I once knew a man who had the looks of a Greek god, with chiseled features that turned heads whenever he walked down the street. Let’s call him James, shall we? James had this indecipherable aura of confidence that drew everybody in, but little did they know, this was a mask: his insecurities ran deep.
These strangers, hell, even his friends, didn’t see what really went on behind the scenes. I would know, you see, because I lived with him. James was my ex. In the bathroom each morning, he spent hours preening himself and admiring his features. Had he gained weight? He wondered. Did he need to update his skincare regimen? He thought.
Little did James understand that while he was close to physical perfection, he wore his vanity as a shield, protecting him from the world’s judgment. Beneath the pretty surface, his self-worth was as delicate as glass.
As you can guess, my journey with James did not last long! While I wish him the best, I know that it will be impossible for him to maintain healthy relationships. Why? Because his deep need for external validation means he prioritizes appearances above all else, including emotional connections.
If you know somebody like James, or perhaps you feel that you’re similar to him in some way, this might be a tell-tale sign of low self-worth.
There are many reasons a man may experience low self-worth. Childhood experiences, such as a lack of positive reinforcement or constant criticism from parents, can lay the framework for self-doubt well into adulthood.
The aggressive comparison culture perpetuated by social media and societal expectations around traditional masculinity can also lead to feelings of not being good enough.
Understanding the root causes of one’s low self-worth can be the first step toward breaking free from this cycle — so fear not, there is a silver lining to be found.
If you’re looking for the tell-tale behaviors of low self-worth, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s unpack them together.
If a man displays these 8 behaviors, he might lack self-worth:
1) He is always criticizing himself
Negative self-talk is the hallmark of a man with low self-worth.
A man plagued by self-doubt often engages in pretty harsh self-criticism, which manifests in ways like underestimating his abilities and accomplishments and talking down on himself.
2) He often isolates himself
A man who avoids social interactions might be struggling with a lack of self-worth. For a man grappling with this, “What if I say something stupid?” or “What if they don’t like me?” become recurring thoughts in his internal dialogue.
This retreat from social interactions becomes a defense mechanism, shielding him from rejection and disappointment.
His choice to isolate himself isn’t just about the parties he skips or the conversations he doesn’t want to be part of; it’s rooted in a belief that he doesn’t deserve goodness in his life.
This sense of unworthiness clouds his perceptions, convincing him that nobody wants him around.
3) He struggles to take ownership of his mistakes
A man grappling with low self-worth might avoid taking responsibility for his mistakes, fearing that acknowledging them will reinforce his idea that he isn’t good enough.
A man with high self-worth is willing to own his mistakes and worth to rectify them.
4) He constantly seeks external validation
A man with low self-worth often seeks external validation to fill the emptiness he feels inside. He appears to seek out others’ approval regularly, relying on their opinions to define his confidence.
This constant hunger for validation becomes a cycle that’s tricky to break.
5) He puts others before himself — and not in a healthy way
In relationships, being considerate and putting others’ needs into consideration is a trait to be admired.
But there’s a line between consideration and an unhealthy tendency to prioritize everyone else’s needs. For a man struggling with low self-worth, this line often blurs, leading to self-neglect.
This might manifest in a number of ways, such as saying yes to every single request, regardless of his own workload or well-being. From late-night favors to lending a hand even when he’s tired, his life becomes a pattern of selfless acts that leave no room for self-care.
This is often driven by a belief that his needs aren’t as important as those around him. This mindset can lead to emotional burnout, where the energy he extends outward is not returned, leaving him feeling depleted.
6) He has an obvious fear of rejection
A man with low self-worth often dreads rejection and criticism, causing him to shy away from new opportunities for growth, such as education, a change in jobs, or even traveling the world.
The fear of failure becomes paralyzing, preventing him from going after what he really wants in life and holds him back from being the best possible version of himself.
7) He is outwardly jealous of others
Constantly comparing himself to others and feeling envious of their wins in life are signs of low self-worth.
You might find that he measures his value against unmeetable external standards, creating a painful cycle of unhappiness. You know what they say, nobody likes the green-eyed monster.
8) He settles for less than he deserves
A man struggling with self-worth might regularly undervalue himself in relationships and settle for situations that fall far below what he actually wants. This pattern of settling isn’t just about making compromises — it’s a reflection of him thinking that he doesn’t believe he deserves better.
Imagine this. A man finds himself in a relationship that lacks understanding or mutual respect. His needs are not being met. But he stays.
This lack of self-worth might affect other areas of life as well, for example, he may work jobs that don’t nurture his passions or his abilities. This cycle of settling becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, where his belief in his own inadequacy reinforces his acceptance of less than what he deserves.
Some final word
Recognizing some of these tell-tale signs of low self-worth can pave the way to growth.
Through self-compassion and self-discovery, the barriers of low self-worth can be chiseled away. Believe me — it’s possible!
Positive affirmations, mindfulness, and professional therapy can allow for healing to take place. Also, never underestimate the value of a network of loved ones who care about you and want to see you do well.