People who constantly seek validation because they lack self-esteem often display these subtle behaviors

by Lucas Graham | April 14, 2024, 9:20 am

There’s a thin line between seeking support and constantly seeking validation.

The difference? It’s all about self-esteem.

People with low self-esteem often find themselves on a constant quest for approval, subtly displaying certain behaviors to get it.

As you read this article, you’ll discover that these behaviors can be pretty hard to spot.

But once you know what to look for, you’ll start to see them everywhere.

So, let’s dive into the 9 subtle signs of those who are constantly seeking validation due to their low self-esteem.

1) Over-apologizing

Ever noticed someone who seems to apologize for everything, even things that aren’t their fault?

This is a common behavior among people who lack self-esteem and constantly seek validation.

They feel that they’re always in the wrong and will often preemptively apologize as a way of avoiding conflict or criticism.

It’s a subtle way of seeking approval, an assurance from others that they’re not in the “bad books”.

It’s an attempt to make things ‘right’, even when nothing is wrong.

It might seem like they’re just being polite, but constant over-apologizing can be a sign of a deeper issue – a struggle with self-esteem and a need for validation.

2) Seeking perfection

I remember a time when I would spend hours perfecting a simple presentation, constantly tweaking and adjusting until it was just right.

It wasn’t about creating the best presentation, it was about avoiding criticism.

This is another subtle behavior of people who constantly seek validation due to low self-esteem.

They have this unending desire to be perfect in everything they do.

It’s not about the pursuit of excellence, rather it’s the fear of being seen as less than perfect.

They believe that if they can just get everything right, then no one will have a reason to criticize or reject them.

But, in reality, this constant striving for perfection often leads to stress and burnout.

If you notice someone always seeking perfection, they might be dealing with low self-esteem and seeking validation.

Recognizing this can help us support them in finding balance and learning that it’s okay not to be perfect all the time.

3) People-pleasing

Being a people-pleaser isn’t just about being nice or helpful.

It’s a behavior often rooted in the fear of rejection.

People who constantly seek validation due to low self-esteem tend to bend over backwards to make others happy, often at the expense of their own happiness.

Here’s something intriguing – chronic people-pleasing can lead to increased levels of stress, burnout, and even health problems.

People-pleasers feel they need to say yes to every request, often sacrificing their own needs and desires in the process.

They hope that by pleasing others, they’ll gain acceptance and approval.

4) Negative self-talk

We all have an inner voice, but for those with low self-esteem, that voice can be particularly harsh.

Negative self-talk is a common trait among people who constantly seek validation.

They often criticize themselves over even the smallest mistakes, always feeling like they’re not good enough.

They’ll downplay their achievements and magnify their faults.

You might hear them say things like, “I’m such a fool,” or “I can’t do anything right.”

This negative self-talk reinforces their feelings of inadequacy and fuels their need for external validation.

5) Fear of saying “no”

Does someone you know struggle to say ‘no’, even when they’re clearly overwhelmed?

This can be a subtle sign of low self-esteem and a constant need for validation.

People with low self-esteem often fear that saying ‘no’ will lead to rejection or disappointment.

They might overextend themselves, agreeing to tasks and responsibilities they don’t have the time or energy for, just to avoid letting others down.

They hope that by always being available and helpful, they’ll secure others’ approval and positive regard.

But this can lead to burnout and resentment over time.

6) Constant comparison with others

It’s human nature to compare ourselves with others from time to time, but for those with low self-esteem, it can become an all-consuming habit.

These individuals constantly measure their worth against the successes and achievements of those around them.

They might look at others and think, “Why can’t I be as successful as them?” or “Why don’t people like me as much as they like them?”

It’s a heart-wrenching cycle that can erode their confidence further, fuelling their need for validation.

7) Difficulty accepting compliments

There was a time when I found it incredibly hard to accept compliments.

Instead of simply saying “thank you”, I would shrug them off or downplay my achievements. I didn’t believe I deserved them.

This is a common behavior among those who constantly seek validation due to low self-esteem.

They doubt their worth so much that they struggle to accept positive feedback.

They might brush off compliments, or even respond with self-deprecating comments.

It’s like they’re at war with their own worthiness, unable to reconcile the positive feedback from others with their own negative self-perception.

8) Overthinking and worry

Overthinking and excessive worrying can also be signs of someone who lacks self-esteem and constantly seeks validation.

They might replay conversations in their heads, fretting over what they said or didn’t say, and worrying about how others perceived them.

This constant state of worry stems from their fear of being judged or rejected.

They might over-analyze every interaction, looking for signs of disapproval or dissatisfaction.

9) Lack of self-care

The most telling sign of low self-esteem and a constant need for validation is a disregard for self-care.

These individuals often neglect their own needs, be it physical, emotional, or mental, as they’re too busy seeking approval from others.

They might not take time for relaxation, ignore their health, or let go of hobbies and activities they enjoy.

They place others’ needs before their own, believing that their worth lies in pleasing others.

Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. It’s essential.

If you notice someone neglecting their own needs, it’s a clear sign they might be grappling with low self-esteem.

Encouraging them to prioritize self-care can be a significant step towards fostering their self-esteem.

Final thoughts: It’s about empathy and understanding

Digging deeper into human behavior, it’s clear that our self-esteem significantly shapes how we act and interact with the world around us.

For those who constantly seek validation due to low self-esteem, these subtle behaviors aren’t merely habits; they’re cries for acceptance and reassurance.

So, when we encounter individuals displaying these behaviors, let’s not judge or dismiss them. Instead, let’s empathize and understand.

Let’s recognize their struggle and offer support instead of scrutiny.

In the end, it’s not just about spotting these signs; it’s about responding to them with compassion.

Because sometimes, the greatest validation we can give is simply to listen, understand, and reassure that they matter just as they are.

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