How Low Self-Esteem Can Ruin Your Life (Both Professionally & Privately)

Megan Smith
 min read

How low self-esteem can ruin your life is something we all need to understand.

How Low Self-Esteem Can Ruin Your Life (Both Professionally & Privately)Having self-confidence is fundamental to a fulfilling life. Indeed, lacking self-confidence can have significant consequences.

As a whole, everyone experiences low self-esteem at some point but on a daily basis this can have a devastating impact. Feelings of frustration and disappointment that add to the problem will be prevalent and affect your personal and private life, but the good news is that this can be changed.

Everyone faces a period of low self-esteem and feeling like a loser at some point in their lives. And this feeling is perfectly normal and is part of our identity construction.

How low self-esteem can ruin your life: Introduction

On a daily basis, the consequences of a lack of self-confidence can be severe. As a result of this loss of confidence, you don’t do what you want or what you could do.

You feel frustrated, dissatisfied, and sometimes even exploited. You feel like you are accumulating failures and blame yourself for them. All these feelings only increase your lack of confidence.

Indeed, your image of yourself is negative, and relationships with others are complicated. This is how low self-esteem can sabotage the development of your talents and ruin your life.

But don’t worry, it’s all part of a mechanism. Be aware that any mechanism can be reversed and any vicious circle transformed into a positive one.

In this article, we will discover together how the lack of self-confidence can spoil our daily life.

Blockages, failures and leaks: the behaviors of low self-confidence

When we have lack self-confidence, we tend to act and react in several ways:

You tend to run away from situations

You try to avoid many situations as much as possible, such as:

  • You don’t dare enter the restaurant first and prefer to let your friend pass.
  • You don’t want to speak in public, whether in a private or professional sphere. You tend to ask your colleague to talk instead of you during a presentation.
  • You don’t receive people at home for fear that people will judge it or your way of welcoming them.
  • You don’t dare to make the first move toward a person you are attracted to. You wait for them to invite you to dinner.

You don’t dare to act

As the saying goes: all you need is the will to succeed! Indeed, this is often true, but you must have confidence in yourself to do so.

Indeed, if you lack self-confidence, it is not the will to act that is missing but rather that you do not dare to act. Lack of self-confidence blocks you from expressing your needs and desires.

Not having self-confidence prevents you from getting what you want. This is not due to a lack of willpower but rather to a difficulty or impossibility to act, and this is how low self-esteem can ruin your life.

What is the mechanism of this “blockage” to action?

This blocking mechanism can be defined as ‘the fear of not succeeding.’ Indeed, you anticipate failure, and therefore you are paralyzed in action.

It is possible to break this vicious circle at any point. So, for example, if you decide to put failure into perspective and try something that, if it fails, will not have consequences, you will be promoting a move that will have a high chance of success.

To do this, choose an area you are good at, and most importantly, surround yourself with caring people. If you do this, that vicious cycle will reverse.

This shows that self-confidence is a process, a mechanism that can be reversed. If you lack confidence, there are solutions.

You accumulate losses in your life

Losses can be expressed as follows:

  • You don’t have the position you want at work because you don’t know how to put yourself forward.
  • Your spouse is not worthy of you, and all your friends tell you so. But you devalue yourself, and you’d rather stay with a companion who keeps you in this state of devaluation.
  • Your friends are exploiting you. Indeed, you are always the first to help, and it is always one way. When you need them, they are not there. You don’t dare demand that they return the attention you have given them.

You are a camouflage specialist

You act like a little mouse, hardly heard, and you go to the back of the meeting room or to a corner of the reception room at a party, always trying to be as discreet as possible.

The flashy or elegant outfit is not for you: you bet on a good old pair of jeans and a loose sweater or clothes that do not attract attention.

Generally, you look at your feet and speak in a low, barely audible voice. You devalue yourself all the time.

If someone comes up to you to make contact, you start to blush and try to escape.

However, behind all these apparent inhibition behaviors, it’s the opposite in your head: you are constantly thinking.

Indeed, you keep telling yourself: “Who am I going to be taken for? How will I react if I am approached?”.

The technique of camouflage is second nature, and this is how low self-esteem can ruin your life. Indeed, everything you do is aimed at nobody noticing you.

People who adopt this technique try to anticipate everything or at least avoid the unexpected, which can terrorize them.

For example, they like to find out who is invited to the party ahead of time.

They also hate unprepared trips and surprises because they think they will not be able to cope with them. They like to prepare oral presentations well in advance to avoid all pitfalls and criticism.

You avoid again and again

  • To embark on new projects
  • To take advantage of opportunities
  • To create and innovate
  • To meet new people.

Having a poor self-image

These negative thoughts about yourself keep you in a climate of personal dissatisfaction. If you ignore it, it can lead to psychological problems, explaining how low self-esteem behaviors and undervaluing yourself can ruin your life.

It is therefore essential to relearn how to talk to yourself differently, to speak more positively about yourself.

However, it’s not just your self-image that matters: you’re also making others feel bad about you.

Indeed, by putting yourself in the background and devaluing yourself, others may think you are insignificant. That’s why it’s important to learn how to look your best.

The main negative thoughts when lacking self-confidence

Here are some examples of negative thoughts when you lack confidence:

  • I suck.
  • I have nothing interesting to say.
  • I’m never going to make it.
  • He (she) will leave me.
  • No one will love me anymore.
  • I won’t get any attention.
  • I was clumsy again.
  • If I do that, I’ll hurt the other person.
  • I am not smart enough.

Negative emotions

Apart from negative thoughts, several emotions can be experienced when you lack self-confidence:

Fear or worry

It is the fear of not succeeding, the unexpected that paralyzes you and prevents you from acting.

Taking action represents a phenomenal effort for you but also a risk that can be catastrophic.

You feel that you will not be able to cope. Therefore you live in a perpetual state of worry to anticipate the unexpected.

Sadness or discouragement

Being defeatist or feeling inferior are emotions related to sadness and discouragement.

Deep down, you believe you are an uninteresting person and incapable of doing nice things.

You often feel lonely and sad, and you don’t see life in a positive light.

Shame or fear of disappointment

You can experience shame and embarrassment when you lack self-confidence (and feelings of fear of disappointment too).

You think that others will misjudge you. You are so afraid of disappointing others that it leads you to be as discreet as possible.


For you, everything is your fault. So you blame yourself and think it’s best to stay back and do as little as possible to avoid being responsible and guilty.

A feeling of exclusion

You feel apart, an outsider, not integrated, and this leads you to think that you are not like the others, that you are excluded.

There is a way of thinking and behaving for each of these negative emotions. All of these behaviors will result in you not having a good self-image.

These emotions can also manifest themselves physically. Indeed, as soon as you are in trouble, your body reacts: you blush, get hot flashes, and your heart starts beating very fast. Sometimes your hands may shake, and you may stammer.

In extreme cases, a person may experience nausea and panic attacks.

A lack of assertiveness with others

There are five main difficulties that we can encounter in our relationships with others.

You don’t dare to express your needs and desires: First difficulty

This first difficulty can be found in several areas. For example, if lost on vacation, you would rather spend hours trying to find your destination rather than ask a passerby for fear of disturbing them.

You prefer to do without your change at the store rather than ask the merchant for it.

Asking your boss to leave an hour early for a medical appointment seems impossible because you think he will automatically refuse this request.

Daring to ask your sports partner to drop you off at home is also a mission impossible. You would rather walk home in the rain than disturb him.

You don’t dare ask for these things in all areas of your life because many preconceived ideas get in the way: “I’m afraid of disturbing. The others must guess my needs.”

However, not expressing your needs to others has consequences on your self-confidence.

You don’t dare say no: Second difficulty

When you can’t say “no,” others will tend to take advantage of you beyond limits. You don’t even know the limit because you are not used to opposing.

Not knowing how to say no can have significant consequences:

  • The boundaries of your privacy, of what you accept and reject, are not always clear to others.
  • Others exploit you. You are always doing the service, and you never get anything back.
  • Your partner forces you to perform sexual acts against your personal desires, and you don’t dare say no.
  • This charitable attitude gives you a good image; you are perceived as sociable and kind. But you, you feel like a “sucker.”

You don’t dare to assert yourself when something bothers you: Third difficulty

For fear of other people’s reactions, you prefer to keep your criticism to yourself. Here’s what you stand to lose if you don’t express what’s bothering you:

  • Your spouse devalues you daily. And because you lack self-confidence, you think he’s right, and you let him.
  • Your children are making a mess at home. You grumble inside and clear up without telling them off.
  • Your friend continues to make fun of you in front of your friends by revealing something private of yours. You don’t dare tell him that this bothers and annoys you.
  • Your neighbor disturbs your sleep when he comes home late and is noisy. You don’t dare ask him to keep it down.

Here are also examples of thoughts that prevent you from expressing what bothers you:

  • I’m asking too much. I am too demanding.
  • There is no point; they will never change for me.
  • I will not be able to express myself.
  • I’m going to start a conflict.

You don’t put yourself forward enough: Fourth difficulty

When you lack self-confidence, only your blunders and failures will monopolize your energy and hold your attention.

Generally, you are not used to congratulating yourself on your positive actions or qualities. You are highly discreet with others and do not dare to show your abilities.

You prefer to let others show off for you. You don’t like to be in a leadership position because you are too afraid of being noticed. Instead, you prefer to work in the shadows and put others first.

Even if we have good self-esteem, it is essential daily to learn how to maintain it so that it is maintained throughout our lives. Working on self-confidence is never finished.

Here are the top biases that keep you from looking your best:

  • To say that I did this or that well is pretentious!
  • Doing your job well is expected.
  • Apart from perfection, nothing is remarkable.
  • If I put too much emphasis on myself, I’ll drown out the others.
  • I don’t want to attract jealousy and hostility.

You don’t protect yourself when you feel attacked: Fifth and final difficulty

In the workplace, if you are criticized by your supervisor or colleague, you may be completely paralyzed and speechless.

You will behave passively, i.e., let someone else assert their rights, and you will not express your thoughts.

If this type of situation is repeated daily, you risk starting a vicious circle that will diminish your self-confidence.

In fact, this vicious circle may lead you, little by little, into a mechanism called “learned helplessness.”

Learned helplessness

This mechanism works as follows:

If the person feels powerless to change things, they may say: “Whether I act or not, it will not change anything; whether I respond to these criticisms or not, it will not change anything either!”

If this learned helplessness mechanism is repeated, it can develop a severe depressive state. Without getting to that point, if you don’t protect yourself, it will have consequences in different areas:

  • You devalue yourself because you can’t defend yourself
  • You are degraded in public, in front of your colleagues, your friends, or your family
  • You run away from and avoid anything that could cause a conflict
  • You rarely or never express your opinion, or you let others express theirs too much
  • Aggressive people and stalkers like to pick on you

This attitude results from specific, prejudiced thoughts you may harbor: “If this person criticizes me, he or she must be partly right” or “the superiors have all the rights, even to question the person.”

It is essential to understand that you must be open to criticism of your behavior because this is a source of progress and personal evolution. Criticism can also be positive and constructive. They allow you to improve your life.

On the other hand, it is important to know how to defend yourself when someone attacks you or judges you on your value. You have to protect yourself when you feel attacked because otherwise, your self-confidence may decrease that little bit more.

In summary, we can say that you are tolerant of others criticizing you but be careful; it is better to protect yourself when you are attacked about what you are.

Each person must ensure their own psychological survival and not let their self-image be destroyed. Otherwise, you will worsen your lack of self-confidence.

It is possible to defend yourself without being aggressive. Indeed, aggressive responses will quickly lead to conflict, and avoiding this type of escalation is best.

Lack of self-confidence disrupts all areas of life

Lack of self-confidence can invade many areas:

Your life as a couple

When you lack self-confidence, and your relationship is on the rocks, it is possible to go to couple therapy which can address two issues:

  • First of all, there can be a real phobia of solitude. Wanting to stay in a relationship rather than alone needs to be addressed.
  • Choosing a partner who really corresponds to combined life projects and who is not merely an antidote to loneliness.

For years, by mixing these two problems, many people in a relationship find themselves in a vicious circle from which they cannot escape.

Being with a person who will devalue you daily will accentuate your lack of self-confidence. It won’t help you to leave this toxic relationship.

In a couple, it is important to accept yourself and the other person as they are.

Your friendships

Lack of self-confidence often leads you to compare yourself to others. This can result in: “evaluation anxiety.” And with this feeling, you can quickly get into a jealous crisis with your friends.

Moreover, suppose you tend to focus only on your disappointments and be defeatist. In that case, you may also neglect and ignore your friends.

As a result, they will start to feel neglected, finding you “too navel-gazing,” and they will move away from you.

If you regain your self-confidence, you will no longer need to compare yourself to others and no longer need to feel better than them to feel good.

You can then be satisfied with the success of your friends without jealousy.

You will move from possessive relationships, where the other serves as your point of comparison, to more “liberating” relationships where each person exists for themselves.

Your work

But it is not only in the private sphere where lack of self-confidence can completely disrupt your life.

Indeed, this lack of self-acceptance and self-esteem in your professional career can prevent you from developing fully in your career.

In fact, many employees often ask to be demoted or refuse responsibilities for which they could be eligible, not because of a lack of skills but rather a lack of confidence.

Indeed, this kind of attitude makes them feel they are not sure they can handle the challenges that this responsibility represents. As a result, they do not feel capable of taking on new tasks.

Being confident at work allows you to showcase your skills and accept new challenges that will enable you to grow professionally.

How low self-esteem can ruin your life: Conclusion

The lack of self-confidence is a feeling that disrupts all areas of life, whether it is your professional life, personal life, intimacy, family relationships, or friendships and this is how low self-esteem can ruin your life

It is not always easy to assert oneself for fear of being judged, criticized, or even ostracized by others.

However, it is essential to realize that each person is different and has qualities and positive sides that can be shared with those around them.

Lacking self-confidence can ruin your life, so learning to love and accept yourself is essential. Understand how low self-esteem can cause health problems and how it can ruin your life so as to stop it.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More