9 signs you’re underestimating yourself (and how to believe in your worth)

There’s a fine line between humility and underestimating yourself.

Let’s admit it: we often confuse the two, and end up selling ourselves short.

But in reality, we have a lot more to offer.

Recognizing this can be tricky, but there are signs that indicate you might be undervaluing your worth.

And trust me, addressing this can make a world of difference in your personal and professional life.

In this article, I’ll walk you through 9 signs that you’re underestimating yourself and give you some tips on how to start believing in your true worth.

1) You’re always playing down your achievements

We all know someone who’s notorious for brushing off compliments or downplaying their accomplishments.

Maybe that person is you.

It’s common, especially among high achievers, to dismiss our own successes.

We attribute them to luck or timing, anything but our own hard work and abilities.

Sounds familiar?

Well, then you might also know that this is known as the Impostor Syndrome. And guess what?

It’s a key sign of underestimating yourself.

While it’s admirable to remain humble, there’s a difference between humility and self-deprecation.

It’s important to acknowledge your own achievements, not as a way of boasting, but as a way of recognizing your own worth.

In simple terms, you’ve worked hard for your success, so it’s okay to take credit for it.

Just don’t let modesty turn into self-doubt.

2) You always feel like you’re not ready

Talking from personal experience, I know how it feels to constantly think you’re not quite there yet.

Whether it’s going for a promotion, starting a new project or even launching your own business, there can always be that nagging thought:

“Am I really ready for this?”

I remember when I was offered a leadership role for the first time.

Despite my years of experience and positive feedback, I found myself hesitating.

“Am I really qualified enough?” I kept asking myself.

Looking back, I can see that my doubts were unfounded.

I was more than ready for the role – but my own self-doubt was holding me back.

I’m sharing this experience in order to help you realize one thing:

If you find yourself constantly waiting for the ‘perfect’ moment or doubting your readiness to take on new challenges, it could be a sign that you’re underestimating your own abilities and potential. 

3) You can’t accept compliments

Compliments are meant to be a positive reinforcement, right?

A nice way for others to express their appreciation for your skills, talent, or effort.

However, if your immediate response is to deflect or dismiss them, it could indicate that you’re undervaluing your own worth.

Here’s the deal:

Psychological studies show that people with low self-esteem have a tendency to reject compliments, viewing them as insincere or undeserved.

This stems from a belief that they are not worthy of praise or recognition.

But here’s the thing – if someone takes the time to compliment you, it’s because they genuinely think you did something well.

It’s important to learn how to graciously accept compliments and see them as an affirmation of your abilities and worth.

4) You often compare yourself to others

Do you find yourself constantly comparing your life, achievements, or skills to those around you?

This can be a clear indication that you’re underestimating your own worth.

I know what you may be thinking right now.

And I agree — it’s easy to look at others and feel like we don’t measure up in our hyper-connected world.

But everyone’s journey is unique,  right?

What’s more, no one’s life is as perfect as it may appear on social media.

That’s why I’m sure about this:

Comparing yourself to others can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Instead, try focusing on your own progress and achievements. Celebrate your own victories, no matter how small they seem compared to others.

Because after all, your worth is not determined by how you stack up against someone else.

5) You’re a perfectionist

perfectionist 9 signs you’re underestimating yourself (and how to believe in your worth)

Let’s face it:

Perfectionism often hides under the guise of a commendable trait.

But in reality, it can be a clear sign that you’re underestimating your worth.

When you’re a perfectionist, you might believe that anything less than perfect is inadequate, which can lead to a cycle of self-doubt and underestimation.

Here’s how perfectionism might be masking your true potential:

  • Setting unrealistically high standards
  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Constantly downplaying success
  • Procrastination and avoidance
  • Overwhelming self-criticism

If these signs seem familiar, then you need to understand that perfection is an unattainable goal and that striving for it can be counterproductive.

Embracing your imperfections and viewing them as opportunities for growth is crucial.

Pro tip: Shift your focus from perfection to progress to appreciate your true worth and unlock your full potential.

6) You feel like you don’t deserve happiness or success

This can be a tough one to admit, but it’s an important sign to watch out for.

If you often feel like you don’t deserve happiness or success, you’re definitely undervaluing yourself.

Look, we all have our ups and downs, right?

But if you find yourself feeling guilty when good things happen to you, or if you constantly feel undeserving of positive things in your life, it’s time to reassess.

Every single person on this planet, including you, deserves happiness and success.

You too are worthy of good things.

You are worthy of reaching your goals, and you are absolutely deserving of love and kindness.

Don’t let anyone – especially yourself – convince you otherwise.

7) You’re always second-guessing yourself

Believe me when I say, I’ve been there.

I’ve spent countless hours going over decisions in my head, wondering if I made the right choice or if I could have done better.

Think about those moments when you hesitated to voice your opinion in a meeting, fearing it wasn’t valuable enough.

Or the times you revised an email over and over, worrying it wasn’t perfect.

These are classic examples of how second-guessing infiltrates our daily lives.

Here’s the thing:

This lack of confidence can stem from various sources – past failures, negative feedback, or even an upbringing where mistakes weren’t tolerated.

The impact?

You hold back.

You shy away from opportunities that require you to step out of your comfort zone.

You might even pass up chances for growth because you’re not sure you’re “good enough” for them.

8) You’re constantly seeking approval

Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be liked or appreciated.

But if you find yourself constantly seeking validation and approval from others, it might be a sign that you’re underestimating your own worth.

It’s human nature to desire acceptance.

However, when the quest for external validation begins to dictate your actions, decisions, and self-esteem, it becomes problematic.

Think about the times you changed your opinion just because it didn’t align with the majority, or the moments you agreed to something you didn’t really want to, just to fit in or please someone else.

Or consider those instances when you felt crushed just because someone didn’t like your idea or work.

Wondering why I’m pushing you to reflect on those moments?

Because these are all indicators that you might be placing too much importance on others’ opinions, at the expense of your own self-trust and confidence.

9) You’re not setting boundaries

One of the most telling signs that you’re underestimating yourself is the absence of clear boundaries in your life.

Simply put, boundaries are essential.

They are like guidelines that define how we want to be treated by others and how we treat ourselves.

Besides, they reflect our self-respect and our understanding of our own worth.

But you know what?

If you often find yourself saying ‘yes’ when you really want to say ‘no’, or if you feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs, it’s likely that you’re not setting the boundaries you deserve.

This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and taken advantage of, and eventually, it chips away at your self-esteem.

That’s why you should understand this:

Setting boundaries isn’t just about saying no, it’s about understanding and advocating for your own value.

It’s about recognizing your limits and not compromising on them just to please others or avoid conflict.

So, start small.

Identify one area where you feel your boundaries are not respected and take steps to strengthen them. 

Final thoughts: It’s all about self-love

At the root of underestimating ourselves is often a lack of self-love and acceptance.

And this is something that goes much deeper than we may think.

Psychologists highlight the importance of self-love in our overall mental well-being and success.

It’s not just about feeling good about ourselves but also about accepting our imperfections and acknowledging our worth.

When we practice self-love, we start to see our own value. We stop underestimating ourselves and start recognizing our abilities, our strengths, and our worth.

Picture of Nato Lagidze

Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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