7 things you don’t know you’re doing because you lack self-worth

Don’t we all want to have more confidence in ourselves?

To feel like we’re great humans with great values and a great personality? To be treated with love, care, and respect from the people around us?

I think all of us aspire to have self-worth, even if we don’t realize that’s what we’re truly searching for.

When we go for a new job, we want to find a company that values us.

When dating, we want to find a partner who makes us feel good.

In friendships, we want to spend time with people who support us, energize us, and make us laugh.

And we wouldn’t be searching for those things if we didn’t believe we deserved to have good in our lives.

Which all relates to – guess what? Our self-worth.

But sometimes, we don’t realize why we don’t feel good about ourselves in the same way many others do.

We can’t figure out why we don’t want to get a new job or leave a toxic relationship, even if we know it’s not making us happy.

If that sounds all too familiar, you’re not alone.

But all it takes is a bit of soul-searching (and Googling) to find the answer you’re looking for.

Because chances are, your lack of self-worth is in your habits. And they need to change before you can start building your inner confidence.

1) Apologizing when you don’t need to apologize

Have you ever had someone ask you why you apologized for something? Or told you to “Stop saying sorry”, to which you answer with another apology? (guilty!)

Something many people do without even realizing is over-apologize.

Like apologizing when someone walks into them. Or apologizing for talking a lot about something you’re excited about. Or apologizing when you can’t do something.

Sounds familiar? Then you probably already know that you apologize too much.

Unfortunately, over-apologizing is a habit of people who lack self-worth and inner confidence. Or, at least, it comes across that way.

Because when you apologize for everything, you’re essentially saying sorry for talking, living, breathing, existing, etc., etc.

Which, naturally, doesn’t come across as confident or secure.

A great alternative is to say, “Thank you” instead of sorry.

Like instead of saying “Sorry I can’t come”, you could say: “Thanks for inviting me, but I can’t make it this time”.

It’s a small change that makes a big difference in how confident you appear.

2) Being afraid to ask for help

Repeat after me: There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

Everyone needs help sometimes and there’s no shame in that fact.

If you’re going through a tough time emotionally, are sick, or just need someone to help you flip a mattress (have you ever tried doing that alone?) – asking for help takes strength, bravery, and an immense amount of courage.

If you never ask for help, not even from the people you’re closest to (like your partner, best friends, siblings, or parents), it could be coming from a place of shame.

According to experts, when someone refuses to ask for help (or accept it), it’s because they fear rejection and ridicule. And they also feel unworthy of help.

But people with high self-worth know they can be strong, independent people – and still need help from others at times.

3) Making fun of yourself all the time

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Another thing you might do when you lack self-worth is make fun of yourself all the damn time!

It’s good to not take yourself too seriously and be able to laugh at yourself on occasion.

But consistently engaging in self-deprecating humor isn’t good for you in the long run – especially if it becomes a reflex (according to experts).

When saying something self-deprecating is an instinct – or if you self-deprecate even when you’re alone – your jokes aren’t good for you anymore.

Because constantly speaking to yourself in a way that puts you down can gradually become a belief, even if it started as a joke – according to experts.

Which can slowly chip away at your self-worth over time.

4) Letting people overstep your boundaries

Talk about having boundaries is a relatively new term. And the awareness of “boundaries” is becoming greater and greater in recent years.

And that’s because having boundaries is one of the best ways to build your self-worth.

Essentially, when you have boundaries that you stick by, you’re looking after yourself and your own needs.

You know what’s right for you and you don’t do things that will make you feel bad because others want you to (to an extent, anyway).

Like if a friend is always asking to borrow money and you don’t want to lend them it.

But you keep lending them money anyway and saying yes every time they ask – because you don’t want to say no.

Unfortunately, this example is someone overstepping your boundaries (and you letting them).

And while it’s an easy habit to get into, it doesn’t make you feel good and negatively impacts your self-worth over time.

5) Agreeing with everyone to “keep the peace”

I used to do this a lot when I was a teenager in school. I didn’t want to have arguments with people or fall out with them.

So, even if they said or did things I didn’t agree with, I’d go along with them.

Just so I didn’t have to speak up (and fear them turning against me for it).

And really, it was because I wasn’t sure if they would still be my friend or boyfriend if I challenged them or disagreed with their opinions.

Which was a clear sign that I lacked the self-worth to know that if someone doesn’t want to be my friend anymore because of a small difference of opinion, then they’re probably not a good friend anyway.

6) Disregarding people’s compliments

How do you respond when someone compliments you? Do you accept it and say, “Thank you!”?

Or do you disregard it entirely?

It’s an easy habit to get into. But when someone pays you a compliment and you brush it off by saying:

  • No, I don’t!
  • No, I’m not!
  • What – this old thing?
  • But I look terrible!
  • Oh, you’re a good liar!

…or anything remotely like that, then it’s possible you lack self-worth deep down.

When you have confidence in yourself, you can easily accept other people’s compliments – because you believe them.

If they say your dress is nice, you know your dress is nice, so you say a grateful, “Thanks!”.

If they tell you, “You look good” – you appreciate what they say.

Because you don’t need their validation (as you get it from yourself when you have high self-worth). But you’ll happily accept the compliment for what it is.

7) Being very sensitive to criticism (even when it’s constructive)

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Unfortunately, the saying, “Truth hurts” exists for a reason.

Sometimes, the truth doesn’t feel great. And if someone “tells you how it is”, it can be hard to accept what they say if it doesn’t make you feel good.

When you’ve got confidence and a strong belief in yourself, you can take people’s criticism on the head.

You’re not overly sensitive to it. And you don’t lash out when people criticize you.

I remember when I first started working a corporate job, I used to get very upset whenever my boss gave me feedback on my performance.

It was only over time (when my self-worth grew) that I learned that criticism wasn’t a personal attack.

It was feedback. And sometimes I could take that feedback with a grain of salt. Because I knew my own worth and that I was better than what they thought.

While other times I could use it to help me do a better job.

Because everyone is still learning every day – and having a growth mindset is part and parcel of having self-confidence.

Final thoughts

If many of these habits sound familiar to you, don’t beat yourself up too much about it. Life is tricky and there’s no rulebook on how to live your best life.

But if you’ve been feeling like something’s holding you back (and you’re not sure what), hopefully, you’ve found what it is from the habits on this list.

Recognizing what behaviors you want to change is the first step to turn your life around.

And the next step? Making a plan that’s realistic and manageable to change things – one step at a time – so you can start reaching your full potential in life in no time!

Picture of Amy Reed

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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