The lack of confidence is becoming widespread in our society. Self-esteem is how we measure our personal value and self-worth. It’s the way we evaluate our traits and capabilities (both negative and positive) and project them onto the world.
Usually, it is easy to spot individuals with high or low self-esteem as the signs are quite visible and include posture, social skills, anxiety, self-care, etc. In this article, I have laid down more than forty indications of low self-esteem that I believe will be helpful for everyone.
People with high self-esteem are easy-going, take more risks, and are open to learning and improving themselves. They have a pretty good idea of their strengths and have a strong individuality. It is not a surprise that women are attracted to people with high self-esteem, sometimes even despite their looks. In fact, you can become more attractive without changing anything in your appearance, just by building a higher level of self-esteem.
Alternatively, those with low self-esteem are not very successful in their relationships, work, or school. We all prefer talking with people who don’t pretend to be someone else and are well-grounded and self-aware. In this two-part article, you will be able to discover both common and uncommon signs of a lack of confidence and learn to combat them.
What does fear of criticism tells us about ourselves? We must dive deeper each time we find out we have a fear, insecurity, or some other personal issue to better understand where it’s coming from.
Very often people with low self-esteem will have difficulties accepting any feedback from others. Even friends and family will feel our anger if they dare to criticize how we look, think, or act. So why do we almost always refuse to listen to others’ opinions about us?
The answer lies in our inability to face the issues we have. Instead of focusing on what people are criticizing, we choose to run, hide, or attack. The mind does not want to face the problem; it wants to hide from it. It’s less complicated to ignore something even if we understand it’s hurting us.
We do it with smoking, addictions, procrastination, relationships. If anybody tries to give us advice or point out what we are doing wrong, our first reaction is to argue and attack. It is not easy to admit your problems, but it’s the only way to find a solution.
A key element here is knowing yourself and being more aware of your thoughts. In moments when you’re alone and calm, begin to look back at your past and analyze it. When was the last time you had a disagreement with somebody? How did you handle it? Were you objective?
Those are not easy questions to answer, but they are crucial. You must distinguish between moments when you’re arguing because you can’t confess the truth, and moments when you are defending your opinions. If you have low self-esteem, chances are that you fight a lot with people, you disagree with them, and you don’t take criticism lightly.
Folks with low self-esteem are not happy with who they are and they cannot express self-love. For this reason alone, they desperately need others’ love and recognition. If you are constantly looking for appreciation and acknowledgement from your peers, then you might have a problem.
Ask yourself, why isn’t your own satisfaction enough when you know you’ve done a good job at school or work? Why do you need others’ positive feedback to feel fulfilled? It won’t be easy to admit, but it’s very likely that you suffer from low self-esteem.
You look at yourself and search for the core reason for this issue. Maybe your parents were too demanding, or maybe everyone had extremely high expectations of you. The cause could also be that you were always told as a child you weren’t good enough — that you didn’t live up to your potential.
Such experiences in our childhood could damage our psyche in a way that causes us to always seek approval and recognition. It forces the mind to develop low self-esteem and be unable to accurately measure our accomplishments.
This point goes hand in hand with the fear of criticism. Confident and self-aware people can hardly be offended. They know what they are worth and will accept and evaluate any criticism without being offended.
People with low self-esteem will easily get hurt and upset when they face any negativity or insult. If a person is in no doubt of their skills, capabilities, and worth, he or she will not get truly offended.
This happens when a person is in denial of their true self and is trying to cover up their insecurities. If you have low self-esteem, you are probably very sensitive, difficult to talk to, and become irritated very quickly.
The problem may have started in early childhood, and certain situations in life can bring back painful memories that cause us to feel offended. Always take a step back and see the other person’s intentions without viewing their words or actions through your prejudice.
A lot of what you think is offensive is, in reality, your inability to deal with it. There are seven billion people on this planet. Most of them will not agree with you, they won’t like you, and may even think you’re an idiot. Why should it bother you if your opinion differs? And if you believe some of them are speaking the truth, then it’s time to work on your low self-esteem and improve it.
If you are asocial, meaning you don’t enjoy or want the company of others, it could be due to having low self-esteem. Let’s examine further.
If you are withdrawn from society, purposely or involuntarily, you need to consider the possibility that you are afraid of people’s opinions of you. Other reasons may be the lack of confidence, past experience, or trauma.
Most asocial people are very vulnerable and a good way for them to deal with this is to avoid others. If someone is not near you, they can’t hurt you. But this tactic can cause a lot of serious mental issues and loneliness because humans are social creatures. We need the attention of others to feel happy.
I’ve talked about this in my book. True happiness comes when a person has a purpose. Money, fame, and comfort can only improve your life, but they cannot make it meaningful. This is what asocial people are lacking and this is one of the reasons they avoid human contact.
This is a good example of low self-esteem and self-sabotaging behavior. We think pleasing people is the key to receiving their admiration and recognition. Funnily enough, this strategy can only lead to the exact opposite – people will think we are needy and indecisive.
What makes others respect you is the ability to stand up for yourself and be genuine. You don’t have to agree with everything your friends and family have to say for you to love and value them.
However, when people have low self-esteem they find pleasing others the only way to get a sense of fulfilment and recognition. Unfortunately, most people who interact with you will quickly realize what you’re doing and they will take advantage of you.
The time you waste trying to please others is much better spent working on your personal development and becoming a person who doesn’t need to please anyone.
It’s so funny how a lot of us fail to do the very thing that can easily boost our confidence – improving our appearance, style, clothes, etc. If you think that you aren’t attractive or people don’t like the way you dress and this makes you feel miserable, then change something.
Why do you want to make things even worse by neglecting the care of your skin, body, and style? Don’t shoot yourself in the foot; understand that the way you look can significantly improve your low self-esteem.
We can all take good care of our skin, hair, scent, nails, and beards, for example, without spending a lot of money. A lot of people with low self-esteem will sabotage themselves and make their lives much harder.
They will refuse to do regular grooming, won’t shower very often, their hair will be a mess, they’ll wear dirty clothes that often don’t fit them well, and so on. When was the last time you flossed, trimmed your beard, or shaved? If it wasn’t yesterday, then you are neglecting your appearance.
People with a lot of friends are social, open-minded, and confident. Your environment, age, and social status can all affect the number of friends you have, but other than that, you don’t have an excuse.
Almost all the people I know who have no, or just a few, friends, have problems with low self-esteem. It’s only natural to avoid making strong bonds with people if you have such personal issues. Friends can judge you, disagree with you, disappoint you, lie to you, betray you, cheat on you, ignore you, or offend you. Those are all things that a person with no confidence cannot handle. How do you prevent it from happening? Well, the person lacking confidence will have fewer friends and no meaningful relationships with people.
Learn to accept opinions that differ from yours and allow yourself to be vulnerable. The benefits outweigh the risks.
If you are a guy who is around men all the time, you cannot get a good perspective on life and on yourself. You need to communicate with both men and women to be able to understand the differences between them.
When men avoid having female friends, they are simply afraid of their different view on life. They are also scared of being judged and rejected. If you believe you’re unattractive and women are not interested in you, you have low self-esteem.
Notice how I used “believe,” instead of “are” in the previous sentence. Whether you think you are handsome or hideous, those are only beliefs. It’s your interpretation of how you see yourself, and it’s not necessarily how others will see you.
Men are especially afraid to hear negative feedback from women because as men, we all seek the female’s appreciation and affection. Remember that having female friends will help a lot with boosting your confidence and improve your dating and pickup skills.
Loneliness is one of the biggest problems the modern human can experience. Feeling lonely is an evolutionary process established to stimulate us to pay more attention to our social circles.
It functions as a shield against becoming isolated and careless with our social bonds. Simply put, loneliness is an incentive to connect with others. It’s a reminder to go out and be more social.
Unfortunately, when we have low self-esteem, we choose loneliness as a protection from the outside world. The problem is that for many people loneliness is the only way for them to feel safe, but at the same time, they miss being around people and friends.
Don’t try to hide it, and don’t pretend everything is okay. There is no shame in sharing your feelings or asking for help. Oftentimes, undergoing therapy is the most effective way to combat this feeling.
People with addictions usually have them because they are either running from something or cannot deal with certain problems. In both cases, we are trying to avoid something we don’t want to face with the help of drugs, alcohol, or medications.
However, people can also be addicted to video games, movies and TV shows, sex, electronics, lying, even personal development. A lot of the times those addictions are a way to cover our low self-esteem.
If you need different compounds and substances to deal with everyday life, your thoughts and emotions, you need to address the issue. As I’ve said, it’s often because of the lack of confidence, but the reasons for your addiction could be many.
You know yourself best, and if you focus and spend time working on this, you will discover the core issue. Only then can you begin the process of correcting this behavior.
What do successful, attractive, and confident people have in common? They all possess self-discipline. It’s close to impossible to live a fulfilled life without being dedicated, well-organized, and disciplined. This applies to both mental and actual physical self-control.
If you have ever wondered why you always sleep late, you can’t find a good job, and your house is a complete mess, it could be your low self-esteem. People who lack confidence tend to be lazier and ignore performing basic and easy tasks that can improve their lives.
Unfortunately, the only way to deal with this is by doing all the things you’ve been ignoring. Breaking those habits requires strong will and commitment—something very difficult for disorderly people.
Keep in mind that when you start being more disciplined, your confidence will follow. The act of completing any task will always make us more confident and fulfilled. Even reading this whole article should make you proud because sixty percent of readers won’t ever get to the end. Doing this is an excellent first step toward being disciplined. Finish what you have started!
People with low self-esteem lie for various reasons. Sometimes it’s to hide something they are embarrassed by or to appear more confident or capable than they really are. As I already mentioned, lying can become an addiction.
It is possible that someone with low self-esteem can create a false personality in order to impress others. When a person lacks confidence, he will find many ways to hide it and distort the truth.
We lie about how much money we make, how happy we are, etc. Social media plays a significant role in this process because it makes it easier for people to pretend and simulate happiness and success.
Low self-esteem causes people to lie in their relationships, lie to their friends and family, and engage in manipulative behaviors. If you are doing any of these, you must begin to examine your thoughts and actions and develop a stronger self-awareness.
Exaggerating is the best friend of liars and also of people with low self-esteem who are trying to paint a better picture of themselves. We often exaggerate when we feel insecure or we seek more attention and approval.
It’s a way for people to demonstrate traits or things they don’t actually possess. When people crave recognition from their peers, they will often tell stories and exaggerate facts to try and impress their audience.
Many of us who struggle with low self-esteem go down that road. We think that people want to hear how well we did at work, how great our lives are, and how successful we are. We might feel great for a short time, but in the long run, exaggerating will cause us only suffering and disappointment.
It will make us feel the lack of confidence even more and affect our performance in every aspect of life. Avoid lies and exaggeration and learn to be okay with who you are and love yourself. This is the key.
If you are afraid to share your opinion with your friends, co-workers, or family, it could be due to a lack of confidence. In most cases, introverts avoid speaking their minds because they are terrified that someone may not agree with them.
This is a big sign that you suffer from low self-esteem. If you are always a passive listener, no one will acknowledge you. You need to speak your mind more often and deal with the consequences.
If you never face adversities in your life, you cannot grow. If you don’t speak your mind, then you will fail in other aspects of human interactions that are more difficult. Start slowly, and do it politely. The next time you don’t agree with someone, say what’s on your mind and stay calm.
Rarely, someone will get mad at you. The worst that can happen is engaging in a heated argument, but at least people will respect you for speaking your mind.
Remember that most things in life take time. If you want to achieve something great, you need to be prepared for hard work and have patience. The most incredible job on this earth is the creation of human life, and even that takes nine months.
Next time you quit after a week of doing exercise, or you give up trying to find a job after failing a few interviews, ask yourself the following: Did I spend enough time? Could it be that success requires more effort?
The answer is most certainly Yes. Everything depends on what your final goal is, how prepared you are, and your level of capability. If you want to be a graphic designer, but you only have experience in drawing, you should spend at least six months learning this new craft.
Always be aware of your learning process. Studying while you have Netflix, YouTube, or Messenger on is not the right way and you know it. Find a reason to boost your confidence by finishing what you’ve started. Anything is possible with enough dedication and time. I recommend reading the book Mastery by George Leonard available on Amazon. It is an excellent read on the subject, and you will understand precisely how much time mastery and success will take.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t make it yesterday; My apologies for not calling you; Excuse me for not finishing on time; Sorry I didn’t tell you about the meeting; I feel so bad for telling you all this.” Sounds familiar? We all make mistakes, but not every single one of our actions requires an apology.
I see this in a lot of people with low self-esteem. They need to apologize for everything, including breathing. This is not how you should live your life, and it will undeniably give others the wrong impression about you.
If you insult somebody, or you hurt their feelings, or you were rude to your friends or family, you should most certainly apologize. Be a gentleman and admit your mistakes. This is what confident people would do. But don’t let everyone push you around and expect you to say sorry for each move you make.
Many people with low self-esteem think that others are more successful than they are because of luck. They sit in their rooms and spend hundreds of hours complaining about being unlucky instead of chasing the very luck they want to have.
“Luck never gives, it only lends.” Luck has very little to do with your situation in life. You will never get fortunate if you don’t work hard and if you live your life without a purpose.
We get lucky only when we have spent enough time dealing with bad luck. You have to get used to hard luck and your hardships so you can appreciate your good fortune. Don’t bet everything on chance, and don’t wait for success to come knocking on your door.
If you are the type of person who sees others’ accomplishments as pure chance and luck, you need to reconsider this belief. Do you think that because you really believe it, or because it’s easier to blame luck for your lack of motivation and desire to pursue your goals?
It is possible that you had a rough time at school, or that your parents didn’t do a good job raising you, but you have full control over your life today. Will you do something about it, or blame the whole world for your suffering.?
When people blame someone else for their misfortunes, they are actually trying to hide something fundamental. They are trying to cover their lack of confidence which is the real reason for most of the sorrow they feel.
Low self-esteem comes in many forms and shapes and blame is one of them. Some people blame themselves for everything that happens to them, even things they have no control over. Others choose to go the opposite way and hold everyone else responsible.
Whatever the case may be with you, try to be more aware of your thoughts and actions. Remember that no one can truly hurt us if we don’t let them.
spot them? I used to act in the same fashion, and I couldn’t stand being without a girlfriend because I had very low self-esteem. I needed a woman in my life to feel loved and needed.
Thankfully, I quickly realized what was going on, and I took the necessary actions, focusing on personal development. Being around friends or lovers won’t cure our loneliness, and it will not make us more confident. Not in the long term, at least.
Of course, it’s nice to have a partner in life and enjoy their love and company, but this alone cannot make you happy. Happiness will come when we can look ourselves in the mirror and love what we see. People with low confidence cannot stand being alone for too long because there’s no one to praise them, or to tell them they matter.
This is why so many men act needy in front of women, and they start a relationship without being ready for one. A well-grounded person can appreciate the beauty of being alone, and he or she doesn’t need anyone’s approval to feel important and fulfilled.
Being able to deal with failure is crucial for your success. People who are afraid of it simply cannot move further in their development or achieve their dreams. Failure is nothing more than a learning process that teaches us how to do things by giving us negative feedback.
We failed countless times when we were kids, trying to walk and talk. Unfortunately, at some point in their lives, many people decided that failure is bad and they should avoid it at all costs. Especially if you have low self-esteem, you most likely fear failure.
People are afraid to try new things, approach women, make new friends, quit their job, move to a new place, and the list goes on. There isn’t a quick solution to those fears but taking baby steps towards change does help.
Remember that the only way for humans to learn and progress is by failing. Athletes fail, actors fail, doctors also fail. But, with a lot of disappointments comes the ability to avoid our previous mistakes and do much better in the future. Failure is healthy; embrace it.
Every one of us wants to be successful. We all want to have a career and feel recognized for our accomplishments. Many people, however, are not ready to be successful and they will self-sabotage each chance they get to reach their goals.
The reason why that happens is that, subconsciously, people with no confidence believe that success will bring them more misery. They think that people will envy them, try to hurt them, or say that they don’t deserve their success. It’s an actual issue for many people even though most of them don’t realize it.
This is one of those processes that takes place in our subconscious but influences almost everything that occurs in our lives. If you have ever thought that success could make you more miserable, ask yourself if you are a genuinely confident person who knows his worth.
Everyone should have their principles and stick to them without letting someone interfere with them. This includes the ability to say, “No,” or refuse to do something you don’t agree with. However, folks with low self-esteem tend to ignore their beliefs and values for the sake of being liked.
If you haven’t developed a strong, confident character, you have probably experienced difficulties saying no to people. I have friends who will go out with someone, or lend them money even though they have no desire to do it.
You can see how being unable to do that will make you easier to manipulate. Don’t let others take advantage of you and understand that respect comes when you stand your ground, not when you let people push you around.
Rejection can be painful, discouraging, and depressing. A lot of people cannot deal with it because of the same reason they can’t deal with failure. They think we only get one chance to impress someone, get hired for a job, or attract women.
Obviously, this is not true, but when you have low self-esteem your mind makes you feel as if being rejected is the end of the world. I’ve been denied many times in my life by girls, friends, and employers. I’ve been fired from work, and I was suspended from school.
However, these seemingly negative experiences made me a better person and boosted my confidence. Getting yourself into vulnerable situations can be the key you need to destroy your low self-esteem.
When you get rejected next time, try to see how, in fact, it doesn’t change your life in any way. You are still the same person, except now you know that the approach you used—to attract women, for example—wasn’t the right one. That’s a precious lesson. Use it to your advantage.
Here’s a fun fact: some people you meet in life will not like you. It may sound depressing, but it’s actually a good thing. The number of friends you have is not a measure of happiness, but the quality of those friends can certainly contribute to it. It’s better to have two good close friends than to have twenty who don’t really care about you that much.
So why do you care what anybody else thinks about you? Do not be ashamed of the way you dress, feel, or act. There will always be people who like and dislike your persona. If you worry too much about people’s opinions, then you may not have enough confidence.
Try to live your life the way you think you should, and let others have their own opinions. Don’t be bothered by it or take it as a criticism; acknowledge and dismiss it if you don’t agree with it. No one knows better than you how to live your life —not your parents, not your friends, and most certainly not the people you meet on the street.
I have another interesting fact I want you to remember and accept. There will always be people who are smarter, more qualified, and more attractive than you. After all, more than seven billion people live on this planet today, and it’s impossible to be better than each one in all aspects.
Don’t let your low self-esteem make you feel depressed or miserable about it. On the contrary, many people won’t measure up to you, and to many others, you will be attractive and capable.
The most important thing to remember is that the only person you need approval from is yourself. All those people you compare yourself to may be better than you today, but it doesn’t mean you cannot outshine them tomorrow.
No one’s abilities or skills came as a gift. You have to earn them with practice, effort, and dedication.
Part Two of this blog post can be found here. Let me know in the comments what other signs of low self-esteem you are aware of and share it with our community.