People who have low self-worth often display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

Confidence doesn’t grow on trees.

(Although it’s beautiful to imagine what would happen if it did. Just think of how happy we’d all be!)

In order to gain confidence, some of us actually have to put in a lot of hard work. Facing your fears, self-reflecting, and reading personal development content are just a few of the many ways in which one can increase their sense of self-worth.

But do you know what else is important?

Your own behavior. Even though you may not realize it, your actions say a great deal about how you feel on the inside and what kind of relationship you have with yourself.


People who have low self-worth often display these 8 behaviors.

1) They need to have all their decisions approved by a trusted friend

When I was younger, I was far from confident.

Every time I made a decision, I immediately doubted myself, unsure of whether I’d made the right call. I’d overthink, spiral into whirlpools of anxiety, and stress myself out for no reason.

That’s not all, though. I also had the unhealthy habit of asking my best friend for advice on every tiny thing I did.

I mean it. It got to the point when she had to approve my emails to professors at university because I needed her confirmation that they were grammatically correct and polite. I also kept asking her questions I could have just Googled.

Doing something like that is now completely befuddling to me, but back then, it was my daily bread and butter.

The difference between then and now? My sense of self-worth has dramatically increased. I no longer doubt myself as much because I believe in the validity of my decisions.

2) They use escapism to run away from their problems

Want to know another thing I did when I had quite low self-esteem?

I avoided real life by immersing myself in books and TV shows.

I experienced a lot of stress and anxiety back then, but instead of doing something to improve my mental well-being (such as meditation, making more friends, or going to the gym), I just watched Netflix for six hours straight.

If this sounds familiar, I want you to know that you’re not lazy. There’s nothing wrong with you. Procrastination and escapism are symptoms of a deeper issue, be it mental health problems or low self-esteem, and they don’t have to be your coping mechanisms forever.

It does get better. But you do need to put the effort in. A little bit is all you need to start.

3) They struggle to face new challenges

“How am I supposed to get out there into the world when I struggle to face my fears?” you might be asking.

Good question. It’s very common for people with low self-worth to experience difficulty facing new challenges and leaving their comfort zones because they ultimately don’t believe that they can make it through.

Plus, they’re often so terrified of failure that they’d prefer not to try at all.

They think themselves weak. Fragile. Unable to cope.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Did you know that humans are inherently antifragile? When we break, we don’t just mend ourselves back together – we become stronger as a result.

Every new challenge forces you to grow. And if you fail, so what? Failure is an important part of success. If you don’t fail, you don’t win.

4) They constantly compare themselves to others

One of my friends and I used to constantly compete with each other. We’d compare our grades at school, our appearance, clothes, achievements in life… anything you can think of, really.

Due to these comparisons, our friendship ended up being completely poisoned by bitterness and envy, and it inevitably fell apart.

Looking back, I now know that we were both very insecure, which is why we kept trying to get the upper hand and win the invisible fight between us.

But comparison is the thief of joy. Instead of celebrating each other’s successes, we were bitter. Instead of rooting for each other, we hoped we could one-up one another.

Now that I’m very self-assured, all my friendships are incredibly supportive and peaceful. And I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

5) They suck up to authorities

signs your boss sees your potential at work even if they dont say it People who have low self-worth often display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

Here’s a confession for you: I used to be a teacher’s pet. Hermione Granger was my idol. I sucked up to authorities all the damn time because their approval made me feel validated and seen.

The issue was not only that I was incredibly annoying but also that I built so much of my self-worth around other people’s opinions of me that the moment someone expressed a genuine dislike for me, I completely shattered.

Why didn’t they like me? What did I do? And how could I make it better?

As I grew older, I slowly learned to detach my self-esteem from what authorities thought of me. It was a long and painful process, but I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely possible.

6) They put other people’s well-being above their own

On a similar note, building your sense of self-worth around your relationships with other people also means that you will do anything to make them like you.

Enter… good old people-pleasing.

You want everyone to be your friend, so you cater to all their emotional needs even if it means foregoing your own. You do them favors, sacrifice your time and energy, and prioritize their wants above your own every step of the way.

By the end of it, you feel bitter, resentful, and emotionally exhausted.

Yeah. That didn’t work out very well for you, did it?

People-pleasing never does. It’s an ungrateful job that usually ends with a breakdown. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Your well-being matters, too.

You are no less important than the people you love. In fact, one could argue that you matter even more because you’re the only person who is guaranteed to always stay by your side.

7) They apologize too much or not at all

People who have low self-worth tend to struggle with apologies.

One way or another, they find apologizing difficult because they either do it too often or… well, never.

If you say “sorry” too much, it’s a sign of low self-esteem because you’re always so worried about letting someone down or screwing up that you throw around “sorry” at every opportunity in an attempt to fix things.

If you don’t say “sorry” at all, it’s also a sign of low self-esteem, except this time it means that you don’t want to admit you’ve made a mistake – not even to yourself – because it would shatter your fragile sense of confidence.

There’s a time and place for apologies. True confidence lies in saying “sorry” when it’s necessary and having the self-awareness to change your behavior.

8) They view constructive criticism as a personal attack

If I tell you that your jokes have been pretty hurtful lately, the way you react says a great deal about your self-esteem.

How so?

Simple. If you have low self-worth, you will view every piece of negative feedback as an attack on who you are as a person because you already think of yourself quite negatively, which means that a bit of criticism can tip you over into a spiral of self-loathing.

There is only one thing that saves you before you fall: defensiveness.

If you defend yourself tooth and nail, you might yet come out of the argument with your dignity intact. You might yet avoid the pit of despair.

The issue is that defensiveness never really works. 

Even if you do win the argument, the other person will probably still walk away from it thinking the exact same thoughts as before, except that this time, they’ll also realize that giving you constructive criticism doesn’t sit well with you… which reflects even more poorly on you.

This is why your best bet is to learn how to receive criticism with grace and openness.

You may not necessarily agree with everything you’re told, but that doesn’t matter – what matters is that you take something away from it and learn a lesson that will help you grow.

And before we part for today, I want you to remember that low self-worth isn’t something that has to last forever. I’ve grown in confidence over these past few years, and so can you. 

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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