I have found that if you have to ask more than likely you know the answer even if you only have an inkling of what it might be. The very definition of self-esteem is to have respect for self. Do you respect yourself? If you were to write a letter about yourself, would it contain mostly negative things about you? Do you take things to heart so much so that you think about it for weeks and months to come? If so, you may be suffering from low self esteem. Here are my top 7 ways to tell if you have low self esteem.
1. Need for Validation, Especially from Men.
This was one that was big for me. there were periods in my life that I would probably do anything to have “friends”. I Wanted to be liked by everyone, even if they weren’t good for me. Needing to feel validated in itself is not bad. Everyone wants to be validated in some way, but when you begin to completely put your self worth up for auction to the lowest bidder, you have a problem.
2. You Don’t Keep Yourself Up.
I remember I wouldn’t do my hair or change my clothes for days because I didn’t want to seem too high maintenance, or so I told myself. In actuality, I wasn’t doing it because I didn’t feel worthy of being pampered. I didn’t want to seem too confident , or that I was trying to upstage someone. I liked being unkept because I believed that if I looked people would overlook me and leave me alone. I was too fragile to deal with the harshness of this world so I built a protective shield. A shield that made me invisible.
Until it didn’t.
Honestly, you look good you feel good and that’s coming from someone who never would have believed those words when I was younger. I feels so much better about myself when I put on some pretty clothes, take care of my skin and smell good. Sometimes it’s the little things, so even something like a long bath will do the trick. Find what makes you feel good and do it.
3. When it’s your turn, you barely speak up.
You let others talk and when it’s your turn you never say what you want to say because you don’t feel what you have to say is important. I think this comes from wanting to put every one else needs and feelings over yours. I once heard someone say that you shouldn’t dim your light to make others feel comfortable. So if you have something to say, say it. The other person will appreciate your point of view, or they won’t. That’s life.
4. You have trouble taking compliments.
Person: Wow, Vi your dress looks nice!
Vi: Oh this old thing, no I got it second hand from my sister and I think it makes me look frumpy.
Sound familiar? Giving compliments is just a part of basic human interaction. Receiving compliments may seem like a daunting task for someone with low self esteem. Why? Because agreeing with this person that you look nice would go against everything you actually believe about yourself and you need to convince the of these flaws the way you have convinced yourself. I definitely understand how taking compliments makes you feel uncomfortable when you have low self esteem. You know they’re lying because obviously you looked in the mirror before you went out and was sure that you didn’t look as good as she’s saying, is she being funny? This is how your brain works when your suffering from low self esteem.
5. You put emphasis on your perceived flaws.
One time a boy in your 1st grade class said you had a big nose or your peers are constantly calling you quiet and weird, even though you’ve tried to come out of your shell that one time? Things like this happen all of the time and people tend to internalize it. If you let it fester it turns into a problem that you need to fix.
When you talk to people you automatically think they’re staring at your nose or secretly saying you have a dry personality behind your back. Living this way can cause you to have a panic attack because you’re constantly stressing about things that you either can’t change or are not gonna change anytime soon. You have to let it go and know that you are your own best friend who should give yourself some slack because no one is perfect.
6. You take things too personal.
I know I know, everyone gets over offended at things every now and then but if you find yourself getting mad at the slightest comment that may not have even been directed towards you, that’s not good. When I was younger I took everything personally, I remember this girl commented that “only pretty girls were allowed to come to her birthday party” and then proceeded to not invite me. I immediately internalized that and began to think that I looked like a boy. It was clear she was talking about me because A) I was a tom boy, so by default I wasn’t pretty and B I wasn’t invited to her party, right?. So for the next couple of years I deemed myself ugly, or at least not pretty enough to be at anyone’s party.
You see the issue here? How the mind just creates all of these scenarios that make no sense; but it made all the sense back then. I was living my life based on what I thought was reality and I would go looking for things that affirmed this weird way that I was thinking. Then I would get mad because I just wanted to be normal like the other kids but clearly they thought I was weird. Right? When Franklin said “Girls who don’t have friends need to be watched” , he was talking about me. I know it. There must be something wrong with me. He’s right. You go from being mad to accepting that this person who obviously knows more about you than you do, is right.
7. You Don’t Believe in Yourself
One of the worst parts about growing up for me, came from not believing in myself. I remember always wanting to be a public speaker who motivated people but I was too shy to pursue it. Or at least that’s what I told myself. I told myself I couldn’t do a lot of things and it destroyed my self esteem. Always believe in your dreams as cliche as it sounds , you’ll be so much happier knowing at least you tried. Plus believing in yourself seems to always give you that extra boost of confidence that you need in life. Try it.
While these are not all the ways to tell if you have low self esteem, I believe these definitely sum up the things that people who suffer from it, do. It’s hard to come to terms that something may be wrong with you, but realizing that you aren’t treating yourself the way you should is a good thing. Why? Because you can change that. And I’m a living testimony you will feel sooo much better when you do.