People who are highly successful but have low self-esteem usually display these 7 behaviors

Success and self-esteem — two words that we often associate together, but what happens when they exist separately?

It’s easy to assume that high levels of success automatically equate to high self-esteem.

But, as someone who’s been through the wringer, I can tell you this isn’t always the case.

There are countless individuals out there who, despite their remarkable achievements, struggle with a low sense of self-worth.

But, how can you identify these individuals?

Well, there are certain behaviors that speak volumes.

And in this article, we are going to explore those 7 behaviors that are usually displayed by highly successful people who unfortunately harbor low self-esteem.

1) You’re constantly seeking validation

In the world of success and self-esteem, approval, or rather the need for it, can be a tricky terrain.

Here’s something you might find surprising.

Highly successful individuals with low self-esteem often find themselves in a constant quest for validation.

Despite their achievements, they’re not convinced of their worth.

They may have a brilliant idea, or have already accomplished something significant, but they still crave external confirmation.

It’s as if the success isn’t real until someone else acknowledges it.

This incessant need for validation isn’t being humble or considerate.

It’s a clear indicator of low self-esteem masked by their remarkable accomplishments.

2) You often deflect praise

Now, you might expect that someone who constantly feels like a fraud would greedily accept any praise or recognition they receive, right?

Well, that’s where things get a bit counter-intuitive.

In reality, highly successful individuals with low self-esteem often have a hard time accepting compliments.

They might deflect praise, attributing their success to luck or other external factors rather than acknowledging their own talent and hard work.

For example, if such individuals are commended on a job well done, instead of accepting the compliment graciously, they might downplay it and say something like, “Oh, I just got lucky,” or “I had a lot of help.”

This behavior stems from their belief that they don’t truly deserve the praise.

They fear that accepting it might expose them as the ‘imposters’ they perceive themselves to be.

Ironically, this inability to accept praise can sometimes be perceived by others as false modesty or even arrogance, further complicating their interpersonal relationships.

3) You’re a perfectionist to the core

Perfectionism, while it might seem like a desirable trait, can often be a double-edged sword.

Especially when it stems from low self-esteem.

Ironically, this trait is common among successful individuals who harbor self-doubts.

Despite their accomplishments, they feel they must not make a single mistake.

They believe that anything less than perfect is unacceptable.

On the surface, this might look like high standards, dedication, or even diligence.

But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find it’s actually an intense fear of failure or criticism.

Constantly pursuing perfection, experiencing anxiety and dissatisfaction when things aren’t just right, may signal underlying low self-esteem beneath a facade of success.

It’s a paradox, as we often associate perfectionism with high achievers.

However, appearances can be deceptive; not all that gleams is gold.

4) You’re often overly critical of yourself

People who lack self love often display these behaviors without realizing it People who are highly successful but have low self-esteem usually display these 7 behaviors

Have you ever met someone who seems to have it all together but is constantly criticizing themselves?

Highly successful individuals with low self-esteem often fall into this category.

They are their own harshest critics.

While it’s common for all of us to be self-critical at times, these individuals take it to another level.

They’re continually scrutinizing their actions, their words, and their decisions, always finding something to criticize.

Even when they achieve great things, they may focus on what went wrong or how they could have done better.

This constant self-criticism can be exhausting and damaging to their mental health.

It’s a stark reminder that success doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness or self-acceptance.

Sometimes, those who seem to have it all are battling inner demons we know nothing about.

5) You have a fear of saying ‘no’

Let’s be honest here, saying ‘no’ can be hard. But for highly successful individuals with low self-esteem, it can feel nearly impossible.

I’ve seen this time and time again.

We often feel compelled to say ‘yes’ to everything, whether it’s a new project, a favor, or a social event. We fear that saying ‘no’ might disappoint others, damage relationships, or make us appear selfish.

But here’s the thing. Constantly agreeing to things that you don’t want to do, or don’t have the capacity for, isn’t a sign of kindness or dedication.

It’s a clear indication of low self-esteem.

Struggling to say ‘no’, or constantly find yourself overcommitted and stressed because you’ve taken on too much, it might be worth reflecting on why that is.

Remember, setting boundaries is not just healthy, it’s essential for your well-being and self-respect.

6) You constantly compare yourself to others

There’s a type of silent pain in constantly measuring your worth against others.

Those who are successful yet have low self-esteem often find themselves trapped in this comparison game.

Despite their achievements, they still look at others and think, “They’re better than me.”

It’s as if their accomplishments lose value when compared to someone else’s.

This constant comparison can be a heavy burden to bear, casting a shadow over their success.

It’s heartbreaking to see such talented individuals unable to fully appreciate their own worth because they’re too busy looking at others.

7) You’re always pushing yourself to the limit

One of the most telling signs of low self-esteem in highly successful individuals is the constant drive to push oneself to the limit.

It’s as though no matter how much they achieve, it’s never enough.

They’re always striving for more, setting higher goals, taking on more responsibilities.

They push themselves to the brink of exhaustion in a bid to prove their worth.

While ambition and drive are admirable qualities, this relentless pursuit often stems from a deep-seated belief that they’re not good enough.

It’s like they’re running a never-ending race, trying to outrun their own insecurities.

Your worth is not solely defined by your accomplishments.

It’s okay to slow down, breathe, and take pride in how far you’ve come.

The heart of the matter

Unraveling the complexity of human behavior, particularly among highly successful individuals with low self-esteem, is no simple task.

The interplay between achievement and self-perception can be as baffling as it is intriguing.

A quote by the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates rings true in this context: “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Reflecting on our behaviors, understanding their root causes, and recognizing their impacts on our lives are all crucial steps towards self-awareness and growth.

Successful individuals grappling with low self-esteem are not alone in their struggle.

Many others walk the same path, wrestling with similar demons of self-doubt and inadequate feelings.

Success is more than external recognition or achievements; it’s about embracing our worth, cultivating self-love, and acknowledging our inherent value.

In the end, it’s not just about understanding these behaviors – it’s about fostering empathy, creating space for vulnerability, and empowering ourselves and others to challenge these patterns.

Picture of Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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