Low Self-Esteem Behaviors: Effects of Undervaluing Yourself

Megan Smith
 min read

Low self-esteem behaviors include avoidance and inaction strategies for fear of failure.

Low Self-Esteem Behaviors: Effects of Undervaluing YourselfThis behavior leads to never feeling good enough, never measuring up to others, and suffering terribly within.

Low self-esteem can lead to avoidance behaviors and inaction, robbing ourselves of potential success in life. Low self-esteem also prevents us from building and living life to our maximum potential by continuously shying away from opportunities for fear of failure.

Read on to uncover the profile of those with low self-esteem and how it affects their daily lives.

Low self-esteem behaviors: Introduction

Self-esteem can be defined as a psychological concept that refers to the overall positive or negative judgment that a person has of him or herself.

This self-esteem will depend on several parameters such as the environment, education, personality, physical and intellectual abilities, etc.

All of these variables will influence the judgment we make about ourselves.

Self-esteem instability and especially low self-esteem can lead to unhappiness and difficulties in relationships with other people. It is also a risk factor for developing certain psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety.

Even if they are used to it, therapists are always surprised by the strange way people with low self-esteem look at themselves.

Indeed, they do not see what is beautiful and good in them as worthy of esteem as their qualities and skills.

These people do not invent their defects. These are all there with imperfections and limitations. But, you should know that these defects are the same as everyone else’s.

Of course, this is not obvious since we are constantly bombarded with only the best (and often edited) photos of friends and family on social media. This creates an impossible ideal of beauty in our minds which is sure to make us feel unworthy.

In addition, people with low self-esteem often will give no relativization, distance, or leniency towards these minor flaws. Instead, they will do everything to avoid showing their faces to people and prevent themselves from living freely.

Low self-esteem leads to comparisons with others

People with low self-esteem tend to watch and observe others but don’t understand how others manage to live well with their defects.

Indeed, they will scrutinize them because they are constantly engaged in the toxic game of social comparisons. These comparisons are not only poisonous but also biased in the sense that these people will only look at what is better in others.

Therefore, the comparison will be painful and not motivating.

Sometimes it is possible to compare yourself downwards, which can be reassuring at the time. But then, very soon or a little later, you can add to that insecurity and worry and think about a possible future where you wonder:

“What if I end up like that, too?”

How to protect yourself when you have low self-esteem

Is it possible to live with low self-esteem? Yes, if you don’t take risks and therefore protect your self-esteem.

This protection can be translated in the following way. If one dares to seek some recognition of one’s value, one will do so with caution, avoiding any risk of failure. Indeed, it would be too painful, especially if others witness it.

As a result, social valuations are likely to be rare.

We will act prudently without taking any risks. If possible, we only act when it is safe to do so.

From a relational point of view, one will seek acceptance at all costs and try to be accepted and appreciated, rather than conquering or enterprising.

People with low self-esteem will avoid conflict and anything that might cause rejection, such as giving their opinion or asking for something that might be upsetting.

These people will wait to be reassured that they are appreciated before they relax and reveal themselves.

As a result of their fear of rejection, they will take few initiatives, which would imply risk-taking.

In the end, they depend a lot on the goodwill of others. Sometimes, this even leads to problematic hyper empathy: we are too much in the head of others, imagining their needs to the point of forgetting our own.

Characteristics of low self-esteem

People with low self-esteem will forget to think about themselves by thinking about what others think of them.

A low self-esteem is a form of alienation: indeed, one feels empty and boring.

Low self-esteem prevents us from existing and building ourselves. It forces us to obey the logic of “above all not to be noticed nor rejected.”

One tends to work towards the construction of a sub-self that is dull, odorless, tasteless, but also undetectable.

From the outside, low self-esteem seems to have made the choice of renunciation: renouncing leading roles, the spotlight, and any form of competition that is too visible.

The main characteristics are, therefore, avoidance and under-positioning concerning capacities.

These people have developed a great art of dodging the risk of social judgment. In fact, we try not to stand out but also not to be left behind.

Their lack of confidence leads them to take no action, or as little as possible, for fear of failure and the social consequences of failure.

Tip: Check out our other post for a detailed overview of symptoms of low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem behaviors

The construction and acceptance of a sub-self have some advantages. One obtains relative tranquility and total social acceptability by renouncing all pressure and competition.

Indeed, we do not bother anyone anymore, except those who had hopes and expectations of our performance.


People with low self-esteem have avoidance and evasion behaviors that are a kind of social lubricant.

One might ask what life would be like in an environment populated by nervous, combative high self-esteem? To know this, one only has to look at the world of cinema, television, or politics.

However, it should be noted that avoiding failures also avoids taking action and consequently avoiding successes, which leads to a real devaluation.

This devaluation is not only a feeling but an objectively less rich and dense life, a personal impoverishment by diminution and limitation of new experiences.


Another risk of behavior would be to fall into frustration and bitterness due to giving up, seeing others pass us by, get by, succeed, savor and display their successes.

Low self-esteem behaviors: Conclusion

Self-esteem is a concept built during childhood that evolves throughout life with experiences of success and failure.

Low self-esteem can lead to avoidance behaviors and inaction, robbing life of potential success.

People with low self-esteem prefer to withdraw from others and do not dare to assert themselves; therefore, they tend to forget their own needs.

They also live in renunciation and will not put themselves forward or attend competitions. They try to be as discreet as possible and remain unnoticed.

The position of low self-esteem is always painful, especially if it is not a free choice.

Low self-esteem prevents us from building and living life to our maximum potential. Therefore, one must become aware of one’s value, qualities, and defects and avoid systematically comparing oneself to others.

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