32 Characteristics of Low Self-Esteem and Solutions

Low self-esteem is a serious problem that is somewhat not taken seriously.

However, with links to mental health, it is the reason for some of the problems a lot of people face today. 

In case you didn’t know, self-esteem is the confidence one has in one’s self.

Thus, having a low-self-esteem simply means lacking confidence in one’s self and ability.

Have you ever wondered if you are suffering from low self-esteem?

Are you oblivious about the characteristics?

Do you have no idea as to how to improve your life if you do have low self-esteem?

This article would provide all the answers you seek, and more.

Let’s dive right into it.

List of Characteristics of Low Self-Esteem

Characteristics of Low Self Esteem
source: pixabay.com (Julia_photo367)

Related: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide To Gaining More Self Confidence

People who have low self-esteem exhibit several characteristics. However, if the following sentences resonates with you, then you probably have low self-esteem.

  1. I constantly feel inferior to peers and mates.
  2. I constantly feel insecure.
  3. I constantly criticize myself and everything I do.
  4. I regularly have negative, self-blaming, and critical discussions with myself.
  5. I always worry about what other people think of me.
  6. I have anger issues and I’m always defensive.
  7. I’m unable to deal with challenges.
  8. I always downplay and ignore my positive qualities.
  9. I never believe or accept compliments from people.
  10. I always call or describe myself with negative words such as ugly, fat, unlovable, or stupid.
  11. I’m a perfectionist and never want to make mistakes.
  12. I have a massive fear of failure and looking bad in front of others.
  13. I always assume that luck plays a role in all of my achievements, and never take credit for them.
  14. I never commit to relationships or tasks, and often leave them unfinished.
  15. I always blame myself when things go wrong, and never consider other things that are beyond my control, such as economic forces or the actions of other people.
  16. I always seem confused and disorganized.
  17. I lack purpose or direction in life.
  18. I sometimes suffer from an eating disorder.
  19. I have a distorted view of life and myself.
  20. I’m always in a low or bad mood.
  21. I regularly have mood swings.
  22. I have low expectations from both people and myself.
  23. I break agreements and violate my own standards regularly.
  24. I’m a full time pessimists.
  25. I’m always jealous and envious of other people’s success.
  26. I never like it when work is done by others.
  27. I’m scared of exploring my abilities for fear of what people will say.
  28. I frequently respond irrationally, with emotions clouding my responses.
  29. I always feel resentful and down when I lose.
  30. I rely a lot on luck, fate, and fortune.
  31. I’m always anxious and apprehensive when dealing with others.
  32. I avoid competitions for fear of failing.

Related: 102 Hypnotic Affirmations For Self-Confidence

Characteristics of High Self-Esteem

People with high self-esteem behave differently from those with low self-esteem. For differentiation, here are some of the characteristics exhibited by people with high self-esteem:

High Self Esteem
source: pixabay.com (Shad0wfall)
  • They participate in and enjoy so many hobbies and activities.
  • They believe they are valuable, and that others enjoy spending time with them.
  • They consider themselves worthy and equal to others, irrespective of differences in personal or financial success.
  • They are always ready and able to assert themselves in the face of opposition.
  • They resist being manipulated by others.
  • They are sensitive to the feelings and needs of others.
  • They regularly accept and abide by social norms.
  • They believe in their capacity to solve problems, adjust to failures, and ask for assistance.
  • They are always able to make choices, trust their own judgments, and never feel guilty about their choices if others do not agree.
  • They fully live and enjoy the present, and never live in the past or future, or worry about ‘what ifs.’

Related: Best Boosting Self Esteem Questions

Effects of Low Self-Esteem

Having low self-esteem can impact the quality of a person’s life negatively in so many different ways. The effects of having low self-esteem include:

Effects of Low Self Esteem
source: pixabay.com (webkinzluva1598)
1. An Obsession with Being Perfect

Perfectionism is one effect of having a low-self-esteem that cannot be avoided. A lot of people with low self-esteem tend to push themselves a lot, and try to over-achieve just to cover and atone for their inferiority.

2. Constant Negative Feelings

People with low self-esteem are self-critical, as stated above, and this self-criticism leads to constant feelings of depression, sadness, guilt, shame, anger, and anxiety.

3. A Fear of Trying

Having low self-esteem would inevitably lead to doubts about one’s abilities or worth. These doubts would make a low self-esteemed person to be afraid of trying new things, and would avoid challenges.

4. Low Resilience

Related: Best 15-Day Confidence Challenge With Lasting Results

People with low self-esteem believe they are hopeless, so they have low resilience, and find it hard to cope with challenging life events.

5. Relationship Problems

People with low self-esteem barely get into healthy relationships with others because of distrust, always feeling oppressed and bullied, and harboring a strong resentment of people. They also feel like they are not lovable and always tolerate improper behavior from partners.

6. A Lack of Self-Care

People with low self-esteem tend to care so little about themselves, so they indulge in activities that neglect their self-care and abuse themselves in the process. People with low self-esteem tend to be heavy drinkers, for instance.

7. Self-Harming Behaviors

It has been found that people suffering from low self-esteem are at a higher risk of self-harm behaviors, such as suicide, drug abuse, or an eating disorder.

8. Fear of Judgment

People with low self-esteem try to avoid activities that involve other people, such as social events or sports. This is because they hate and fear being judged negatively.

Related: Self Concept Vs Self Esteem And Self Efficacy

What causes a person to have low self-esteem?

Characteristics of Low Self Esteem
source: pixabay.com (StockSnap)

People develop low self-esteem because of various reasons, but some of the most common causes of low self-esteem include:

  • Financial problems, especially when others around are financially comfortable.
  • Stressful life events, such as problematic marriages or broken relationships.
  • Mental illnesses like depression or an anxiety disorder.
  • A lack of confidence caused by poor academic performance.
  • Medical problems like physical disability, serious illness, cancer, and diseases such as HIV.
  • Being in abusive relationships, and not being properly treated by parents, a partner, or by colleagues at work.
  • An unhappy childhood where significant people like guardians, teachers, or even parents were extremely critical.

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How to Overcome Low Self-Esteem

High Self Esteem
source: pixabay.com (DeanMarston)

Overcoming low self-esteem is no easy feat, but it can be achieved. The moment you take charge of how you react to the things that happen in your life, you would be able to overcome low self-esteem. Below are some steps one can take towards overcoming low self-esteem:

1. Quit Worrying

If you can stop wondering what the future holds, and just enjoy the present, you can overcome low self-esteem.

2. Speak To Yourself Positively

In difficult times, you may have to be your number one motivator. Speak to and encourage yourself the way you would a best friend. When you fail or make mistakes, say positive things, and try not to be too hard on yourself.

3. Put the Past Aside

What has happened in the past should remain right there – in the past.  Concentrate on and enjoy living in the here-and-now, rather than reliving old disappointments, mistakes, and failures.

4. Try To Have Fun

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, or Jane, a dull girl. Schedule fun activities and events into every week to avoid always being gloomy and low on esteem.

5. Avoid Comparisons

The more frequently you compare yourself to others, the more you develop low self-esteem. Understand that everyone is different, and that every human life is valuable, including yours.

6. Dwell On the Positives

Always look towards the positives, no matter the circumstance. Accept compliments, acknowledge your positive traits, and stop treating everything as luck.

7. Exercise

Exercising regularly has been found to boost the body and soul, combat depression, and help people feel good. Walking round the block once every day, going for regularly swims, or hitting a local gym can go a long way in helping you overcome low self-esteem.

8. Always Assert Yourself

It would help a lot if you always communicate your feelings, beliefs, wants, and your opinions to others in an assertive, direct, and honest manner. This way, you are rarely misunderstood or treated incorrectly.

9. Believe in the Process

Rome wasn’t built in a day. So you must understand that you have to practice all of the above regularly and consistently to improve your self-esteem.

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How to Improve Self-Esteem

Improve Self Esteem
source: pixabay.com (RobinHiggins)

Besides the above steps that can help you overcome low self-esteem, here are some more strategies to improve your self-esteem.

  • Discuss and get advice from a trained therapist.
  • Talk to a trusted friend or loved one about your self-esteem issues.
  • Read books on self-development.
  • Seek the help of a doctor for information and advice.
  • Browse the internet regularly for further information.
  • Take a personal development course.

Related: 22 Best Confidence Building Exercises Backed By Science

Check Your Own Projections

You should always remember that your self-esteem is what you think about yourself, and that you are completely in charge of how you and the world view you.

Everyone lacks confidence occasionally, but people with low self-esteem are unhappy or unsatisfied with themselves most of the time.

With constant practice, you can boost your self-confidence, overcome low self-esteem, and get to lead a fulfilling life.

Characteristics Of Low Self-Esteem

Characteristics of Low Self-Esteem PDF

Here you can download my characteristics of low self-esteem pdf list. I hope this free pdf list helps you to get a deeper understanding of yourself.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.