People who try to compensate for a lack of self-worth often display these 9 behaviors

It would be nice to live in a world in which we all felt valued and respected for our contributions to society.

Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.

That’s a shame, because every single one of us has something to offer the world, and there’s nothing quite as sad as someone who sells themselves short and who doesn’t realize how awesome they are.

But how can we spot these people, and what does it look like when someone lacks that all-important self-worth?

Let’s take a look.

1) They find their self-worth in the goods they own

When we find our self-worth via the things we own, it’s easy for us to compensate for a lack of self-worth.

All we have to do is go shopping.

Admittedly, that’s easier for some people than for others and it really depends upon the amount of disposable income you have available.

Because of this, some people who lack self-worth actually end up in high-paying jobs, because they’ve built their entire life around earning enough money to buy more stuff.

This can sound attractive to a certain kind of person, but the thing to remember is that it can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Before long, you’re working for the sake of working.

2) They seek approval from others

People who seek approval from others naturally find that their sense of self-worth is controlled by those other people.

This is obviously bad news because we’d all like to believe that we control our own destinies.

But the second we start seeking approval for others, we hand over that control.

True, we’re human beings and as human beings, we naturally love having the approval of others.

But there’s a difference between appreciating that approval when it comes and going out of your way to get it.

Ultimately, we should find self-worth on our own terms and if we receive approval as a result of that, even better.

3) They’re perfectionists

It’s no surprise that people who struggle with their self-worth tend to also display perfectionist tendencies.

In fact, the two of them are related.

These people are so dedicated to doing a good job of things that they’ll find their self-worth in how perfect their work is, and this creates an obvious problem.

True perfection is impossible to find, and it’s foolish for us to try.

Those people who are content in their self-worth know this, and so instead of being perfectionists, they just try to do the best job that they can.

Instead of being perfectionists, we should practice the art of “good enough”.

4) They find it hard to say no

Another common issue for those who lack self-worth is that when people ask them to do something, they tend to do it.

That’s because their own self-worth is so low that they need validation from other people.

This comes back round to that second point but builds upon it to the point at which they become “yes men”.

This isn’t always a problem, and saying yes at work can actually work wonders for your career.

Just make sure that you’re saying yes because you want to do the job in question, and not just because you want the validation.

In fact, while it can seem like saying yes is a shortcut to finding validation from others, they’ll often respect you more if you say no.

5) They struggle to accept compliments

I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of my self-worth, but even I still struggle with compliments.

But people with a poor sense of self-worth are particularly bad at accepting compliments.

Part of this is because they don’t believe them, and part is because they’re second guessing the reason behind those compliments.

In other words, they’re thinking, “This person can’t possibly mean what they’re saying. So why are they saying it?”

The big irony here is that if they were able to accept those compliments, they might have a stronger sense of self-worth.

6) They compare themselves negatively towards others

One of the reasons why people struggle with their self-worth is that they often compare themselves to others.

This is a danger in the social media era because we’re only seeing the airbrushed versions of people’s lives.

We never see when they themselves are struggling with their self-worth.

Because of this, it shouldn’t be a surprise that people who frequently compare themselves to others also typically do so negatively.

But there’s good news, which is that it’s simple enough to solve this one.

Just turn your phone off.

7) They set unrealistic goals

Another common issue amongst people who are trying to compensate for a lack of self-worth is that they’ll set goals that they’re unlikely to ever achieve.

It’s essentially a type of wishful thinking, but it’s also a sure-fire way to perpetuate the cycle.

They’re setting themselves up for failure.

What happens is that they set an unrealistic goal and fail to meet it, and that dents their self-esteem and their self-worth.

Then, they try to fix that by setting themselves another goal.

Unfortunately, that new goal is inevitably unrealistic, too.

8) They’re indecisive

While some of the other points that we’ve looked at are factors that lead to people having a lack of self-worth, this one comes about as a result of it.

Their low self-worth means that they don’t trust their own instincts and are quick to discount them.

They’re also less likely to be adventurous, because they feel as though adventures are for other people.

This leads to them being indecisive about… well, pretty much everything.

It’s true when they’re making important decisions like whether to leave one job for another, but it’s also true when they’re deciding what to eat at a restaurant.

And so if you can’t quite decide whether you lack self-worth or not, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you.

9) They have imposter’s syndrome

You’ve probably already heard of imposter’s syndrome, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick refresher.

Basically, imposter’s syndrome is what people experience when they feel as though they’re unqualified or underqualified for something.

In my case, I’m a writer by trade, and I used to struggle with imposter’s syndrome when I first started out and people told me that they’d read my books.

It didn’t matter whether they liked them or not, just the fact that they’d read them was enough to set me off.

These days, I have a much greater sense of self-worth and so I don’t struggle so much.

But the same can’t be said for everyone.


Now that you know how to spot the common behaviors that we see amongst people who are trying to compensate for a lack of self-worth, you’re ready to put what you’ve learned into action.

Perhaps you’re worried about your own sense of self-worth, or perhaps you recognize some of these behaviors amongst your friends, family members or co-workers.

Whatever the case, as with so many things in life, knowing is half the battle.

Once someone knows that they’re lacking self-worth, they can start looking for ways to build it up.

After all, everyone in this world has something to bring to the metaphorical table.

You’re awesome and very much worthwhile, even if you don’t realize it.

Good luck out there.

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