11 things you don’t realize you’re doing because you have low self-esteem

We often talk about the things we do when we’re feeling on top of the world, don’t we?

But what about the things we do when we’re not feeling our best?

Believe it or not, some of our daily actions might be showing that we have low self-esteem without us even realizing it.

Let’s uncover those hidden signs of low self-esteem that might be lurking in your day-to-day life — and who knows? You just might find out something new about yourself.

1) Saying “sorry” too much

Ever find yourself apologizing all the time, even when there’s no real need to do so?

It might seem like you’re just being super polite and considerate, but over-apologizing could be a sign of low self-esteem.

When we constantly say sorry, it’s often because we’re trying to keep the peace or avoid any possible conflict. We might feel like we’re stepping on toes or causing inconvenience even when we’re not.

If this sounds like you, remember that it’s okay to take up space and voice your opinions. You matter — and your feelings are important, too!

2) You’re a people pleaser

Are you always going out of your way to make others happy, even at the cost of your own happiness or comfort? That’s classic people-pleaser behavior and it can be a sign of low self-esteem.

When we constantly try to please others, we might be seeking validation or approval because we don’t feel good enough about ourselves.

If this rings a bell, remember that you can’t please everyone all the time. It’s okay (and important!) to prioritize your needs and wants too. Your happiness matters!

3) You don’t accept compliments easily

This is something I’ve struggled with myself. Whenever someone would compliment me, I would quickly dismiss it or try to downplay my achievement.

Instead of just saying “thank you,” I’d come up with an excuse or reason why I didn’t really deserve the praise.

This can be a clear sign of low self-esteem. Not accepting compliments easily often stems from a place of not believing in our own worth.

If you find yourself doing this, try to practice accepting compliments graciously. Remember, it’s okay to feel proud of your accomplishments and to let others acknowledge them too.

4) You’re overly critical of yourself

Constant self-criticism can be a definite sign of low self-esteem. If you’re always beating yourself up over the smallest mistakes or failures, it might be time to reassess how you view yourself.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, individuals with low self-esteem, in the long run, tend to be more depressed. In extreme cases, it can even lead to substance abuse and alcoholism. 

If you find yourself being too hard on yourself, remember that everyone makes mistakes. And if you need it, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It’s all part of being human!

5) You compare yourself to others

In this age of social media, it’s easy to look at other people’s lives and feel like we don’t measure up. We see their achievements, their picture-perfect moments, and suddenly our own lives seem less impressive.

But here’s the thing: Comparing ourselves to others can be a sign of low self-esteem. It suggests that we’re measuring our worth based on how we stack up against others, rather than recognizing our own unique value.

If you’re doing this, remember that everyone’s journey is different. We all have our own strengths, our own challenges, and our own pace.

Your value does not decrease based on someone else’s success. So next time you find yourself comparing, try to shift your focus back to your own path.

Celebrate your progress, cherish your journey, and remember that you are enough just as you are.

6) You struggle with decision making

I’ve been there myself — whether it was deciding what to eat for dinner or making a major life decision, I would often second-guess myself. I’d spend hours weighing the pros and cons, worrying about making the “wrong” choice.

This struggle with decision making can actually be a sign of low self-esteem. It often stems from a fear of making mistakes or disappointing others.

If you find yourself in this situation, remember that it’s okay to trust your judgment and make decisions for yourself.

Not every choice has to be perfect – it’s all about learning and growing along the way!

7) You’re always putting yourself down

youre lonely in life 11 things you don’t realize you’re doing because you have low self-esteem

Let’s face it, we can be our own worst critics sometimes.

If you find yourself constantly putting yourself down or belittling your own achievements, that’s a classic sign of low self-esteem.

It’s like there’s this little voice inside your head, always telling you that you’re not good enough or smart enough or talented enough. It’s brutal, and it can really take a toll on how you see yourself.

If this sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone. And more importantly, know that this negative voice in your head is lying to you.

You are good enough. You are smart enough. You are talented enough. You are more than enough, just as you are.

It can take time to quiet that negative voice, but every step towards self-love and self-acceptance is a step in the right direction.

8) You’re always nervous about what others think of you

If you constantly worry about what others think of you, it can be a sign of low self-esteem. This often comes from a fear of judgment or rejection.

People tend to overestimate how much others are thinking about them, and it’s an actual phenomenon known as the ‘spotlight effect’.

If you find that this resonates with you, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got nothing to worry about. In reality, people are generally more focused on themselves and their own actions.

So, if you find yourself constantly worrying about others’ opinions, try to remind yourself that you’re likely your own toughest critic. What matters most is how you feel about yourself!

9) You avoid taking risks

I used to avoid taking risks at all costs. Whether it was trying a new hobby, applying for a job, or just speaking up in a group, I would hold myself back.

Why? Because I was scared of failing.

Avoiding risks can be a sign of low self-esteem. We fear failure because we worry it will confirm our negative beliefs about ourselves.

If you can relate to this, remember that failure is not a reflection of your worth. It’s just a part of life and a chance to learn and grow.

So, go ahead and take that leap of faith. You might surprise yourself with what you’re capable of!

10) You don’t speak up

If you find yourself staying silent in conversations, even when you have something to say, it can be a sign of low self-esteem. Maybe you’re worried your opinion isn’t valuable, or that you’ll say something wrong and be judged.

But here’s the truth: Your voice matters. Your opinions are valid. And yes, sometimes people might disagree or misunderstand, but that’s okay. It’s better to express yourself honestly than to hold back out of fear.

11) You neglect self-care

When we think lowly of ourselves, we often neglect our own needs.

We might skip meals, not get enough sleep, or ignore our mental health.

It’s almost like we’re punishing ourselves.

This is a hard pill to swallow but if you’re doing this, please remember: You deserve to be taken care of. You deserve rest, nourishment, and attention, just like anyone else.

Taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Final thoughts

Low self-esteem can be a heavy burden to carry. But recognizing these signs is the first step towards overcoming it. It can be a tough journey, but remember – you’re worth it!

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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