Home  >  My Life  >  A Better Life

High Self-Esteem: 33 Low Signs, What Hurts Self-Worth & Secrets to Pump It

Do you frequently feel bad about yourself? If you do, then use these tips to have high self-esteem and feel better about yourself and your life.

high self-esteem self worth and low self esteem

In a world overflowing with filters, angles, and those all-important likes, we often find ourselves gauging our value through the lens of our smartphone cameras. But let’s get one thing straight: that perfectly captured selfie might garner you triple-digit likes, but it isn’t the metric for high self-esteem.

Nope, not even close! The journey of understanding high and low self-esteem and true self-worth goes deeper and beyond the screen, and into the very core of our being.

What’s Self-Esteem Anyway, and Why Isn’t It Rated on a Scale of 1-10?

Let’s lay it out there. If life was a video game, self-esteem would be that tricky stat not easily maxed out with cheat codes. Ever noticed some days you’re feeling like the Beyoncé of your world and other times more like her left shoe?

That’s the rollercoaster of high self-esteem and low self-esteem! So, what’s this elusive thing we call self-esteem? In the big-brained world of psychology, it’s defined as a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of their own worth.

Phew, quite a mouthful, right? Basically, it’s how you feel about…well, you. [Read: 44 Signs of low self-esteem in a man, causes, and how it feels dating him]

Now, here’s the tea: self-esteem is not the same as confidence. Confidence is that pep in your step when you ace a skill or task.

Self-esteem? It’s the enduring sense of self-worth you carry, rain or shine. While high self-esteem has you feeling like a rockstar, low self-esteem might make you doubt if you can even play the air guitar!

The Building Blocks of Self-Worth: Factors That Chisel Your Self-Esteem

So, self-esteem! It isn’t magically bestowed upon us like fairy dust. Our sense of self-worth is crafted over time, influenced by a mishmash of experiences, interactions, and oopsies. [Read: 30 Signs of low self-esteem in a woman that reveal a need for self-love]

What makes one person strut with high self-esteem might make another second-guess their every move with low self-esteem. Let’s put on our detective hats and uncover the usual suspects.

1. Childhood Upbringing

Remember those adorable scribbles you did as a kid? Maybe your folks treated every drawing like it belonged in an art gallery *even if it was just a sun in the corner of the paper*.

Or perhaps, not so much. These early reactions play a massive role in sculpting our self-worth. [Read: 47 Hurtful signs and effects of being the daughter of a narcissistic mother]

2. Past Experiences

The good, the bad, and the facepalm-worthy!

From acing first dates to prom nights that felt straight out of a rom-com *or horror flick*, to that ambitious attempt at doing the worm at a party. Yep, all these add layers to our self-esteem story.

3. Peer Comparisons

Let’s face it, the green-eyed monster isn’t just a myth. “Mark got an iPhone 15 at 16! Why am I stuck with this relic from the past?” These comparisons, often about the silliest things, can either pump up our self-worth or deflate it like a sad balloon. [Read: Jealousy vs Envy and 22 signs to tell them apart easily]

Spotting the Eeyore in You and the Signs You Might Have Low Self-Esteem

Ever felt like you’re channeling a bit of Eeyore vibes from Winnie the Pooh? You know, the gray donkey who seems like he’s perpetually under a rain cloud? [Read: Dating someone with low self-esteem – what it’s like for both of you]

Sometimes, that can be due to low self-esteem sneaking its way into our psyche. But worry not, it’s not a life sentence! Recognizing the signs is the first step to boosting that self-worth. Here are some tell-tale signs of low self-esteem.

1. Over-apologizing

We all slip up, but if you’re saying sorry for even the tiniest things, it’s a red flag. Apologizing when not necessary can be a defense mechanism, a way to prevent potential criticism.

It’s as if you’re always bracing for a negative judgment, even when none is coming. It’s essential to recognize when an apology is genuinely needed versus when it’s a shield for your self-worth. [Read: People pleaser – 21 signs you’re one and how to stop people pleasing]

2. Perfectionism

It’s one thing to strive for excellence but another to see anything less than 100% as a failure. This mindset can lead to unnecessary stress and disappointment.

Perfectionism often stems from a fear of being judged. Remember, nobody’s perfect, and life’s messiness sometimes leads to the most beautiful outcomes.

3. The “Avoidance Dance”

If you’re constantly avoiding new experiences, it’s likely not just shyness. [Read: Feel like a failure? 23 truths to stop feeling defeated and find your way]

It could stem from a fear of failure or judgment. Dodging situations can be a protective move to prevent potential blows to self-esteem.

Yet, growth often lies just outside our comfort zones. Embracing the unfamiliar can be the key to unlocking higher self-worth.

4. Hyper-aware of Opinions

Are you always on the lookout, hyper-aware of what others might think or say about you? This constant alertness can be draining. [Read: 5 Lessons to deal with judgmental people]

It stems from giving others’ opinions more weight than your own feelings about yourself. While feedback is essential, letting every external opinion sway your self-worth isn’t.

5. Comparison Overload

It’s natural to occasionally compare ourselves to others, but when it becomes a compulsive habit, it’s problematic.

Comparing often means you’re placing your self-worth in a race with others. Your value isn’t determined by someone else’s achievements or qualities. Celebrate your unique journey.

6. Slouchy Shoulders, Low Self-Worth

Your posture often mirrors your inner emotions. Slouching might indicate a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. [Read: The subtle body language moves to feel more confident]

Standing tall not only affects how others perceive you but also boosts how you feel about yourself. It’s a simple yet profound step towards feeling better.

7. Compliments Feel Like Alien Language

If compliments confuse or unsettle you, it’s likely you’re not used to recognizing your worth.

Dismissing praise can be a defense mechanism to maintain a consistent *and unfortunately low* self-image. It’s crucial to learn to accept and internalize compliments genuinely. [Read: Decoding compliments – 50 cute words and their true meaning]

8. Criticism Hits Like a Ton of Bricks

Constructive feedback is essential for growth, but if it feels deeply personal, it’s a sign.

Those with low self-esteem often struggle to differentiate between feedback on an action and an attack on their character. Understanding this difference is crucial for emotional well-being.

9. Masking Reality

Always pretending everything’s fine is exhausting. If you find it challenging to admit when things aren’t okay, it might be because you fear how others will perceive you. [Read: 25 Honest, self-reflection questions to recognize the real YOU inside]

Recognizing and expressing genuine feelings is vital for emotional health and building self-worth.

The Self-Esteem Gym: Exercises to Pump Up That Inner Confidence

Navigating the labyrinth of self-worth isn’t about finding a magic potion. It’s about consistent practice, much like heading to the gym. But instead of lifting weights, we’re bolstering that inner confidence.

Let’s dive into the workouts designed to pump up both low self-esteem and high self-esteem. [Read: How to date when you have low self-esteem and find true happiness]

1. Daily Affirmations

Positive affirmations rewire our thought processes. They aren’t just trendy buzzwords; they’re tools for mental strength. By repeating these statements daily, they become ingrained beliefs.

Over time, they shape how we view ourselves. These phrases act as pillars supporting our self-worth.

2. Surround Yourself with Positive Vibes

Your environment profoundly influences your mindset. By choosing positive surroundings, you proactively nurture your self-esteem. [Read: 26 Whys and ways to surround yourself with positive people and remodel your life]

But it’s also crucial to identify and distance from negativity. Emotional drains can impede personal growth. Surrounding yourself with uplifting energies fosters self-worth.

3. Set Attainable Goals

Goals give us direction and purpose. By setting achievable objectives, you lay a foundation for success. Each accomplished goal boosts confidence.

This constant progression strengthens your self-worth over time. It’s about small victories accumulating into significant self-esteem gains. [Read: 57 Simple life questions to get to know yourself and truths to visualize your future]

4. Plan and Follow Through

A clear plan sets the stage for action. Consistent follow-through builds trust in oneself. Each time you fulfill a plan, you reinforce reliability. This consistent achievement pattern fortifies self-worth. It’s a cycle: as you act and succeed, your self-esteem thrives.

5. Appreciate Yourself

Self-appreciation is a daily practice. Recognizing even small achievements is crucial. This acknowledgment fuels positivity and reinforces self-worth.

Over time, you begin to see your worth more clearly. This habitual appreciation becomes a beacon of high self-esteem. [Read: 25 Must-know secrets to be successful in life and transform your future today]

6. Say No to Comparisons

Everyone walks a unique path. Constantly measuring yourself against others is counterproductive.

Recognizing and celebrating your individual journey is essential. Your achievements, no matter how they compare, have value. Embracing your uniqueness fosters a resilient sense of self-worth.

7. Focus on What You Can Change

Recognizing where you have influence is empowering. Taking action in these areas fosters a sense of control. [Read: Feeling worthless? 28 causes, signs, and daily habits to change your mind and life]

Each proactive step taken elevates confidence. Conversely, wasting energy on the unchangeable drains self-worth. Directing efforts purposefully maximizes self-esteem growth.

8. Make Peace with the Unchangeable

Not everything is within our control. Accepting this reality is liberating. This acceptance allows mental space for proactive efforts elsewhere.

By making peace with certain realities, you free up emotional energy. This energy can be redirected to nurture self-worth in productive areas. [Read: We accept the love we think we deserve – a real life example]

9. Do Something You’re Good At

Engaging in strengths is empowering. It serves as a reminder of capabilities and achievements. Regularly doing what you excel at boosts confidence.

This cycle of engagement and success reinforces a positive self-image. Over time, it builds a foundation for high self-esteem.

10. Help Others

Acts of kindness are transformative. They provide a sense of purpose and connection. [Read: The BIG ways volunteer work can help heal depression]

When you uplift others, it often elevates your spirits too. This shared positivity reinforces a communal sense of worth. By helping others, you indirectly nurture your own self-esteem.

11. Be Around Supportive People

Relationships play a pivotal role in shaping self-worth. Being around those who uplift and support is rejuvenating. These positive interactions validate your value and achievements.

Conversely, distancing from negative influences preserves self-esteem. It’s essential to cultivate a supportive circle to nurture high self-esteem. [Read: True friendship – 37 real friend traits and what it takes to be a good, loyal one]

12. Avoid the Naysayers

Every environment has its share of negative voices. These influences can subtly erode confidence over time. Recognizing and distancing from such influences is vital.

By safeguarding your mental space, you protect your self-worth. Prioritizing positive relationships ensures a robust foundation for self-esteem.

Rolling in the Benefits: The Perks of High Self-Esteem

Having high self-esteem is like having a backstage pass to the concert of life. But instead of dodging security and sneaking peeks at your favorite band, you’re cruising through challenges with style and flair. [Read: Love yourself first – where people go wrong, 36 whys and how to do this right]

Here’s what’s in it for you.

1. Confidence Overdrive

With high self-esteem, you strut into situations, not just walk. Whether it’s a job interview, a date, or even a salsa class, you’ve got that glow of self-assuredness. The world, my friend, really becomes your oyster.

2. Resilience Power-Up

Life’s curveballs? You catch them and toss them back! People with high self-esteem tend to bounce back faster from setbacks. It’s like having an emotional shield that deflects life’s lemons, turning them into lemonade.

3. Healthier Relationships

When you value yourself, you set the tone for how others treat you. This means more fulfilling friendships, romantic relationships, and even smoother professional interactions. It’s like a magnet for good vibes only. [Read: 38 Sign and traits of a happy, healthy relationship and what it should look like]

4. Stress? Reduced!

No, it’s not a magic potion, but high self-esteem certainly dials down stress levels. When you believe in your capabilities, challenges seem more like adventures. Bring it on, life!

5. Decision-making with Panache

Choices, choices everywhere, and with high self-esteem, you make them without that paralyzing fear of regret. You trust your judgment more, leading to decisions that align better with your goals.

6. Unleashing Creativity

With a robust sense of self-worth, you’re less afraid to express yourself. Whether it’s penning poetry, strumming a guitar, or busting a dance move, creativity flows more freely. [Read: Dating an artist – 31 traits of a creative person and must-knows to date them]

7. Reduced Fear of Failure

When you’ve got high self-esteem, failure doesn’t feel like the end. Instead, it’s just a plot twist. You learn, you adapt, and you move forward with even more gusto.

8. Enhanced Motivation

A strong sense of self-worth acts like premium-grade fuel. It keeps the engine of motivation purring, driving you towards your dreams faster and with more enthusiasm.

9. Joyful Living

Last but not least, people with high self-esteem often extract more joy from life. It’s like having a permanent filter that amplifies the good, making everyday experiences feel richer and more fulfilling. [Read: 11 Honest secrets to let go of the past, be happy, and look to the future]

Embracing the Perfectly Imperfect You

Life isn’t about chasing a picture-perfect version of yourself. Instead, it’s about relishing in the beautiful mess that you are. Yep, the very essence that makes you laugh a little too loudly at jokes or dance oddly when your favorite song hits.

[Read: How to respect yourself – 37 secrets of self-respect, self-belief, and self-love]

Those quirks? They’re the signature moves in the rom-com of your life. And as the credits roll on this chapter about high self-esteem, remember that it’s your unique blend of strengths and oddities that makes your story both captivating and worth celebrating.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...