* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on
If you’re reading this, you probably want to find out if you have low self-esteem, right ? Ok, cool.
Now, before you read any further, here’s what self-esteem actually means so you can avoid any kind of confusion. This is the definition by Nathaniel Branden, author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem :
Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness.
Basically, having high self-esteem means you’re confident in your ability to overcome life’s challenges and believing that you’re worthy of happiness.
Now that we know what self-esteem means exactly, here are the signs of low self-esteem.
1. You need validation from others to feel good about yourself
This means that when people seem to give you positive feedback, like compliments and encouragement, you feel like you’re on top of the world. You suddenly feel like you matter a whole lot more for a moment.
In contrast, when people put you down or make negative comments about you, you feel like you’re worthless again. The moment someone makes fun of you or says something bad about you, you immediately fee hurt and worthless. You feel like you’re vulnerable, and it always seems that person who’s criticising you is right.
The bottom line is : you need recognition from others to feel good about yourself.
2. You feel like you’re inferior
You always feel like everyone is better than you for some reason. Other people always seem to be having better relationships, more success, and being more competent than you in almost everything they do.
You never feel like you’re enough.
3. You put other people before yourself
You’re waiting in a line but someone takes your place ? No problem. You have plans for the weekend but your friend always calls you for hep ? Ok, why not. You have a test tomorrow but you’re helping someone else instead of studying ? Yeah, that’s totally fine right ?
I just showed you some common examples of what this means in reality. Putting people’s needs before your own means that you’re willing to help other people even if you have important things to do just so they don’t think negatively of you.
In other words, you’re scared of saying “No”.
You do this because you don’t want to be seen as ‘a bad person’.
I think you get the point. If you’re willing put other people’s needs before yourself, you have low self-esteem.
4. You beat yourself up for small mistakes
Let’s say you went to buy a bottle of soda. So you get into the store, pick up that bottle and then head to the cashier. You slowly walk up to him, but the moment you hand him the bottle, it slips out of your hand.
You bend over to pick it up, you become red-faced and embarrassed. You’re saying to yourself “I’m such an idiot. I can’t even do this without screwing up”.
After that, you’re too shy to even look at the cashier in the eyes because you’re way too embarrassed. You quickly hand him the cash and get out of that store and wish you’ll never come back.
That’s a simple example, but you get the idea. The moment you make even a tiny “mistake”, you say things like “What an idiot” “I always screw up” “I’m useless”. You’re talking down to yourself.
You always torture yourself for every single thing that goes wrong and you see your small errors as proof that you’re a worthless person.
5. You overthink what people say
When people say bad stuff about you, you always find yourself overthinking every single word they said.
You try to interpret what people say about you even hours or days after the person who initially made the comment has completely forgotten about it.
6. You think you’re worthless
No need for more explanations. You strongly believe that you’re worthless, useless, and basically no good.
7. You settle for less than you deserve
You settle for a mediocre quality of life even when you know you could change it.
Maybe your friends, your family, or your spouse is mistreating you, but you’re not doing anything about it. Maybe you hate your job, but you’re scared of making the shift because you feel like that’s all you deserve. Maybe you have some kind of talent, or skill, but you never bother to use that potential.
Here’s what I want to say : you’re settling for mediocrity just because you think you deserve it. You don’t think you deserve to be happy and fulfilled, so you never even bother to look for a way to get there.
8. You don’t know how to take a compliment
From all the list, I think this is the most subtle sign. When someone give you a compliment, do you feel like you don’t deserve it ? If you do, then this applies to you.
When you have so many negative beliefs about yourself and someone throws in a compliment your way, it feels like you’re an imposter, like you don’t really deserve it.
You might say to yourself “If that person really knew me, he would be disappointed”. Does this sound familiar ?
These were the most important signs of low self-esteem. So, how many of these apply to you ?