8 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Self-Esteem and What You Can Do About It

If you notice that you often compare yourself to others and feel like they’re better than you, or you’re constantly scared to make a mistake and even fail — these might be signs that you have low self-esteem. Interestingly, your thoughts and actions can make you even more self-conscious than you already were. And if you stop doing certain things, you might notice that you actually start to feel better.

We at Bright Side hope you find a way to love yourself and become more confident. So here are some things that can lower your self-esteem and that you should avoid doing.

1. You always slouch.

Stress can affect your posture which, in turn, can affect your stress levels. Research suggests that if you sit upright or stand straight, it’s better for your self-esteem and mood. It can also make you feel less tired and help you deal with stress better. So if your posture is slumped, you might end up with the opposite effect and feel fatigued, less confident, and in a bad mood.

2. You procrastinate.

People with low self-esteem are more likely to procrastinate because delaying or avoiding tasks serves as an excuse if the results are bad, and thus “protects” the person’s self-presentation. They’re afraid of being imperfect and not doing their work well enough, and procrastinating is their way of dealing with that fear.

However, this only leads to more anxiety and guilt, as well as lower energy levels and lower self-esteem. If you are this kind of person, try to let go of the thought that you need to do everything perfectly, and enjoy the process. Also when you do something, try not to think about the things you don’t like about the task, and focus on the benefits it will bring you when you finish it.

3. You use words like “should” and “must.”

These words don’t have to have a negative meaning, but they become problematic when you set goals for yourself that are really hard to achieve and don’t accept anything else as being good enough. Strict rules will only stress you out more, and if you can’t manage to follow them, you’ll probably end up being disappointed in yourself. Try to change your thoughts so that when you set goals, you also allow yourself to be imperfect or make mistakes.

4. You blame yourself when it’s not your fault.

If you notice that you often feel guilty about something, try to observe the situations that cause this and the thoughts that pop up in your mind when it happens. Think critically about whether a mistake that happened is really your fault, or maybe it’s actually someone else’s fault, or just an accident and you couldn’t have changed anything anyway. Ask a friend what they think about the same situation, and you might realize you blame yourself even though it wasn’t you who messed up.

5. You always expect the worst.

You might think that expecting the worst outcome can help you deal with the situation better, especially if something goes wrong because you’ll be prepared for it. And if everything goes well, you’ll even feel relieved. However, this kind of thinking might only solidify your belief that you always fail and that nothing you do ever turns out good enough.

6. You feel like you have to be grateful for everything.

Because of low self-esteem, you might rarely get things that you really want and instead settle for less, whether it be at work or in your love life. You might feel like you don’t deserve more, and that you should be grateful for the things you already have. But that’s not true, so don’t let your doubts or self-loathing stop you from getting what you want.

7. You allow others to treat you poorly.

Whether someone’s just being impolite or straight out rude to you, you might make up excuses for their behavior and accept the way they treat you, even if what they say or do makes you feel uncomfortable or bad about yourself.

If you want to stop being treated that way by other people start being kind to yourself first. If you love and respect yourself, you won’t allow people to treat you poorly. It’s also important to know how to set boundaries because it will reflect your self-worth and show people what kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

8. You avoid risk.

Fear of failing can prevent you from doing something challenging or even risky, even if the outcome could actually change your life for the better. If you keep avoiding challenges, your brain will get used to the idea that you can’t handle anything remotely hard in your life, let alone make a mistake or fail, which can damage your self-esteem and make you even more afraid of the world and its challenges.

Do you think you have low or high self-esteem? What could help someone build their confidence?

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