7 Habits of People with Low Self-Esteem

Hey Psych2Go-ers. Welcome back. 

Do you struggle with your self-esteem? Do you wonder if you have any worth or value or uniqueness to you? Do you feel like you do matter, no matter what you do for work, how you look or how much money you make? 

Self esteem is extremely important. It significantly affects your sense of self worth, your mental well-being, relationships and how you express yourself and navigate life. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? So you might have a glimpse into why having low self-esteem would hinder so much in your life. As Dr Jan Roberts, LCSW, stated, having bouts of self doubt is fine but “low self-esteem is not a natural state of being.” 

Having low self-esteem is hard emotionally. You feel like you’re not worthy or good enough. You’re afraid of expressing yourself so you settle for a life that you don’t want to live, feeling misery at every waking moment. Does this sound like you or someone you know? If you’re not sure or you didn’t know about it, here are 7 habits that people with low self-esteem exhibit. 

  1. Making Self-deprecating Jokes

Do you use humour to deflect from your issues? These kind of jokes are not harmless at all.  They erode your self esteem and if it’s low, it makes matters worse for you. It can also make those around you feel uncomfortable. 

When you make self-deprecating jokes, you’re essentially bullying yourself. Putting yourself down is a hurtful thing to do to yourself. Your subconscious, where your self-esteem lives, is like a little child : it’s always listening and absorbing what you say. It doesn’t know that you’re joking. And if someone made those jokes about you, you probably wouldn’t enjoy the feeling. 

  1. Finding Fault With Yourself and Others

If you have low self-esteem, you are never alone. You have a ravenous inner critic that ruthlessly tears you apart. Your mind is filled with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” and you have no grace extended to you to forgive yourself for the mistakes that we as humans naturally make. You judge yourself intensely and that judgment also spills outward. You might even put down your accomplishments, regardless of how impressive they are. 

We can pass on harsh criticism onto ourselves with the way we talk about ourselves . Susan Rose, a success and happiness coach, said that the words you use to talk about yourself matter because you’re either building yourself up or tearing yourself down and constant criticism destroys your self-esteem. We assumed that others see us how we see ourselves because we so habitually find fault with ourselves.

  1. Fishing for Compliments

Do you feel like you don’t have anything good going on for you within yourself so you look outside of yourself to find it? Do you sometimes say cruel or unpleasant things about yourself and hope that someone says something good about you to make you feel better? That habit is closely linked to low self-esteem. 

You might consciously know that you don’t need anyone’s approval or affirmation but subconsciously you crave for someone to tell you that there’s something good about you. You might have not been in environments that were big on words of affirmations and that might have affected your belief in yourself so much that you don’t believe that you have any positive qualities so you fish for compliments. 

  1. Letting Yourself Be Neglected

When you don’t believe that you have any worth, you don’t behave in a way that is in line with that. You might not wash your hair or brush your teeth because you feel like there’s no reason to take care of yourself because you’re not important. The lie of low self-esteem can make you neglect yourself. 

You might overthink, overwork and overstress without ever asking for help or a break. You struggle with accepting compliments and love because you feel like you don’t deserve it. You avoid self expression and you play it small, which sends a message to your brain that you don’t deserve the things that you desire. Cheryl A Clarke, LMFT, a licensed therapist, remarked that people who suffer from low self-esteem tend to be more passive and passive aggressive than assertive and confident so it’s hard for them to stand up for themselves. 

  1. Comparisons with Other People

The comparison game is one we tend to play from time to time . While it’s definitely not good for you if you engage with it constantly, it has the benefit of helping you achieve your goals and inspire you to become better. The problem starts when it becomes a frequent habit, as it impacts your mental health and it’s an indication that you should focus your attention on raising and building your confidence. 

It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap nowadays, both online and offline. You can compare all of your life experiences with the singular version of a person’s life that you see on social media and that makes you feel bad about yourself. While social media isn’t inherently and entirely awful, if you find yourself playing the comparison game all the time when you’re online, you might want to detach from that for a while. 

  1. Constantly Questioning Others’ Intentions

Do you narrow your eyes at a person’s kind gesture toward you? Do you silently question if they’re really interested in you or do you think that they pity you and that’s why they are around you? That might be your low self-esteem talking. 

If you don’t believe that you are worthy of someone’s goodwill and time, you might believe that they have ulterior motives. Did they give you a compliment? Well then they are playing a cruel joke on you. You see yourself through such a distorted lens that you don’t feel like you deserve to be treated well or with basic human decency. 

  1. Not Trusting Your Own Judgments

Do you often find yourself second-guessing your decisions? And it’s not only on occasion because it’s every time you make a choice? You might be exhibiting a behaviour of low self-esteem. 

When you don’t believe in yourself, you don’t trust yourself. You doubt your own decisions and instincts often, constantly seeking the opinions of others. You feel that you’re always making mistakes and fear drives your life instead of confidence and knowing that you can face any challenge. Amy Matthews, Woman unRuled founder said “it’s your life and no one knows better than you what is right for you.” When you worry about what other people think 24/7, you’re less empowered and your self belief goes down to the pits. 


Thank you for making it to the end, Psych2Go-ers. Fortunately, we can grow our self esteem and find self fulfillment, even if we’ve been through difficult things that emotionally and mentally taxed us so much that we are left being barren. This growth will enhance your creativity, physical and emotional health and your ambition. By cultivating self esteem, your relationships become more loving and you develop resilience to deal with the hardships of life and you finally see yourself for the unique amazing person that you are. You deserve to have high self esteem and a firm belief in yourself. So take it day by day and don’t give up on yourself. 

See you soon. 


*Lancer, D. (2021, July 19). 10 habits that cause low self-esteem and depression. What Is Codependency? Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://whatiscodependency.com/10-habits-low-self-esteem-cause-depression/ 

*Mandriota, M. (2021, August 3). 8 common examples of low self-esteem. Psych Central. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/health/common-patterns-of-low-self-esteem#low-self-esteem-examples 

*Schuster , S. (2022, May 27). 22 habits of people with low self-esteem. The Mighty. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://themighty.com/2018/10/low-self-esteem-habits/ 

*Steber, C. (2018, March 22). What lowers self-esteem? 11 habits that can make you feel less empowered, according to experts. Bustle. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.bustle.com/p/what-lowers-self-esteem-11-habits-that-can-make-you-feel-less-empowered-according-to-experts-8431823 

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