7 Signs of Low Self Esteem That Most People Overlook

A woman who’s showing signs of low self-esteem leaning against the wall as she looks out the window looking resigned.

You might think you’re actually a confident person, but the thing about low self-esteem is that it can show up in so many ways, you might not even realize it’s there.

Things like your body language, the way you make decisions, and the people you choose to spend time with can speak volumes about how you really feel about yourself.

It’s also important to realize that low self-esteem isn’t simply your personality—nobody is born feeling insecure about themselves. It’s a problem, and there are real solutions to it. And it’s important you address it, because it can have negative effects on your own health, your career, your relationships, and your general day to day happiness, too.

Here are some signs of low self-esteem that most people overlook:

1.Saying sorry all the time.
Are you that person who apologizes for things, even when you’ve got nothing to apologize for? Maybe when someone bumps into you on the street, for example.

This might be because deep down, you genuinely believe that anything that goes wrong is somehow your fault, or you simply existing is getting in the way of other people living their lives. This has close connections to a poor sense of self-worth.

Next time you notice yourself apologizing, remind yourself that you haven’t done anything wrong, and remember to make a conscious effort next time to act differently.

2. You can’t take a compliment.
Some of us can’t help but ruin the gift of someone else paying us a genuine compliment, by laughing it off, or disagreeing with them instantly, or pointing out one of our flaws to balance it out.

Why do we do this? You can thank low self-esteem for that again.

Practice just saying a simple “thank you,” and owning that you really are an awesome human being—and that your awesomeness deserves to be celebrated.

3. You struggle making small decisions.
This is one of the less obvious signs. Do you find you can never agree on what to have for dinner, and you always push it back onto the other person you’re with? Or do you find that even when you make a decision, you end up changing your mind?

People with low self-esteem are known for having trouble making simple decisions, especially when it involves other people, because they don’t want to upset anyone.

But here’s the deal—it’s really not the end of the world if your partner tells you, “No, I don’t want lasagna tonight,” is it?

Make decisions that feel good to you, and worry less about people’s response to them.

4. You attribute all your success to luck.
Are you the kind of person who puts all your success or achievements down to being in the right place at the right time? Do you struggle to believe it when good things happen to you?

If the answer is yes, it’s probably because you don’t believe you’re truly worthy of these things. But the reality is, you probably worked really hard for the things you have, and the kind of person you’ve become. Spend a little more time thinking about that.

5. You leave straight after sex.
If you struggle to sleep over after sex, and find you want to go home straight away, it might be because deep down you don’t think that person will want to continue to spend time with you after having sex.

This is unworthiness rearing its ugly head once again. If you’re genuinely worried you’re going to outstay your welcome, have that conversation before you go over, and ask your date if they mind having someone sleepover.

If they don’t, then stay, and see what happens. It might be even better than the sex.

6. You hang out with people you hate.
If you find yourself inviting people to hang out who you can’t stand, it’s probably because you’re deeply concerned about other people’s opinions, and you also love to keep the peace.

It’s far easier for you to ignore what you don’t like about someone instead of confronting them or removing them from your life. But this is only going to frustrate you, and stop you from having difficult conversations in later life.  

Stop assuming that you’ll end up alone with no friends if you don’t invite that person you don’t get along with. Don’t invite them, and see what happens.

7. You use your phone as a crutch.
Have you ever been at a party then been left alone, or you’re in a group and the conversation drops, and you find yourself instinctively turning to your phone? This might be boredom, or awkwardness, or being afraid of starting a conversation because you don’t believe other people will want to hear what you have to say. These are all signs of low self-esteem.

How about next time you find someone else on their own, and go and chat to them? Or look out for someone you know, and go join them, instead of isolating yourself.  

All of these signs are subtle and many are things that lots of people do, even those who don’t struggle with low self-esteem. But if you notice you’re checking of a few too many of these boxes, think about how you approach situations and how you think of yourself. It may be time for you to re-evaluate your relationship with yourself and what it really means to you.

Shani Jay

Bestselling Author and Empowerment Coach

Shani is a bestselling author, empowerment coach for women, and self-love advocate. She is the author of Bloom, The Babe Bible, Glow Getter, and Light Up Your Life; and her writing has been featured on many internationally recognized platforms including The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and Teen Vogue.

​In 2016 Shani founded The Glow Getter Tribe – a self-love & kindness movement which helps young girls & women worldwide feel happy, confident and beautiful starting from the inside, out.

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