7 little known body language signs that signal low self-esteem

Body language plays a critical role in how we understand others or even ourselves. A slouched posture, averted gaze, or fidgeting hands can do more than words to reveal low self-esteem.

In this article, we’ll delve into 7 little-known body language signs that often signal low self-esteem.

Buckle up and get ready to become an expert in non-verbal communication!

1) Slouched posture

It’s more than just bad posture.

Slouching is often an unconscious effort to make oneself appear smaller or less noticeable. It’s like trying to shrink away from attention or blend into the background.

You see, individuals with low self-esteem often feel uncomfortable in their own skin. They might feel unworthy of attention and, as a result, physically recede to avoid standing out.

Here’s what’s really interesting.

The reverse is also true. Standing or sitting up straight can boost your confidence and self-esteem.

2) Avoiding eye contact

Now, I’m not talking about the occasional glance away. That’s normal in any conversation.

I’m talking about consistently avoiding eye contact. You know, when someone seems to be looking everywhere but at your eyes?

I remember a friend of mine, let’s call him Jake. Jake would always look away when talking, as if he was searching for the right words somewhere on the floor.

At first, I thought he was just shy, but as I got to know him better, I realized it wasn’t that simple. Jake was struggling with low self-esteem. He subconsciously avoided eye contact as a way to distance himself, fearing judgment or rejection.

It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

Eye contact is such a powerful form of communication. It can show confidence, interest, and honesty. But when it’s missing, it could signal an underlying issue with self-esteem.

3) Self-soothing behaviors

Ever noticed someone constantly touching their face, fidgeting with their hands, or twirling their hair during a conversation? These are called self-soothing behaviors.

Let me share a little story.

I used to have a co-worker. Let’s call her Emily. Emily was always playing with her necklace during meetings. At first, I thought it was just a nervous habit or maybe she just really liked that necklace.

But then I noticed she’d do it more when she was asked to give her opinion or present her work. It was as if she was trying to comfort herself in those moments of stress.

Turns out, Emily was battling with low self-esteem. Those self-soothing behaviors were her way of dealing with the discomfort that came from being the center of attention.

4) Over-apologizing

We’ve all come across those individuals who say ‘sorry’ a bit too often.

They apologize for things that don’t warrant an apology, like when you bump into them accidentally or even when they express their own opinions.

It’s interesting, isn’t it?

Apologies are meant to express remorse or regret, but in these cases, it’s more about seeking validation or approval. They’re uncomfortable asserting themselves or fear that they’re constantly doing something wrong.

If that someone is you, remember, your opinions and feelings are valid. You don’t need to apologize for being yourself.

5) Negative self-talk

If you use these phrases every day you probably have low self esteem 1 7 little known body language signs that signal low self-esteem

Now, this isn’t technically body language, but it’s a verbal behavior that’s closely linked to low self-esteem.

Negative self-talk often comes in the form of self-deprecating jokes or comments. You know, when someone constantly makes fun of themselves or puts themselves down?

Around 80% of what we say to ourselves is negative, and when this habit becomes public, it can be a clear sign of low self-esteem.

Try to shift towards positive self-talk. Your words have power, use them wisely.

6) Lack of assertiveness

Assertiveness is about confidently expressing your needs, wants, and feelings without disrespecting others. But when self-esteem is low, being assertive can feel incredibly daunting.

I remember a time when I struggled with this.

Being a peacemaker by nature, I often found myself agreeing with others, even when I didn’t truly feel the same way. It was easier to go with the flow than risk confrontation or disagreement.

But over time, I realized that by doing so, I was silencing my own voice. It wasn’t easy, but learning to be more assertive was a crucial part of my journey towards higher self-esteem.

Your voice matters and it’s okay to stand up for yourself.

7) Difficulty accepting compliments

Compliments are meant to make us feel good, right?

But for those with low self-esteem, accepting a compliment can feel awkward or even anxiety-provoking. They might deflect the praise, downplay their achievement, or counter it with a negative about themselves.

Here’s the thing.

We all deserve recognition for our accomplishments and positive attributes. You are deserving of every compliment you receive.

Final thoughts

Recognizing these signs in yourself or others is the first step towards understanding and improvement.

With self-awareness and conscious effort, these behaviors can be recognized and altered. You can learn to hold your head high, maintain eye contact, accept compliments gracefully, and most importantly, believe in your own worth.

Start by paying attention to your body language. Are you slouching? Are you avoiding eye contact? Are you constantly apologizing even when it’s not necessary?

Once you’re aware of these habits, you can begin to change them. Stand tall. Look people in the eye. Accept compliments with a simple ‘thank you’.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But each small step brings you closer to becoming a more confident version of yourself.

Take your time. Be patient with yourself. Every journey begins with a single step.

You are more than enough, just as you are.

Picture of Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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