People who struggle with low self-esteem often display these 8 subtle behaviors (without realizing it)

If someone constantly puts themselves down, they might have low self-esteem. If they shy away from compliments, it’s probably the same story.

Simple, right? But understanding insecurities isn’t always this straightforward.

In reality, it’s a tangled web of subtle behaviors and unconscious habits that can be hard to spot.

However, those who struggle with this issue often show these 8 specific signs – without even realizing it. Let’s dive in.

1) They’re masters at deflecting compliments

Living with low self-esteem is like navigating a minefield of emotions.

A compliment can suddenly feel like an unwarranted attack, something to be deflected or avoided at all costs.

Why? Because accepting a compliment means acknowledging that they may have qualities worth praising. And that’s a tough pill to swallow for someone who’s constantly wrestling with self-doubt.

They might laugh it off, change the subject, or even outright deny what you’re saying. It’s their way of escaping the discomfort that comes with positive recognition.

Ever encountered someone who just can’t take a compliment? They may be dealing with low confidence.

It’s a subtle sign, but once you spot it, it’s hard to unsee.

2) Their apologies are frequent and unnecessary

This one’s pretty close to home for me.

I remember a time when I would apologize for everything. If I thought I was talking too much, I’d apologize. If I wasn’t talking enough, I’d apologize.

Even if someone bumped into me, I’d be the one saying sorry.

It was as if my existence was a burden to others, and I had to constantly seek forgiveness for it.

Looking back, I now realize it was all because of my low self-esteem.

I felt unworthy and believed that everything wrong in the world was somehow my fault.

Frequent, unnecessary apologies are a common sign of feeling inadequate- it’s an unconscious attempt to avoid potential conflict or rejection.

So if you know someone who can’t stop saying sorry for the smallest things, they might be struggling with their self-esteem.

It’s more common than you think, and spotting it is the first step in understanding – and helping.

3) They avoid eye contact

Here’s something you might not know. Our eyes are more than just windows to our souls.

They’re also mirrors reflecting our self-esteem.

People with low self-worth often avoid eye contact. It’s like an unspoken admission of feeling inferior or unworthy.

It’s as if by looking down or away, they can hide their perceived inadequacies from the world.

When we feel confident and valuable, we’re more likely to meet others’ gazes.

But when we don’t, our eyes tend to wander elsewhere.

Next time, if you notice someone avoiding your gaze, it might be more than just shyness.

It could be a sign of their inner struggle with self-esteem.

4) They’re harshest on themselves

find life hard and difficult People who struggle with low self-esteem often display these 8 subtle behaviors (without realizing it)

Ever met someone who’s their own worst critic?

People with low self-esteem often have an extremely harsh inner voice.

They’re quick to blame themselves when things go wrong, and slow to give themselves credit when things go right.

A minor mistake becomes a catastrophic failure in their eyes.

A success is dismissed as luck or the result of others’ efforts.

It’s like they’re wearing a pair of distorted glasses that only magnify their flaws while minimizing their strengths.

This self-deprecating mindset is a telltale sign of insecurities.

It’s not just being modest or humble – it’s a harmful pattern that can be incredibly damaging in the long run.

5) They struggle with decision-making

I’ve found that people with constant self-doubts, myself included at times, often grapple with making decisions.

It’s like standing at the edge of a cliff, looking down at the chasm of choices and feeling utterly paralyzed.

Big or small, every decision feels like a potential misstep, a looming disaster waiting to happen.

I used to struggle with this a lot.

Even choosing what to eat for lunch could turn into an anxiety-inducing dilemma.

I was afraid of making the wrong choice, of disappointing others, of exposing my perceived inadequacies.

This fear of decision-making is more than just indecisiveness.

It’s a manifestation of low self-esteem, a reflection of the lack of trust in one’s own judgment.

6) They’re often high achievers

Here’s a twist. You might think people with low self-esteem would be underachievers, right? Wrong.

In fact, many are just the opposite.

They’re often high achievers, driven by a relentless need to prove their worth.

This might seem like a great thing on the surface. After all, who doesn’t want to excel?

But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that it’s not healthy ambition driving them, but a fear of not being good enough.

They push themselves harder and harder, chasing after validation and approval like a mirage in the desert.

But no matter how much they achieve, it never feels enough.

7) They struggle with boundaries

Setting boundaries is a crucial aspect of self-care and self-respect.

But for people lack of confidence, it’s often a tough challenge.

That’s because they fear rejection and crave acceptance.

They’re more likely to tolerate unacceptable behavior, say ‘yes’ when they really want to say ‘no’, or put others’ needs before their own.

It’s like they’re walking on a tightrope, trying to balance their need for respect with their fear of upsetting others.

So if you notice someone constantly bending over backward to please others, struggling to say no, or putting up with things they shouldn’t, it could be a sign of low self-esteem.

Recognizing these subtle signs is the first step towards understanding and supporting those who struggle with low self-esteem.

Remember, everyone’s fighting their own battles – some just hide it better than others.

8) They underestimate their worth

The most significant sign of low self-esteem? People undervalue themselves.

They see themselves as less capable, less important, less worthy than they actually are.

They might have incredible talents, amazing qualities, and a lot to offer to the world, but their lens is tainted by self-doubt.

It’s hard for them to believe that they’re good enough just as they are, without needing to prove anything to anyone.

This underestimation of self-worth is heartbreaking, and it’s something we need to address with love, patience, and understanding.

Remember, everyone deserves to see their own worth.

And helping someone realize this can make a world of difference.

Embracing the journey towards self-acceptance

Hopefully, by now, you’ve realized that understanding low self-esteem is more than just identifying negative behaviors.

It’s about recognizing the pain and struggles that lie beneath.

Low self-esteem isn’t something people choose to have.

It’s a deep-rooted issue often stemming from past experiences and internalized beliefs about oneself.

But it’s also not a life sentence. With support, empathy, and patience, it can be overcome.

Everyone is on their own journey towards self-acceptance.

Some may just have more hurdles along the way.

If you recognize these signs in yourself or someone else, take it as an invitation to show kindness, to lend a listening ear, and most importantly, to remind them of their worth.

Because everyone deserves to feel good about who they are.

And sometimes, knowing that someone else sees their worth can make all the difference in the world.

So let’s strive to be that difference.

Let’s strive to be more understanding, more compassionate, and more aware of the battles others might be fighting beneath the surface.

After all, we’re all in this together.

Picture of Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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