to prove your worth, maybe it’s time to look at why you don’t feel worthy to begin with.

6. Shying Away from Compliments

Have you ever complimented someone, only for them to brush it off like it was nothing?

You say, “Hey, you did a great job on that project!” and they reply, “Oh, it was nothing, anyone could have done it.”

Now, I have to confess, I’ve been that person.

I’d find myself immediately downplaying the praise or even redirecting it back to the other person: “No, no, you’re the one who’s really good at this stuff.”

Why do some of us dodge compliments like they’re hot potatoes?

Simple: low self-worth.

Accepting a compliment means acknowledging that you have value, and if you struggle with self-worth, that can feel really uncomfortable.

It’s like your brain short-circuits for a second because you don’t know how to compute praise.

I had to teach myself to say “thank you” and nothing more when someone gave me a compliment.

Trust me, it was awkward at first. I felt like I was being arrogant or full of myself.

But really, accepting a compliment is a way of saying, “Yes, I see the value in myself that you see in me.”

If you find yourself shying away from compliments or know someone who does, it might be time to ask why it’s so hard to accept something positive.

And then, maybe, try practicing the simple art of saying “thank you” and letting it sink in.

Because you are worth the praise you get, and it’s okay to believe it.

7. Constant Self-Criticism

You know that voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough?

The one that rehashes every little mistake you’ve ever made and brings it up like it’s fresh news?

Yeah, that voice is a grade-A jerk.

And if that voice is louder and more frequent than any other voice in your life, then we’re talking about a glaring sign of low self-worth.

I’ve had that voice in my head, and let me tell you, it’s exhausting. It’s like having a bully inside your own mind, 24/7.

You become your own worst enemy, scrutinizing every word you say, every move you make.

You second-guess yourself so much that it’s hard to even make a decision.

And the raw truth?

That constant self-criticism doesn’t just stay in your head; it seeps into your actions, your relationships, your life.

It holds you back from opportunities and experiences, because who wants to take a risk when they’re convinced they’re going to fail?

So if you catch yourself—or someone else—in a never-ending loop of self-criticism, it’s time for an intervention.

That voice might never go away completely, but it sure as hell doesn’t have to be the loudest one in the room.

You wouldn’t let someone else talk to you that way, so why let your own mind get away with it?

8. Sabotaging Success

Ever been so close to achieving something great—like, you can practically taste it—and then somehow, someway, you mess it up?

Maybe you procrastinate until the last minute, make a small error that has big consequences, or simply back out of an opportunity.

The confusing part?

Deep down, you wanted it to work out. So why sabotage it?

Believe it or not, this is often a sign of low self-worth.

It’s like there’s this internal script that says, “Who am I to have this success? I don’t deserve it.”

So, you self-sabotage to make your external reality match your internal feelings.

It’s twisted, right?

You set yourself up to fail because succeeding would challenge your belief that you’re not worthy.

I’ve seen this play out in my life and in the lives of people I care about.

It’s as if you’re standing on the edge of something wonderful, but instead of jumping in, you take a step back because you’re afraid you’re not good enough to handle it.

The kicker is, every time you sabotage your own success, it reinforces that nagging belief that you’re not worthy.

It’s a vicious cycle, one that’s hard to break.

But recognizing it is the first step.

Once you see it for what it is—a defense mechanism built on shaky self-worth—you can start to challenge it.

And hopefully, the next time you’re on the brink of something great, you’ll jump in with both feet.

9. Isolating Themselves from Others

Last but not least, let’s talk about isolation.

I’m not talking about enjoying some healthy alone time; I’m talking about shutting people out, even those who genuinely care about you.

Have you ever felt so down on yourself that you didn’t want to be around anyone?

Like you’re a burden or you’ll bring everyone else down with your “negativity”?

When you have low self-worth, sometimes it feels safer to build walls than to risk rejection or judgment.

You think, “If I keep my distance, no one can hurt me.” But the irony is, by isolating yourself, you’re hurting yourself more.

You’re confirming that belief that you’re not worth being around, not worth loving.

I’ve been there—avoiding calls, canceling plans, and staying in my own little bubble, convinced that it was for the best.

But all it did was deepen the hole I was already in.

Isolation might feel like a safety net, but it’s more like quicksand; the longer you stay, the harder it is to get out.

So if you or someone you know has been pulling away from the world, consider it a big, red flag waving in your face, saying, “Hey, your self-worth needs some attention here!”

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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