10 Signs You Have Low Self-Esteem

There are times when we all have low self-esteem. However, this is usually a blip, and our confidence soon rebounds, but what if you have chronic low self-esteem? What could be the reasons, and why might you be suffering from it.

This is part of my CBT resource Guide

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I decided to write this article based on my own experiences with low self-esteem and how I discovered my cause, and then I was able to rectify it. I can’t promise this article will do the same for you, but I hope it puts you on the right path to boosting your self-confidence and improving your outlook on life.

There are numerous signs of low-esteem, and maybe you have one of them, or you may have all of them, but they can be worked on individually and holistically.

At the end of the article, I’ll give you ways to improve upon your self-confidence and raise your perception of yourself to higher levels.

Signs You Have Low Self-Esteem

low self-esteem

Some of these signs might be of surprise to you, but they can all be worked on, and the effects lessened. There may be many reasons you have low esteem, they could stem from childhood trauma to your current life predicaments, but overall, there are ways to raise your self-esteem to give you a better life. But first, let’s look at the signs of low self-esteem.

1. Hostility

You would be surprised, but people with low self-esteem can be hostile towards others, as well as themselves. It is part of your defences. When someone criticises you or makes an off-hand remark, you may instantly go in for the attack.

When you are hostile, it will impact many areas of your life; you may get in trouble at work or college, especially if your work is likely to be criticised. You may find your home life is argumentative because of your hostile attitude, but understand it is a defence mechanism you have learned, and therefore you can unlearn it.

2. People Pleasing

On the opposite end of the scale is trying to please everyone you encounter; this is unhealthy as if you don’t please someone, you will knock your confidence even lower. You can’t please everyone all the time, and it would be exhausting trying to.

You may find you are too passive or a mixture of passive-aggressive; you could even end up turning yourself into a martyr because you have trouble saying no.

3. Withdrawing from Society

You could find yourself turning down invites from your friends or family because you feel a lack of confidence. You may be hibernating behind a facade of fake confidence, which only becomes evident when you are asked to do something or go somewhere.

If you are feeling low or possibly depressed, then socially distancing yourself from others may be starting to happen because you do not feel confident enough to go out and have fun, either based on how you feel, the way you look or that you are not worthy of enjoying yourself.

4. Lack of Self-Worth

You may feel as though nobody could love you, and if you are given praise, you might think it is superficial and not really truthful. This is accompanied by feelings of worthlessness.

You may seek to find gratification outside of yourself by throwing yourself into endless tasks or work; you might even devote your time to another and end up being treated like a doormat.

Lack of self-worth can show in many areas, but it can be addressed by bringing the attention back onto yourself, that person who resides in you who needs to feel strong.

5. Constantly Thinking About Yourself

There is a difference between self-love and thinking about your own needs constantly; you might be considered selfish among your peers by doing so. You may lack empathy when dealing with others as you are preoccupied with your own thoughts and feelings.

It might become evident when someone is talking to you, and you are thinking about what you will say next before they have even finished talking. Meaning you are not really listening.

6. Lack of Healthy Relationships

You may find your relationships are unhealthy and lack balance; the stronger your self-worth, the happier you will be, and low self-esteem can impact relationships to the point that you stay in an abusive relationship just to have somebody.

This is not healthy behaviour and can be resolved, albeit not quickly, but by creating confidence, things have to change; a confident person will only be involved in healthy relationships.

7. Bad Self Image

You might consider yourself to be fat and ugly or the most horrid person on the earth, when in fact, none of this is true. This can also result from depression, and you may need to consider if you are masking depression and what is emanating from these thoughts.

A poor self-image will result in low self-esteem; you may find you don’t like it when other people compliment you or when someone gives you praise.

8. Physical Symptoms

You may develop physical symptoms because of your low self-esteem; they could be an eating disorder, abusing alcohol or drugs, you may find you cannot give up smoking, or you start smoking. The physical and emotional symptoms could result in depression if your self-esteem is not addressed.

9. You Compare Yourself All The Time

You may find that you compare yourself to others and the resulting impact is your mind always tells you, you have come off worst. This will impact your confidence. It is imperative not to compare yourself with other people. You don’t know their background or what they do; they probably have problems you are unaware of.

It is ok to be inspired by another, but this needs to be addressed when you compare yourself to them in minute details.

10. Lack of Self-Expression

You could find that you would rather blend in than stand out for your own achievements, so you become very ‘vanilla’ and do nothing to draw attention to yourself. You may turn down opportunities you would love to do, but low self-esteem backs you into a corner where you say no when you should be saying yes.

Your fear could be out of others judging you, and then the result is you are not living the life you want to live. People pass judgements all the time; you cannot control this; denying your own life hurts nobody except yourself.

What Can You Do To Improve Your Self-Esteem?

woman without low self-esteem

1. Identify Your Negative Beliefs

This is often the painful part, but you need to write down your limiting beliefs, everything that comes to mind in a journal and watches out for trigger words. Those words which really hit home. Now ask yourself why they are so impactful to you? What happened in the past to trigger the effect of low self-esteem.

This may take a bit of time, don’t rush it; your limiting beliefs did not arise overnight, so spend a week writing your thought patterns down and finding out how the jigsaw all fits together. Was it something in childhood or someone once said to you, did you make a mistake and were mocked for it?

Once you have your journaling completed, move onto stage 2.

2. Challenge Yourself

Every time one of these poor thought patterns appear in your mind, you need to challenge it and release the thought into the ether. I suggest getting a notepad where you can write it down in big, bold letters and then tearing the thought up or burning it, as I like to do.

It would help if you replaced that thought with a positive thought; once again, write it down but stick it where you can see it, on the wall or the fridge. You might want to try the following if you have difficulties.

  • Negative – I am ugly. Positive – I am unique and special.
  • Negative – I am useless. Positve – I have many skills and talents.
  • Negative – I will never find love. Positve – I will find love becasue I deserve it.

Make sure you write the positives in your best handwriting and embellish them with positive stickers or if you can draw, add your own positive affirmations to help you.

3. Get Therapy

I cannot recommend highly enough the use of therapy. Personally, I think everybody should seek it out as it helps you readdress the balance in your life. I tend to regard occupational therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as the ways which fit best with low self-esteem.

[AF] Two companies which I think highly of are Online Therapy and Calmerry, both of which will help you achieve the goal of raising your confidence levels.

In Summary

There are many reasons why we may exhibit the symptoms of low self-esteem, but they can be overcome. I, for one, used CBT to help me, and my favourite will always be occupational therapy, as it turns negativity into positive action. I hope this article has helped you understand the signs of low self-esteem, and I hope you will find your ideal way of addressing it. You can look through my free CBT resource section to see if any of the articles will help you.

Peace & Blessings


8 Replies to “10 Signs You Have Low Self-Esteem”

  1. Good post. I used to have these signs when I was younger. Yes, I used to have low self-esteem. But now, I’ve changed into a better version of myself. Writing and arts helps me. And I’m grateful for that. I also believe that the best way to build your self-esteem is to treat your flaws as strengths. That will help you to improve.

  2. I definitely had some of these, especially being a people pleaser! But I’ve managed to leave that behind and boost my self esteem in the past few years. Really great post!

  3. Nice article. And I am happy to say that I don’t have a low self esteem. And would now know what to do in case I happen to have it any point in my life.

  4. This is a really helpful post Lou! I could identify behaviours of people around me and some of the things I know I do myself. I grew up with really judgemental parents in everything I did and really affected my mentality in feeling worthless. I am working on it for years but it is not easy.
    Thank you for sharing 😊

  5. This is a lovely post Lou! Over the years, I have come in contact with a lot of people that have low self esteem. And I have come to realize that having a high self esteem can turn your life around. These are some great ways to improve self esteem. I’ll add that saying positive affirmations to yourself will also help boost self esteem.

  6. This is such an important post! I definitely relate to a lot of these, I often withdraw from others and compare myself to others and I used to be a massive people pleaser but I think I’m getting a bit better now. Thanks so much for sharing some great ways to help rebuild self esteem x

  7. Great points, I totally agree with people pleasing. It big sign that has low self-esteem. Going to a therapy will help a lot.

  8. I’m definitely a people pleaser, however, improving my self esteem is something I’ve been working on this past year. Great post x

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