If you're looking for the signs of low self esteem, then you are certainly not alone. Low self esteem and self confidence are incredibly widespread issues, and even the most self-assured people have likely experienced it at some point in their lives.
There are varying degrees of low self esteem, and how it affects your life is different for everybody. Below are some low self esteem signs to help you identify the extent of the issue and how it is presenting itself in your life.
1. The need to get everything perfect.
If you expect everything you do to be absolutely spot-on, then you are
saying to yourself that your value and self-worth are dependant solely
on your external abilities. You worry about what others may think of you
if you make a mistake, and you stop yourself from experiencing life in
case something you do isn't perfect.
2. Sensitive to the criticism of others. When a person has a healthy sense of self-worth, they can take constructive criticism for what it is without feeling devalued. But if you feel hurt and degraded by even the slightest critical comment, then you are allowing your self worth to be determined by others, which is clearly a sign of low self esteem.
3. Constantly apologising to others. Do you apologise or say sorry often, even when you haven't done anything wrong? If you habitually say sorry without even thinking, for example when someone bumps into you, then your self esteem could do with a boost.
4. Dressing modestly or conservatively. Do you dress in dull colours that don't attract attention? Do your clothes hide as much of you as possible? Confident people use clothing and accessories to bring out their best features and to make themselves feel beautiful (without dressing provocatively). So if you don't allow yourself to do this, why not start practising!
5. Negative self-talk. Self-talk is that constant little voice that chatters away in our heads, mostly without us even noticing. If you start to observe your thoughts, you may be surprised at how much of it composed of negative or critical thoughts about yourself.
6. Criticising or gossiping about others. When we criticise others, we often do so because it makes us feel better about ourselves, even if we're not aware of it at the time. So pointing out other people's downfalls is actually a sign of your own low self worth.
7. Difficulty saying no or turning people down. When you get asked for a favour that will really put you out, do you say yes anyway? Do you go along to events that you really don't enjoy, just because you were asked? People with low self esteem have a great deal of difficulty standing up for themselves in this way.
8. Automatically agreeing with what others say. People with low self esteem often find themselves agreeing with others in a conversation, even when they really don't because they are afraid of expressing their personal opinions.
9. Constantly buying things. While it's a positive thing to buy something nice for yourself now and then, if you habitually go shopping or buy stuff over the internet to help yourself feel good, then that is a concern. The excitement over having something new is short lived and superficial, so if you are using material things to feel better about yourself, you need to delve deeper.
10. Making excuses.
Poor self esteem can create the need to make excuses for why you can't
do something or why you got something wrong, rather than just accepting
that it is what it is. Nobody gets everything right all the time and
nobody is great at everything.
11. Being defensive. Those with low self esteem don't like to let down their guard for fear of being exposed as weak or having made a mistake. So even the slightest enquiry or comment can lead to defensiveness (one of the big signs of low self esteem).
12. Difficulty in making decisions. Do you often ask for other people's opinion before you make even the smallest of decisions? Do you procrastinate on a regular basis? Those with poor self esteem can have difficulty making decisions because they don't trust their own judgement and are afraid of making the wrong choice.
13. Feeling guilt and shame. Do you hang on to guilt over insignificant things you would be better off letting go? Those with low self worth can feel unnecessarily responsible for things that others would have moved on from long ago, and so can hang on to guilt and shame, which further erodes their self esteem.
14. Lack of care over physical appearance. When you don't bother to get out of your daggy tracky dacks for the whole day and you can't remember the last time you had a haircut, either you're just plain lazy or you have seriously low self esteem. Taking no care in how you present yourself to the world is one of the major signs of low self esteem.
15. Have trouble apologising. Even though this seems contradictory to number 3 above, those with low self esteem can find it really difficult to admit when they're were wrong or their behaviour was inappropriate, because apologising for something means that it has been proven you are less than perfect. Sufferers of low self esteem can try and hide behind a facade of perfection, and needing to apologise can really make them squirm.
16. Needy of others approval. Do you constantly seek confirmation of your worthiness from outside yourself? If you rely on others to constantly display their love and approval toward you, and you wonder what's wrong with you if they don't, then you are not feeling worthy enough in your own right.
17. Isolating yourself. While being comfortable in your own company is actually a good thing, if you totally avoid social situations because you find it difficult to communicate with others, this is one of the signs of low self esteem.
18. Lack of assertiveness. Being assertive can take a certain amount of courage. But those with low self esteem can have trouble standing up for themselves and so tend to tolerate inappropriate behaviour from others.
You certainly don't need to have all of these signs of low self esteem to know that your self esteem has taken a bit of a battering. Even if you can relate to just a couple (and I'm sure most people can), then your self esteem could do with a boost.
Please take a look at my page on overcoming low self esteem for some helpful advice (from someone who use to be an expert at having low self esteem - that is, me!)