Symptoms of Low Self-Worth

Friday Aug 3 - Symptoms of Low Self-Worth -

How to Recognize How and Where Low Self-Worth Shows Up In Your Life

This is going to be a two part blog because I really want to focus on facilitating your understanding of where and how low self-worth shows up in your life.  The next blog will teach you how to begin addressing and healing those low self-worth issues. (click to read that blog)

Many of the clients that I work with really struggle to comprehend and define what self-worth is.

The word holds a lot of power and when we have lived a life of dis-empowerment, abuse, neglect, and negativity, whether that stemmed from ourselves or other people, it becomes confusing.

But self-worth is simply how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with the world around us.

The second part of the definition is super important because for many of us, that’s where our low self-worth typically shows up. But low self-worth issues show up differently for people, depending on your experiences and where the low self-worth stems from.


For some people, low self-worth shows up as:

  1. Over-Apologizing: For years I apologized for everything.

    It became so prevalent that the people around me were becoming easily annoyed by it.

    There’s a difference between apologizing because you have done something wrong or engaged in that creates harm. However, when you are operating from a place of low self-worth, the apologies are not about anything you have done.

    You begin apologizing for other people’s behaviors, attitudes, and actions. At some point, you may even find yourself apologizing for taking up space, being present, having needs, and at some point because of low self-worth, you may even find yourself apologizing for breathing.

  2. Rarely Have An Opinion: As we have more and more experiences that rob us of our self-worth, we begin using our voice and having an opinion less and less.

    People who live with a sense of low self-worth rarely have an opinion on anything that might upset, bother, offend, or irritate anyone else. When we are living with low self-worth, we rarely have an opinion that we are willing to share about food, clothing, politics, religion, people, or ourselves. Don’t even try to ask people who have low self-worth what restaurant you want to go to.

  3. Anxiousness: When you are living with such a deep sense of low self-worth, it becomes “normal” to live with a certain level of anxiety.

    It goes much deeper than just avoiding conflict. Many people find themselves avoiding interacting with people, living the life of their passions, and showing up for themselves or anyone else.

    When you don’t feel positively about yourself, it’s difficult to engage in many of these activities. And typically, society doesn’t understand the lack of engagement which just increases the anxiety that occurs.

    People who live with low self-worth typically live with what could be described as a constant low level of anxiety.

  4. Self-Neglect/Self-Abuse: We live in a culture where self-neglect and self-abuse have become such common place that many people now think that’s how things are supposed to be.

    When you are operating from a place of low self-worth it is next to impossible to make yourself a priority. It’s also a struggle to take really good care of yourself or meet your own needs.

    Asking for your needs to be met and taking good care of yourself require a sense of worthiness. In the past, I was not able to say I needed to rest (or any other need) so I ended up over committing to everything.

    In the end, I either went (exhausted, resentful, and inattentive) or I blew them off and beat myself up for not being able to keep my commitment. I worked tirelessly to fix this habit but none of it changed until I addressed my own low self-worth.

  5. Feeling Shame: Shame is often described as that feeling of not being good enough.

    Shame is so often at the core of low self-worth. Shame strips us of pride and confidence on a regular basis.

    Shame shows up in many different ways. However, for many of the clients I work with, it’s indicated by experiencing any of the following: addiction, relationship issues, poor life choices, job instability, financial difficulties, and the act of consistently setting yourself up for failure.

    Some of my clients describe it as that powerless sensation of knowing that something is not a good choice for you, but not being able to stop the behavior or action that sets it into motion.

  6. Lack Of Boundaries: Many of my clients have never actually given any concrete thoughts to what they want their boundaries to consist of.

    Even more of them have never considered that they have the power to dictate and determine what their personal boundaries are.

    When we have no boundaries, people are allowed to treat us however they want, engage with us in whatever way they see fit, and we have no limits. Many of the clients who I work with, who live with low self-worth, talk about how they never even realized it was okay to begin setting their own boundaries.

    The act of giving themselves permission to set up their own boundaries has proven to be very rewarding in every instance.

It’s no real secret that people who are operating from a low self-worth framework typically make less than stellar decisions about jobs, relationships, money, experiences, etc. My goal with this blog was to help you begin to recognize yourself and introduce you to the path of healing. Next week’s blog will talk about how to begin changing your self-worth issues.

If you’re ready to address these issues that show up, Email Coaching is now available to allow you to access solutions without commitment of losing time or money.  

Jenn Bovee is a psychotherapist and Wholeness Coach. She teaches clients all over the world how to step into their worth and create the life of their fantasies.

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