These 6 Behaviors Are Super Common For People With Low Self-Esteem

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Signs Of Low Self Esteem, Self Worth, Self Confidence & Inferiority Complex

Lugging around your low self-esteem, self-worth, and negativity is perilous to more than just your public confidence. The effects ripple through every nook and cranny of your life, eating away at it with inconspicuous malevolence.

Believe it or not, self-esteem, self-confidence, or an inferiority complex don't assemble themselves during puberty. They don't even wait for a child to be able to read the words "self-esteem".

Contrary to popular opinion that it develops after a child starts school, self-esteem actually takes root much earlier. By the time your confident little Einstein marches into his first day of kindergarten, he has an indelible — albeit unarticulated — sense of himself.

RELATED: How To Fake Confidence When You Don't Think You're All That Great

A ground-breaking study from the University of Washington found that by 5 years old, children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to an adult’s.

Perhaps the most compelling finding was that this early-developed self-esteem remains stable across the individual’s lifespan. It is critical in how children form social identities and, in this way, is foundational for life.

The effects of low self-esteem in adulthood can be traced back to childhood adversity. The child may have suffered an absence of necessities — love, affirmation, guidance, protection, limits — or had hurtful experiences. Sometimes, even both.

Parents don’t have to be perfect to ensure their child emerges out of toddlerhood with a healthy sense of self. "Good enough" parenting just requires that a child is loved and valued for who they are and not for behavior.

Author Dr. Marcia Siroto, M.D., said, "Children take things personally, so what they experience informs their identity."

As a child grows, their established sense of self — good or bad — sticks along for the ride. By the time the child is old enough to start making decisions, building complex relationships and holding jobs, it reveals lasting effects. Thus, it makes it even trickier to learn how to be more confident and see more value in their self-worth. 

The effects of low self-esteem aren’t always glaring. But the negativity surrounding it can hijack your life, relationships, and jobs without you even realizing or understanding why.

Here are the 6 behaviors that are common in people with low self-esteem, self-confidence, or self-worth that have negative affects on their life. 

1. You have trouble making decisions and sticking to them

Lack of confidence and sense of worth can make you wishy-washy on even the simplest things. Something as simple as deciding on a place to eat can become a palm-sweating, opinion-seeking dilemma. And that’s before you change your mind.

Translate that to situations that require quick, resolved decision-making, and you can see how you will hand over your life’s compass to others.

2. You fear outcomes that haven't happened

"I really do want world peace." Thank you, Miss Congeniality, but fear of ruffling feathers by expressing your own opinion will only put you at war with yourself.

One of the classic effects of low self-esteem is a tendency to exaggerate or catastrophize out of a fear of confrontation.

Remember Chicken Little? "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" You don’t have to be a bully to stand up for yourself, your opinions and your values. And no, the sky won’t fall.

The same low self-esteem that can leave a child emotionally wounded and isolated on the playground can spell disaster for an adult. How will you be able to say "no" and mean it? Or hold your own during a difficult meeting with your boss?

3. You stay in unfulfilling relationships

If you have low self-esteem or an inferiority complex, you are prone to believe that you are unworthy of love. You may believe that no one with the qualities you desire in a mate would have an interest in you.

You accept mediocrity — or possibly worse — out of resignation to your perceived undesirability.

RELATED: 4 Ways You're Unintentionally Sabotaging Your Relationships (& How To Fix The Underlying Issues)

4. You stay in mediocre jobs

Your conversation with yourself may sound something like this: "People with great jobs are (fill in the compliments) and have (fill in the advantages). I’m not good enough, smart enough, experienced enough to do (fill in the job description). I’m not worthy of a position that high up or an income with that many zeros."

5. You're unable to handle difficult feelings and situations

A person with a healthy sense of self doesn’t need to avoid difficult feelings and situations. They can handle reasonable frustration and disappointment with problem-solving skills and acceptance.

An adult without that strong sense of self is especially vulnerable to finding ways to escape what feels unbearable. This narrative underlies most cases of drug and alcohol abuse.

6. You're too tired to tango with life

One of the major effects of low self-esteem is fatigue. In the context of feeling unworthy, unconfident and incapable, sleep can become a way of avoiding life. After all, if you don’t engage, you don’t risk people being unhappy with you. You don’t risk messing things up. You don’t risk failing.

Chronic fatigue can also be a sign of depression. If left unmitigated, depression can have far-reaching emotional and physical consequences.

The effects of low self-esteem are pervasive, even if they are sneaky and tough to pin down.

The fact that self-esteem takes root at such a young age is a reminder to love children into a healthy sense of themselves.  

It’s also a reminder to love yourself into healing practices so your own self-esteem doesn’t cause you to miss your life.

RELATED: What To Say To Yourself When You Feel Completely & Utterly Worthless

Lisa Lieberman-Wang is a relationship expert and creator of the neuroscience Neuro Associative Programming (NAP). If you need help finding your truth and living an authentic life, reach out to her or send her an e-mail.

This article was originally published at Fine to Fab. Reprinted with permission from the author.