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22 Habits of People With Low Self-Esteem

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While struggling with low self-esteem isn’t a mental health diagnosis, it can significantly affect your mental well-being. And it makes sense. Taking care of your mental health can sometimes take work, and why would you take care of yourself if you feel like you’re not good enough, or fundamentally unworthy?

But you are good enough. You are worthy. You do deserve love, happiness and inner peace. But knowing this doesn’t mean pesky low-esteem will stop affecting you. To find out how having a low self-esteem comes out for some, we consulted with our mental health community. If you can relate to what they shared, just know you’re not alone. A few members even included tips you might find helpful.

For tips you can use now, check out this list of 27 self-care ideas for people who have a hard time loving themselves. You’re worth it.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. “Self-depreciating jokes. I always try to bring humor into my issues, and it makes people really uncomfortable.” — Samantha G.
  2. “I’m unable to make decisions because I don’t trust my own judgment. I don’t trust myself to do the right things or say the right things.” — Beth E. 
  3. “Staying inside, isolating myself to an extreme level. I’m still trying to find ways to combat it right now, but I’ll get there.” — Ashley M.
  4. “Fishing for compliments. My brain knows I don’t need someone else’s approval/affirmation/etc., but sometimes I’m desperate to hear there’s something good about me.” — Autumn S.
  5. “Wondering whether people really want to talk to me or if they’re just being nice and secretly pity me for being too boring and awkward. Canceling plans because social interaction gets exhausting because of this.” — Mary J. 
  6. “I always think no one cares about me. I never ask for help because I think I will bother others with my things. I don’t accept compliments or even love from others because I feel I don’t deserve it.” — Carolina C. 
  7. “This may be considered extreme, but I shower in the dark because I cannot bring myself to look at my body. I became an expert at being able to navigate through the dark. I also cannot directly look into a mirror or look directly at a picture of myself. I hate my looks.” — Melissa A.
  8. “I’m surprised when people remember my name, as I never consider myself important enough to be remembered. I also put myself off for applying for jobs because I assume I’m not good enough, so I just put up with being unhappy at work.” —  Aleksandra T.
  9. “Completely avoid social interactions with people I don’t know very well. No eye contact, I won’t talk unless spoken to and even then I won’t continue conversations. Why would people want to talk to me? They’re probably just waiting to get away from the conversation so there is no point.” — Ella C.
  10. “I either avoid all possible contact with mirrors, or I am obsessed with staring at myself in the mirror, picking myself apart piece by piece, looking at all my imperfections and thinking what I need to do to change them… I try to combat this by being really positive about other plus-sized women, or others who look different and are confident in their skin. It helps me to feel normal and less alone.” — Chloe L.
  11. “I have a habit of taking sarcasm as personal criticism, even when I know the other person is trying to be humorous and genuinely means no ill intent. This makes conversations with even close friends (or perhaps, *especially* close friends) somewhat uncomfortable.” — Cassandra E.
  12. “Putting down my accomplishments regardless of how impressive they are. I constantly say I haven’t done a lot but have been trying to constantly remind myself how many fears I’ve faced and things I’ve overcome to show myself I have a lot to be proud of. This year especially I’ve been working very hard to stay at a level of contentment with my mental health, have traveled for the first time and done a lot of great things in school so I try to focus on that instead of focusing on all of the failures.” — Kira M.
  13. “I ask questions I already know the answer to, because I doubt everything I do. I also refrain from speaking in groups for fear of sounding ‘stupid,’ or having to explain something and falling short.” — Anik S.
  14. “I wear clothes that are several sizes too large. This is enough of a problem that when I have had clothing made for me, the designer has been struck silent/speechless at the size difference in what I want to order vs. what would fit me correctly. My person/best friend has helped me in recent years and goes with me when shopping and will gently but sternly have me wear and try on the clothes that are the correct fit and size.” — Aurora R.
  15. “When I get compliments, like, ‘You look nice today,’ I say stuff like, ‘No, I don’t’ or ‘Stop lying.’ I have a hard time simply saying, ‘Thank you.’ And an even harder time accepting it as truth. I often use self-deprecating humor, and crack jokes about my flaws preemptively.” — Alexis R. 
  16. “Letting myself be neglected. Overworking and over-stressing for no reason. Always feeling like a failure. I combat it by talking about how these habits make me feel and change how I function to work with the advice I’m given.” — Kristi H.
  17. “I tend to think there is a motive behind someone talking to me or being nice to me. That if they compliment me they must be pitying me or it’s some cruel joke. I try to remind myself that I see myself through a distorted lens and just because I hate every aspect of me doesn’t mean others do as well.” — Alexandria T.
  18. I apologize. A lot. I was always made to feel like I was a mistake and everything I did was wrong, so now I just apologize for everything, even stuff I haven’t done. I pass it off as a joke because I’m Canadian and it’s in my blood to be apologetic.” — Alysha P.
  19. “I try to avoid confrontations or debates because I feel that whatever I say isn’t enough or I’m not intelligent enough to back up my points. I suppose what helps combat that is rehearsing what I’m going to say. Writing everything down before I speak up.” — Kathereen P. 
  20. “I wear clothes that make me look intimidating and unapproachable so people don’t talk to me because I hate the way I look and sound and feel that I just come across as annoying.” — Sam R.
  21. “Some days when I feel kind of empty from the week of work, I tend to make really mean comments about my body, personality, mean jokes about myself and looks in general to myself in my head. Sometimes what helps me feel better is to watch the videos and photos I have of my friends and I, to remember how much they love me and how much they mean to me.” — Rocio I. 
  22. “I devalue my time and talents. I am a horrible business person because I feel guilty asking a fair price for my time and talents. I often give away things because I don’t feel worthy of getting compensated. It costs me my bottom line.”– Martha F.

If you can relate, you are not alone. Share your own tips for combatting “low self-esteem habits” in the comments below.

Originally published: October 3, 2018
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