Underestimating yourself can make you miss out on rare opportunities in life because of self-doubt. Self-doubt and low self-esteem cause you to withdraw from life in general, and this can lead to depression and other serious mental health problems.

When you underestimate your worth, other people will only see what you see. Therefore, your relationships with others will suffer just because of how you see yourself. After all, you can only attract into your life that which you put out into the universe.

Selling yourself short will only result in more problems in your life, because you won’t feel worthy of anything. You have to remember your worth in life to get anywhere, so if you have been feeling less than stellar lately, read on to find out if you underestimate yourself.

Here are 10 signs you don’t know your own worth or underestimate yourself:

“Don’t underestimate your worth by comparing yourself with others.” – Jaachynma N.E. Agu

  1. You have toxic friendships and relationships.

When you have negative relationships with other people, they will start to rub off on you. After all, negativity is contagious, and when you’re around it often, it becomes difficult to maintain a positive outlook on life. If you underestimate yourself, you’ll likely have poor relationships with others because you can’t give yourself fully to other people.

In other words, you don’t know your true value, so others won’t see it either.

You attract people into your life that match your own energy and vibration, so it would only make sense that if you have low self-worth, you will have relationships that mirror that self-image. Try some positive self-talk in order to boost your self-esteem, because our thoughts become reality, after all.

  1. You play the comparison game a lot.

“If you compare yourself with others,

you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself”

— Excerpt from Desiderata (Max Ehrmann)

By default, comparing yourself to others and drawing negative conclusions about yourself means you underestimate yourself. To show how destructive the habit of comparison is, we’ll go over a study from Lancaster University. It involves comparing yourself to others on social media and how this can lead to feelings of depression.

Researchers from Lancaster University analyzed studies from 14 countries that included 35,000 participants over the age of 15. They discovered that frequent Facebook users tended to compare themselves with others more, which can result in intrusive, repetitive thoughts. This can result in feelings of depression, exacerbated by the loneliness many people feel who frequent social media.

Furthermore, the study found that feeling jealous of Facebook friends or adding an ex to your friends list can increase feelings of depression. Not surprisingly, the study also discovered that posting negative status updates and making negative social comparisons increased the risk of depression in participants.

So, comparing yourself to others not only points to low self-worth; it also heightens your risk of developing depression.

  1. If you don’t know your self-worth, you let your friends or family greatly influence your decisions.

While friends and family usually have well-intentioned opinions about your life, you might allow them to weigh too heavily in your decisions. People who frequently allow others to dictate their choices usually underestimate themselves, because they think they’re incapable of making the right choice.

This only leads to a more damaged self-image, because the person doesn’t trust him or herself enough to go through with a decision on their own.

  1. You have low self-esteem.

Typical signs of low self-esteem are:

  • Sensitivity to criticism
  • Isolating oneself
  • Irritability or hostility
  • Fixation on personal problems
  • Physical symptoms (fatigue, insomnia, headaches, etc.)
  • Poor self-image
  • Negative thoughts about oneself
  • Feelings of worthlessness and depression
  • Intense self-criticism after failure

Research shows that, in adolescents, low self-esteem can lead to serious problems and illnesses such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, violent behavior, and even suicide. However, low self-esteem isn’t just a teenage problem; it can carry over into adulthood if behaviors and thoughts aren’t corrected.

If you have low self-esteem, you underestimate yourself, and it may not be entirely your fault. Genetics and upbringing have a huge role to play in our self-image. If you struggle with poor self-image, talk to a licensed therapist or psychologist who can help you work through those issues and overcome them.

  1. You settle for less than you deserve.

Unfortunately, many people do this, and it only hurts them in the long run. If you settle for less, then you exclude many amazing opportunities just because you don’t recognize your own worth. If you have a feeling in your gut that something in your life doesn’t feel right, it might be because you underestimate yourself and write off better opportunities.

When you settle for less in life, you might feel comfortable, but you probably don’t feel happy. Not knowing your worth can make you seek out what seems easier, but not necessarily what will help you grow.

The number one reason people settle for less? Fear.

Fear makes people do a lot of things they wouldn’t normally do, because in our minds, the fear is totally rational. For example, when it comes to staying in a bad relationship vs. being single, many people choose the former because they just don’t want to be alone.

This can apply to a lot of different circumstances and situations in life. Many people settle for a job they hate just because it pays the bills and they don’t think they deserve better. Or, they might not ask for a raise in a job they actually do like because they don’t feel worthy of receiving higher payment.

Do you see how self-destructive and limiting underestimating yourself can be? It robs you of meaningful experiences and progression in life and puts you in a state of complacency.

  1. When you underestimate yourself, you have trouble making decisions.

If you don’t have high self-esteem, then you probably have difficulty making decisions on your own. As we mentioned earlier, you might rely too heavily on friends and family to help you make choices in life, which can lead to dependency issues.

You might not feel confident enough to make the right choice by yourself, leading you to give up that responsibility and place it on someone else. Maybe those people don’t mind giving their opinion, but ultimately, you cannot grow if you use others as a crutch in life. It’s okay to allow others to help you, but doing so too often may point to low self-worth.

  1. You don’t like being on your own.

If you’re underestimating yourself, then you probably don’t enjoy your own company too much. Being alone feels scarier for some people than being in a crowd, because when you’re alone, you finally have to face yourself. Most people spend their life running from themselves instead of learning to feel comfortable in their own skin.

If you don’t like being alone, ask yourself why and consider that you might need to develop a better relationship with yourself.

  1. You fear failure.

This is one of the most common fears, and it’s easy to see why. Humans are hardwired to achieve and win, because in nature, this meant survival. Our instincts haven’t disappeared now that we live in modern society, however.

underestimating yourself

We still have that core desire to be better than others and to prove that we can do something. As a result, failure doesn’t come easily to most of us. If you have an intense fear of it, however, you may dislike the feelings of shame that accompany failing. Maybe your parents gave you a hard time when you didn’t succeed, and that feeling stuck with you. Maybe you were bullied in school because of your performance on something, which led to built-up hatred and embarrassment.

Whatever the reason, an intense fear of failure may be a sign you underestimate yourself.

  1. If you’re underestimating yourself, you probably need frequent reassurance.

Not only do those with low self-esteem rely too heavily on others to influence their decisions, they might have a reliance on them to boost their self-worth as well. People with high self-confidence don’t need other people to assure them as much because they already value themselves. However, those with self-esteem issues tend to need more reassurance.

  1. You play it safe in life.

If you don’t take opportunities that come your way, this points to you underestimating yourself. Playing it safe means you’d rather sit on the sidelines and take whatever comes your way rather than going out and getting it yourself. This only results in having fewer options in the long run.

Final thoughts

Underestimating yourself can cause a lot of personal issues in life, as you’ve likely learned. Hopefully you can spot these signs in yourself or others so you can start addressing these problems and live your best life possible.

Everyone deserves to have high self-esteem, because no one on this planet is less worthy than someone else. We all are on an equal playing field here, so don’t ever doubt yourself, even if society wants you to do so. A lot of companies and people profit off our self-doubt in some way, so don’t give them the time of day. Instead, spend your time and money on positive thinking and other things that boost your self-esteem.