When it comes to having a low sense of self-worth, the signs can be loud and clear. Negative self-talk, poor body image, feeling generally not ‘enough’ can all sing in harmony to make us feel rubbish. But sometimes the signs are more subtle and we may not even recognise them as low self-worth initially. These signs are like whispers, barely audible, but just as crushing in the long-term.
I thought it could be helpful to share some of these signs. The reasons behind them may be complex and not solely to do with your sense of worth, but if you recognise any, I’d invite you to ask yourself what’s behind them.
1. Difficulty making decisions
This is one I learnt about recently when researching my 100 self-worth tips for charity, and it’s one I definitely recognise. When we don’t value ourselves, we don’t value our opinion or ability to make a decision. This can lead to us asking others to make decisions for us. Ultimately this just furthers our lack of self-worth as we cement that others know better.
I’m a lot better at making decisions now than I used to be, but it’s one I have to keep an eye on. If you relate to this, start small and try making some small decisions yourself, pausing before you automatically turn to others for their input.
Another one I recognise, and I’m sure I’m not alone. This shows up for me when I’m doing something that feels difficult in some way. My procrastination tool of choice is scrolling social media. For you it might be cleaning, answering emails or getting a new idea that suddenly feels more important than the one you’re currently working on (Josephine Brooks calls these ‘shiny ideas’ which I love).
Procrastination is one way we tell ourselves we’re not capable of doing the thing we’re putting off. This is a tough one to tackle but recognising your procrastination go-to tool is a helpful first step. Once you identify this you can find tactics to move away from the tool. For me this looks like putting my phone out of reach, using the pomodoro technique and listening to music that helps me focus.
3. Lack of boundaries
Wobbly boundaries (or non-existent boundaries in some cases) can be sneaky. You may notice you’re working later than usual or that you’re overwhelmed with tasks that should be on other people’s lists. Overwhelm in general can be a glaring sign that your boundaries need work as it’s likely your boundaries have been crossed.
When we value ourselves, we honour our boundaries and hold them strong. So, setting boundaries and reinforcing them is an excellent way to affirm your sense of worth.
Comparing ourselves to others is totally human, I want to make that perfectly clear. When we’re doing it excessively and using it as a tool to harm ourselves with, this is often a lack of self-worth talking.
Try to spot when comparison comes up for you and how you react. Can you become curious about this comparison? Do you need to mute/unfollow some people on social media? Do you need to diversify the content you consume and reset your reference points?
5. Unable to express yourself
I did a podcast episode about self-expression recently because it really is so entwined with self-worth, it’s like the final piece of the puzzle. When we value ourselves, we value what we have to say and feel more comfortable doing that. This may be through the clothes we wear, what we share and even what we do.
If you’re finding it difficult to express, or even truly know who you are, this may be a sign for you to work on your self-worth. I share some tips and exercises in this episode of my podcast to help with this.
There we have it, do you recognise any of these signs? I’ve definitely struggled with all of them at one time or another on my self-worth journey. If this is an area you’re keen to work on, my first e-book, Growth Spurt: Sprout + Seedling might be helpful. In it I share the first steps on this journey, including identifying limiting beliefs and changing the narrative. There are journal prompts and exercises included too, so you can start making progress straight away.
This book is a free gift to anyone who signs up to my mailing list, so if you’d like it, please subscribe and let me know how you get on with it.
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