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10 Signs of Low Self-esteem


Self-esteem can be a hard thing to define. Essentially though, self-esteem is our belief in ourselves. Do you believe that you deserve love? Do you value your own opinions? Do you believe that you are worthwhile? These beliefs will affect how you interact with the world, how others perceive you, and how you are treated by other people. Low self-esteem can have a very detrimental effect on all aspects of your life.


Do I Have Low Self-Esteem?

So how do you know if you have low self-esteem? If you examine how you think about yourself and how you act with others, you’ll be able to get a pretty good idea of what level your self-esteem is. I’ve made a list of 10 signs and here they are:


1. Self-care. Do you take care of yourself and your needs? Do you eat when you’re hungry? Get enough sleep? Do you give yourself time off to rejuvenate when you need it? If you have low self-esteem and don’t value yourself, you won’t take very good care of your needs, even some of the basic ones.


2. Making Comparisons. Do you walk through life comparing yourself to others? People with low self-esteem lack confidence in themselves and so tend to compare themselves to the people around them. Of course, we all can do this at times, but do you find yourself frequently doing so? If you do, this can be a sign of low self-esteem.


3. Negative self-talk. Do you find yourself frequently putting yourself down? Insulting yourself? Making jokes at your expense? Are you overly harsh with yourself after you’ve made a mistake? Is it hard to say or even think positive things about yourself?


4. Feeling in Control. Do you feel in control of your life? Do you feel like no matter what you do, you don’t have control over your life getting any better, or over what happens to you? Does it feel like sources outside of you control more of your life than you do, such as luck, prejudice, a bad boss, or bias? This is what is called an external locus of control and really is related to a low sense of self-esteem. It can lead to lots of self-sabotaging behavior which results in a self-fulfilling prophesy situation.



5. You have a pattern of people pleasing. You have trouble saying no to people. You always put others’ needs in front of your own. This teaches people that you aren’t important and that they can treat you carelessly.


6. Do you have trouble accepting compliments? This can be a reflection of how you feel about yourself and your low sense of self-worth. Do you deflect compliments? Or downplay them? Do you disbelieve what you’re being told is true? Learning to accept compliments can conversely help to build your self-esteem!



7. You have poor boundaries with others. This can be either a lack of boundaries or holding rigid boundaries.


8. You have a fear of failure. People who are confident and have high self-esteem can make mistakes and learn from them without taking failure as a sign of their intrinsic unworthiness. However, if you have low self-esteem, you might see mistakes and failures as proof that you aren’t good enough and that you never will be.



9. Difficulty standing up for yourself. Are you unable to assert yourself and behave in a passive manner? Do you allow others to speak for you? Make decisions for you? Again, this tells people that you aren’t worth anything and that your opinion and your time are less important than theirs.


10. You apologize or accept the blame for things you aren’t at fault for. If it’s not your fault, then there’s no reason for you to take the blame.



What to Do to Help

I think one of the most helpful things you can do to help build up your self-esteem is to set small goals for yourself and keep at it until you reach those goals. After you’ve met the goal, make sure you notice what you have accomplished and praise yourself. This will help you to feel better about yourself, raise your belief that you can accomplish what you want to, and build a more internal locus of control (the feeling that you do have control over the outcome of your life and that it can become better). It may take some time, but I think you’ll find it to be worthwhile.


What Goals Should I Set?

If you look at the list above, you can make goals based on the bullet points that speak to you. For instance, if you really see yourself in #6 and have trouble accepting compliments, set a goal of learning to graciously accept compliments. Or for #1, you might want to set a goal to start eating at least one meal a day that is healthy and nutritious.



If you want some help improving your self-esteem and would like some self-esteem counseling, please click the link! I’d love to hear from you.

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