Women who lack self-esteem usually display these 10 behaviors (without realizing it)

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There’s a significant difference between having self-esteem and pretending to have it.

The difference lies in the authenticity. Women who lack self-esteem often exhibit certain behaviors, without even realizing they’re doing so.

Understanding these signs is not about judgment, but about offering support and guidance, especially when they fail to see it themselves.

In this article, we’ll discuss the 10 common behaviors women with low self-esteem usually display, unbeknownst to them. 

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

1) Over-apologizing

We’ve all come across someone who apologizes a lot.

For women dealing with low self-esteem, saying “sorry” can become second nature. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to minor slip-ups or even situations where no apology is necessary, like voicing their own thoughts.

This habitual need to apologize usually springs from a fear of upsetting others or being seen in a negative light. It’s a way to protect themselves, downplaying their own value and dodging potential conflict.

2) Avoiding eye contact

I’ve seen this firsthand, and I’ve even gone through it myself.

Women struggling with low self-esteem often shy away from making direct eye contact.

Back in my early twenties, I found myself frequently averting my gaze during conversations. It felt like meeting someone’s eyes would lay bare my insecurities and doubts.

It’s crucial to understand that this behavior isn’t about disinterest or being impolite. Instead, it’s a reflection of inner unease and a shortage of confidence.

It’s an instinctive shield, a way to conceal what we see as weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

3) Negative self-talk

The words we use to describe ourselves greatly impacts our self-esteem.

Women with low self-confidence are often found engaging in negative self-talk. They might not always vocalize these thoughts, but inside their minds, they’re constantly belittling their achievements and magnifying their flaws.

According to cognitive behavioral therapists, this negative self-talk can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we constantly tell ourselves we’re not good enough, we start to believe it and our actions reflect this belief.

Being aware of this behavior can help us encourage these women to shift their inner dialogue, nurture positive self-talk, and foster a healthier self-image.

4) Perfectionism

Women grappling with low self-esteem often find themselves ensnared in the trap of perfectionism.

Driven by an insatiable quest for flawlessness, they set impossibly high bars, deeming anything less than perfect as a failure.

This relentless pursuit breeds a crippling fear of errors, exacerbating their self-doubt and perpetuating the cycle of low self-esteem. Breaking free from this vicious loop often requires compassionate support and understanding.

5) Overcompensating

In an attempt to hide their insecurities, women with low self-esteem often put on a façade. They might overcompensate by being overly cheerful, excessively helpful, or by taking on more responsibilities than they can handle.

This behavior is a defense mechanism, a way to blend in and avoid drawing attention to their insecurities. However, it often leads to burnout and further deteriorates their sense of self-worth.

Identifying this behavior can help us support these women in understanding that it’s okay to be themselves, and that they don’t need to hide behind a mask to be accepted or appreciated.

6) Difficulty accepting compliments

Have you ever met someone who finds it hard to accept a compliment? This is a common behavior among women with low self-esteem.

When complimented, they may dismiss it, change the subject, or even undermine their own achievements. It’s as if they feel undeserving of praise.

At the heart of this behavior is a deep-seated belief that they’re not good enough. And no amount of external validation can change that until they learn to value themselves.

7) Fear of rejection

I’ve noticed throughout my life that some behaviors are driven by a deep-rooted fear of rejection. I’ve seen it in friends, family, and even myself at times.

This fear often leads women with low self-esteem to avoid situations where they could potentially be rejected. They might hold back from expressing their feelings, pursuing their dreams, or standing up for what they believe in.

It’s as if the possibility of rejection outweighs the joy of pursuing one’s desires. Being mindful of this behavior can help us reassure these women that rejection is a part of life, and it’s not a reflection of their worth.

8) Excessive agreeableness

Interestingly, being overly agreeable isn’t always a sign of a pleasant personality. It can also be a behavior exhibited by women with low self-esteem.

In their attempt to avoid conflict and keep others happy, they might consistently agree with others, even when they have differing opinions. This may seem like a harmonious approach, but it often stems from a fear of rejection and a lack of self-worth.

Recognizing this behavior can help us encourage these women to voice their opinions and understand that respectful disagreement is a healthy part of any relationship.

9) Sensitive to criticism

All of us can feel stung by criticism, but for women with low self-esteem, it might feel like a personal attack. They may be overly sensitive to criticism, interpreting it as a confirmation of their perceived inadequacies.

This sensitivity can make them defensive or even lead them to withdraw from situations where they might face potential criticism.

Awareness of this behavior can help us provide constructive feedback in a more gentle and supportive way, emphasizing their strengths as well as areas for growth.

10) Difficulty saying “no”

A glaring indicator of low self-esteem in women is their reluctance to utter the word “no.” 

They constantly juggle an overwhelming load because they dread the prospect of letting others down or being labeled as unkind.

Yet, mastering the art of setting boundaries and valuing one’s own needs is paramount for mental fortitude and self-worth.

Identifying this pattern empowers us to champion these women in grasping that saying “no” isn’t just imperative; it’s a testament to self-compassion and dignity.

Final thought: It’s about self-love

Self-esteem is deeply rooted in the notions of self-love and self-acceptance.

Every behavior we’ve explored points to a woman wrestling with her self-image, often downplaying her value and magnifying her perceived flaws.

But it’s crucial to understand that self-esteem isn’t fixed; it’s fluid, molded by our life experiences, relationships, and, significantly, our inner dialogue.

As we journey ahead, let’s commit to nurturing positive self-talk, embracing self-love, and offering empathy and support to those navigating low self-esteem.

Every woman deserves to acknowledge and celebrate her inherent worth.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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