If someone displays these 11 behaviors, they have low self-worth

by Isabel Cabrera | June 19, 2024, 11:54 am

Do you know what is often hidden beneath the surface, unspoken but profoundly influential?

No, it’s not buried treasure or secret knowledge. It’s something that shapes our lives in countless subtle ways – our self-esteem.

And you know what’s interesting?

You might be grappling with low self-esteem without even realizing it.

Here are 11 signs you might have low self-esteem and may not be aware of it.

1) You seek approval in every decision

Imagine someone who can’t decide on a coffee without seeking someone else’s opinion. 

They yearn for approval, reassurance, or validation before they make a move

It might seem trivial at first. But hang on a second, don’t you think it indicates a deeper problem?

Well, that’s exactly the first sign to consider. Just think about this:

Do you often look for validation from others in making decisions, both big and small?

It’s like a compass needle that points north, isn’t it? Instead of your true north being an internal guide, it points toward other people’s opinions. 

What does this reveal about your self-esteem

You might be undervaluing your own judgment, second-guessing your choices, and depending too much on external validation.

2) Fear of failure is your constant companion

Do you avoid taking risks, big or small, due to an overwhelming fear of failure? 

Is it like a scary monster under your bed, stopping you from taking the leap and trying something new? 

This constant fear of failure could be a sign that you’re not confident in your abilities or fear criticism – another indicator of low self-esteem. 

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s picture a talented artist afraid to showcase her work, or an intelligent individual shying away from applying for a better job. 

Sounds familiar?

This avoidance behavior, rooted in fear of failure, is another significant sign of low self-worth

They stay stuck, fearing that any failure will just validate their feelings of inadequacy.

3) Comparisons with others feel like a competitive sport

Let me ask you a question:

Does it feel like you’re always sizing yourself up against others and coming up short?

If so, you need to know that people with low self-worth usually do the same.

They scroll through social media feeds, comparing their lives with those of others, feeling inferior at every turn. 


The answer is simple: their self-worth is often tied to how they perceive others are doing.

This leads them to a constant state of feeling ‘less than’.

But let’s face it — the comparison game is a tough one to play. That’s why you need to understand it’s an unwinnable match.

4) Negative self-talk is your go-to style

Have you ever caught yourself being the butt of your own jokes more often than not?

It’s okay to laugh at ourselves from time to time – it shows that we’re grounded and can take life lightly. 

But when this becomes a pattern, and you constantly use humor to downplay your abilities or achievements, it could be a sign of something deeper.

Speaking from personal experience, I used to hide behind self-deprecating humor. 

For me, it was a way to control the narrative – if I was the one making fun of myself, then it somehow hurt less if someone else did. 

But it took some time to realize that this was a reflection of my own low self-esteem.

Is it the same for you? Do you use humor as a shield, protecting yourself from potential criticism? 

If so, remember that it’s okay to let that guard down sometimes. You are more than the punchline of a joke – you are worthy of respect and kindness, from others and from yourself.

5) Compliments feel like hot potatoes

What’s your first instinct when you receive a compliment? Do you accept it gracefully or quickly redirect the praise onto someone else? 

Let’s face it:

If compliments make you uncomfortable and you struggle to accept them, it might indicate low self-esteem

Here’s the thing:

People with low self-worth have a hard time accepting compliments. They think they don’t deserve the praise, or that people are merely being polite. 

So, if you notice someone constantly shrugging off compliments or redirecting them, they might be dealing with low self-esteem.

And the same applies to you. After all, if you truly value yourself, wouldn’t you believe that you deserve that praise?

6) You put others’ needs on a pedestal

Are you always placing others’ needs above your own to an unhealthy extent?

Sure, being considerate and caring is a wonderful trait.

But when it’s at the cost of neglecting your own needs?

That’s when it could signal low self-esteem

Trust me, this over-accommodation is often an attempt to gain acceptance or approval. The underlying belief is: “If I’m helpful, they’ll like me more”. 

However, this isn’t a healthy long-term strategy. 

The truth is, your worth is not measured by your utility to others. 

It should not be contingent on how many errands you run, how many times you say yes, or how often you put others before yourself.

Remember, it’s not selfish to take care of your needs. It’s essential. 

7) You seek reassurance like a life-raft

Here’s a hard truth: reassurance can be addictive.

In the face of self-doubt, a reassuring word can feel like a life raft in a sea of uncertainty. 

But if you constantly seek reassurance to validate your actions, decisions, or simply your worth, it might signal that your self-esteem is low.

Want to know why? Here’s the deal:

Reassurance seeking stems from a fear of making mistakes and facing criticism. It’s like an endless loop where, regardless of the amount of reassurance received, the insecurity persists.

The irony of this situation?

Well, even after getting reassurance, the relief is often temporary. 

So, the next time you find yourself seeking reassurance, ask yourself this: “Am I doing this because I genuinely need feedback, or is it because I’m seeking validation for my self-worth?”

8) Decision making feels like navigating a maze

Do you often find yourself standing at the crossroads of decisions, unable to take a step in either direction? It’s like a daunting maze with no clear way out, right?

When decision making, no matter how small, leaves you feeling anxious, it’s a strong signal of low self-esteem.

Let me put it this way:

You might over-analyze every possible outcome, wanting to avoid the wrong choice at all costs. “What if I make a mistake? What will people think?” 

This paralyzing fear of making the wrong decision, the dread of potential criticism, or the inability to trust your judgment are all reflections of low self-worth

Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s through them that we learn and grow.

9) You tolerate ill-treatment in relationships

This one is unpleasant but true: 

People with low self-esteem often find themselves in relationships where they are treated poorly. 

Be it a romantic partner, a friend, or a family member, if you frequently tolerate disrespectful behavior, neglect, or manipulation, you’re likely dealing with low self-esteem.

Sounds like you? Then let me explain how this works:

People with low self-worth often believe they don’t deserve better. They might endure ill-treatment, thinking it’s the best they can get. 

It’s as if they’ve set the bar so low for themselves that they’re willing to put up with behavior they shouldn’t.

So, here’s my advice:

Never forget, you deserve respect and kindness in your relationships. No one has the right to treat you poorly.

10) Stress and anxiety are your unwelcome guests

Did you know that there is a strong link between low self-esteem and high levels of stress and anxiety?

Believe it or not, it’s a fact consistently proved by studies.

Picture this:

With low self-esteem, even the smallest challenge can feel like an insurmountable mountain, leading to high levels of stress. You might constantly worry about messing up, leading to persistent anxiety.

The lesson here is simple:

If you notice that you’re frequently stressed or anxious, especially around situations that involve performance or social interaction, it could be a signal that your self-esteem needs a boost.

11) You’re a stranger to self-love

Finally, here’s a key sign:

When it comes to self-love, do you feel like a stranger in a foreign land?

If you find it difficult to love and accept yourself, flaws and all, this could be a potent sign of low self-esteem.

Unfortunately, many of us are quick to love others but slow to offer ourselves the same grace. 

We pick at our flaws, ignore our needs, and put ourselves at the bottom of our to-do lists.

But trust me, even if it feels right, this shouldn’t be that way.

So, here’s a wake-up call: self-love isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity.

Accepting ourselves—our strengths, weaknesses, quirks—isn’t vanity, it’s sanity. 

If you find self-love difficult, remember this: it’s not just about feeling good. It’s about acknowledging your worth.

In the end, learning to love yourself boosts your self-esteem, and guess what? It feels amazing.

What to do when you spot these signs?

Identifying these signs in someone, or even yourself, might feel daunting. However, the first step towards change is awareness. 

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Encourage self-care and mindfulness
  • Foster positive self-talk
  • Offer unconditional support and kindness
  • Advocate for professional help if necessary

Remember, no one else gets to define your worth; it’s your journey and yours alone. And most importantly, self-esteem, like any other aspect of your mental health, can be improved. 

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