If You Have These 6 Habits, You Have Really Low Self-Esteem (But You Can Get Over It)

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6 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem (& How To Build Confidence By Loving Yourself)

Self-esteem, quite simply, is how you feel about yourself. It’s the subjective self-evaluation of your own self-worth. However, low self-esteem culls all those self-perceptions that are negative and presents them as a diminished sense of self.

A person who shows signs of low self-esteem lacks confidence and often feels unlovable, awkward, and incompetent. They also tend to be hypersensitive and have a fragile, easily wounded sense of self. 

However, even if this is the case, you can still learn how to build confidence and spare a little more self-love, even when you feel like you don't deserve it.

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

If you have low self-esteem, you've probably carried it with you from childhood. Experiences like rejection, disappointment, and disapproval may have deep roots in your life, so it becomes difficult to even learn how to love yourself, much less have confidence. You are also likely to be hypervigilant and hyper-alert to threats of those experiences in your adult life. 

The tragedy of this sensitivity — this fear of making mistakes, of doing something embarrassing, offensive or unacceptable — is that life itself becomes a threat. You become your own worst critic as you observe and then judge your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Low self-esteem, by its very nature, makes you seek to avoid threats from the outside that you are already living on the inside.

You fear being judged, but you harshly judge yourself. You fear being rejected, but you have already rejected yourself. And you fear being unloved, but you don’t even love yourself.

Avoiding difficult — even potentially difficult — situations is just safer. If you were your own ally, you wouldn’t worry about what others think, say, or do. You would be your own advocate. You would make your life safe to live.

And so you avoid life because the extent to which you engage with life and others is a direct reflection of your self-perception.

To be able to work on your confidence, you need to be aware of these 6 signs of low self-esteem.

1. You socially withdraw

Finding a corner at the party feels safer than engaging in conversation.

You think, "No one wants to hear what I have to say, anyway."

2. You defer your own thoughts and opinions to those of others

Because you don’t trust yourself, you assume that others must know better than you, even when it comes to your own wants and needs.

3. You can’t make decisions or stick to them

You always say, "I don’t care. You decide."

Even the smallest decisions can leave those around you wanting to scream, "Make up your mind!"

4. You lack boundaries

You may not think that withdrawing into your own corner of the world could be a violation of boundaries. But if the reason that you don’t engage, respond, or express yourself honestly is that you are making assumptions about what others think, then you are out of bounds.

Even the mind has boundaries and your only rightful access to someone else’s thoughts is to ask and listen. And that means you have to risk engaging.

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

5. You feel shame

Healthy shame says, "I made a mistake." Toxic shame says, "I am a mistake."

If you have low self-esteem, you likely feel toxic shame at your core. And that will show up in ways like avoiding eye contact, slouching, and insecure body language.

6. You give up too soon

Because you lack both the motivation and confidence to take risks and see them through, you throw in the towel on projects and dreams.

How, then, can you overcome your low self-esteem? Is doing so even possible?

Now that you're aware of these 6 signs, it's time to work on learning how to be more confident.

There are 2 key components that are essential for taking control of your self-perception, bringing it out of the negative into the positive, and loving yourself despite it.

The first is to stop the moving train of your inner critic. You will never be able to turn your thoughts upward if you don’t first stop their downward spiral.

Stop listening to your inner critic. Learn to recognize when you are thinking negative thoughts, then choose not to listen. The goal is to stop the shame spiral — to put the brakes on the runaway train.

The second component is to practice self-compassion. Research has shown that self-compassion is even better for mental health than self-esteem. Love yourself and treat yourself with the same kindness that you would extend to a friend who is suffering.

Within these two healing components are a wealth of specific strategies for elevating your self-esteem.

But in one way or another, they all come down to stopping and challenging what isn’t right, true or loving to yourself. Only then can you take positive steps that honor what is right, true...and worth loving about yourself.

RELATED: 12 Powerful Ways Low Self-Esteem Affects Your Life And Makes Happiness Challenging

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 e-mail her.

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