“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-brake on.” – Maxwell Maltz
Low self-esteem isn’t altogether uncommon. “People with low self-esteem tend to see the world as a hostile place and themselves as its victim. As a result, they are reluctant to express and assert themselves, miss out on experiences and opportunities, and feel powerless to change things. All this lowers their self-esteem still further, sucking them into a downward spiral,” says psychiatrist and author, Dr. Neel Burton.
Many people suffer from low self-esteem. Sometimes, the signs aren’t always obvious. However, there are many key signs and behaviors that expose low self-esteem in people. Whether you notice them in yourself, or notice them in other people, it’s important to know the telltale signs of low self-esteem.
Here Are 8 Behaviors Of People Who Have Low Self-Esteem
People who have low self-esteem are often indecisive. They have trouble making choices, and often spend more time than necessary deliberating over them. It could be something big or small. It doesn’t matter. Making a choice is difficult for people with low self-esteem, because to them, it feels like it doesn’t matter what they choose – The Universe is going to find a way to mess it up anyway.
“People with high self-esteem are decisive because they understand that their opinion is worth just as much as anyone else’s even if they are with high-profile people like the President of the United States,” says author Robert Chen.
2. Trouble being alone
People who have low self-esteem don’t like to spend time by themselves. This is usually due to the fact that they don’t like themselves very much. Instead, people with low self-esteem prefer to hang out with other people. The people that they surround themselves with are often used only to validate the person’s own feelings. If faced with spending time on their own, a person with low self-esteem will become very withdrawn.
3. Put others down
If someone doesn’t like themselves very much, then chances are they also won’t appreciate other people’s high self-esteem. According to study author Jeffrey Sherman, “When we feel bad about ourselves, we can denigrate other people, and that makes us feel better about ourselves.”
People who feel good about themselves are often targeted by someone with low self-esteem. These people tend to put others down more often than they lift them up. They always seem to have something sour to say in every conversation.
4. Fear of failure
People with low self-esteem don’t believe in themselves. This creates a fear of failure. They won’t even try to reach their goals or challenge themselves, because they don’t believe they are capable of it in the first place.
“Perfectionism is one of the more destructive aspects of low self-esteem. A perfectionist is someone who lives with a constant sense of failure because their achievements, no matter how impressive, don’t ever feel quite good enough,” says psychotherapist Christine Webber.
People with low self-esteem will often give up, because at least then they can control the outcome. They would rather be seen as quitters than failures.
5. Easily frustrated with mistakes
As humans, we all make mistakes. It’s just part of life. Most people are able to recognize a mistake and correct it, and then move on. However, people who have low self-esteem don’t have that ability. In fact, people with low self-esteem become easily frustrated with their mistakes. Mistakes consume them, and they can’t stop worrying over them. Instead of correcting them, they tend to lash out and avoid addressing them if at all possible.
6. Trouble saying “no”
A person with low self-esteem has trouble understanding that people will like them for who they are. Instead, they tend to try to find reasons for people to like them. Being a “yes man” is one of the ways that people with low self-esteem get people to like them.
They have trouble saying “no” to tasks or favors, because “I believe some of it comes from being nice and wanting to be helpful but a big part of it comes from wanting to please people,” adds Chen. Even when they are overworked and overwhelmed, someone with low self-esteem isn’t likely to say “no”.
“If you want to build your self-esteem, learn to say “no” when you really want to say “no”,” concludes Chen.
7. Always saying “I’m sorry”
Chances are, we all know someone in our life who is always saying, “I’m sorry” even if there’s nothing to be sorry about! People with low self-esteem are always trying to minimize the impact they have on people. They tend to apologize for speaking their mind, for talking about their emotions, or even asking for a favor.
“When a person feels worthless, they can start to show poor performance or stop trying to achieve in areas in which they feel defeated: academically, professionally, or personally,” says psychologist and author Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.
8. Seeking reassurance
Everyone needs to be reassured once in a while. It’s a good way to get a reality check. However, people who have low self-esteem are constantly seeking reassurance from other people. They need to make sure their friends and family care about them. They also seek reassurance for their own thoughts, often asking if something they say, or feel, is appropriate.
Here Are 5 Ways To Improve Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem is something that a lot of people go through at some point in their life. But, it isn’t a permanent state of being. Recognizing these behaviors as stemming from low self-esteem is the first step to improving it. Here are some ways to improve self-esteem.
1. Use positive self-talk
One of the ways to improve self-esteem is by using an internal voice that is kind and gentle. Imagine you were speaking to a loved one when you talk to yourself, and your internal dialogue will be much more positive.
“Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself. You are, after all, a miracle of consciousness, the consciousness of the universe,” says Dr. Burton.
2. Utilize self-care
Taking care of yourself is a good way to boost your self-esteem. “Activities like painting, music, poetry, and dance enable you to express yourself, interact positively with others, and reduce your stress levels. You might even impress yourself!” adds Dr. Burton.
Take time out of your day to unwind, relax and be kind to yourself. Do something that makes you feel good every day.
3. Learn from mistakes
Instead of hiding from mistakes, embrace them. Learn what went wrong and make a plan of action for next time.
4. Find a support system
“Tell your friends and relatives what you are going through and ask for their advice and support. Don’t be overly shy or reserved: most people do want to help,” adds Dr. Burton. Take the time to connect with your friends and family. A support system is always useful when trying to overcome low self-esteem.
5. Learn to forgive
Self-esteem can be greatly impacted by holding onto grudges. Learn to forgive for your own peace of mind, and for your self-esteem. “No one is ever all good or all bad. Doing something you regret doesn’t make you an awful person, just as doing something good doesn’t make you a saint,” adds Webber.