5 Signs of Low Self-Esteem

November 28, 2018 Sam Woolfe

Sometimes the signs of low self-esteem aren't recognized by people with low self-esteem. Learn five signs of low self-esteem at HealthyPlace

It's important to be aware of signs of low self-esteem because sometimes it can be difficult to know if you suffer from low self-esteem. This is because people who have low self-esteem carry around a certain self-image that they believe is absolutely true. This negative version of yourself remains a constant. You continue to have the same harsh opinions and beliefs about what you’re like as a person. When these thoughts and negative self-image are sustained for long enough, it can be hard to take a step back and see that it’s far removed from reality. Which is why it’s crucial to be conscious of signs of low self-esteem. If the following ways of thinking and behaving apply to you, then you may have some underlying self-esteem issues that need addressing.

5 Signs You Suffer from Low Self-Esteem

1. You cannot accept praise or compliments.

One sign of low self-esteem is when you find it extremely difficult (or downright impossible) to accept praise. The idea that you’ve achieved something positive, displayed a valuable trait or skill, or succeeded is unfathomable. It simply doesn’t fit in with your negative self-image.

Similarly, compliments make you feel uncomfortable if you suffer from low self-esteem. They contradict everything you believe. It’s completely normal to show modesty when someone compliments you, but if you genuinely distrust and deny every compliment you receive, then a deeper problem could be at play.

2. You don’t let yourself be happy.

When you suffer from low self-esteem, you tend to have a loud, incessant inner critic whose primary aim is to bring you down. This inner critic forms during childhood, based on outside influences, such as authority figures who criticize, disparage, neglect, bully, abuse, and reject you. As you grow up, it becomes challenging to be happy because the inner critic responds negatively to anything positive that enters your life. You might get a job offer, yet instead of allowing yourself to feel upbeat about it, you put yourself down. You may tell yourself you don’t deserve it or that you’re bound to fail.

3. You take things personally.

Taking things personally is another sign of low self-esteem. As someone with low self-esteem, you will often take things personally. You may experience an unfortunate turn of events and come to believe it’s entirely your fault. If you receive criticism, get in an argument, or somebody makes a joke about you, it can crush you. You may end up ruminating on that event for a long time or using it as proof that you’re horrible or a failure. Most people can brush off these things and move on. But people with low self-esteem often turn extremely self-critical based on comments from other people, social interactions, or other events unfolding in their life. 

4. You experience guilt, shame, and self-blame intensely.

A key sign of low self-esteem is that you feel guilt and shame quite intensely. Guilt and shame can be normal and justified, so sometimes it is difficult to notice when these feelings are exaggerated based on the situation. However, if you cannot shake off strong feelings of guilt and shame because of mistakes you’ve made, then this could be a symptom of low self-esteem. Moreover, people with low self-esteem tend to constantly blame themselves for things not working out. This kind of self-blame is often unbalanced. It doesn’t match up with reality, and such self-blame is a sign of low self-esteem.

5. You often judge others or put them down.

We may know someone who can’t help but judge others or put them down in some way or another. That person may even be you. We may think that highly judgemental people have terrible, unlikable personalities. And it’s certainly not pleasant to be around people who disparage others. However, a lot of the time, their judgemental attitudes and harsh comments about others originate from their own insecurities, lack of self-confidence, and self-esteem issues. People with low self-esteem may denigrate others as a way to feel better about themselves.

The first step in building self-esteem is recognizing the habitual patterns of thought and behavior that are symptoms of low self-esteem. Then you can watch out for these signs of low self-esteem and challenge the negative self-talk and self-image that is at the root of them.

APA Reference
Woolfe, S. (2018, November 28). 5 Signs of Low Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Sam Woolfe

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