Signs of Low Self Esteem in a Woman

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA (Clinical Psychology)

Last updated date : March 06, 2023

Self-esteem is the manner in which we judge ourselves. In simpler words, it is self-worth. It is related to a variety of factors such as self-confidence and competence. People with higher self-esteem like themselves. They do not beat themselves up for tiny mistakes. They are more willing to bounce back from tough times. In this article, we explore what low self-esteem looks like especially in the context of gender. We look at signs of low self-esteem in a woman. We understand what are the benefits of self-esteem in general.

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Chapter 1:

Why Study Signs of Low Self-Esteem in a Woman?

Women beat themselves up for even tiny mistakes. For instance, in top positions, a woman with low self-esteem is too hard on herself if she fumbles. In a sports event, women will end up saying ‘sorry’ often compared to men. Why is it that women rank lower in self-esteem compared to men?

Evolution and socio-cultural factors seem to play a role. As little girls, women often refrain from several activities in the majority of households. For instance, some families stop a girl from rough and tumble play. She mostly plays indoors. A girl is not given chance to explore the outdoors alone. This is why many women across the globe are dependent.

Now we can see a wave of equality and a call for women to stand shoulder to shoulder with men. However, due to past traumas and years of conditioning, a psychological predisposition to low self-esteem is present in women. Here are some signs of low self-esteem in a woman.

Low Self-Confidence
Picture this, Betty has an important presentation to give on Friday. She has been practicing her script for umpteen times now. She has done her research thoroughly. Practice polishes confidence, doesn’t it? However as the day of the presentation arrives, Betty just cannot focus on it. Sweat rolls down her forehead and she is scared about the male opinions. She feels that she isn’t cut out for the role.

Why does this happen? Betty is extremely critical of herself as we can observe. She has had enough practice, she is knowledgeable and she has the expertise. However, the fear of being judged by her ‘male’ counterparts drops her confidence.

Lack of Initiative
Women with low self-worth do not make the first move. In a classroom activity, girls who lack self-worth do not raise their hands for asking questions. Even in offices, women with low self-worth refrain from taking top positions.

Women with low self-worth like to believe that they will not perform well in leadership positions. Additionally, they underestimate their potential.

One of the signs of low self-esteem in women is that they become hostile and defensive. A woman with low self-worth may get overly defensive of her flaws. Note, that a person with high self-worth is aware of their flaws and accepts them. However, someone with low self-worth will be very insecure if their flaws are exposed. They may end up getting angry with the person who points out their flaws.

Lack of Sense of Identity
Women with low self-worth, struggle with their identity. Either they are ashamed of it or they are in denial. Many women with low self-worth blame themselves for being born a woman. They beat often put their gender down. They do not find pride in their identity as a female. Moreover, as women have to play several roles in their lives, many of which are imposed by society, they feel restricted. For instance, a woman may want to be a traveler. However, due to societal pressure, she may end up marrying someone. This may bring some amount of internal conflict. On one hand, she identifies as a traveler and a free soul and on the other she finds herself trapped in the role of a homemaker. This leads to an identity crisis.

Sensitivity to Criticism
Another common sign of low self-esteem in women is over sensitivity to harsh comments. Have you noticed that some people tend to take any kind of criticism as a personal attack? People with low self-worth get easily hurt over small remarks. They believe that any negative feedback means failure. A person with high self-worth does not take offense easily. They work on the feedback.

Hesitant to Ask For Help
One of the common signs of low self-esteem in a woman is that they feel shy when asking for help. They would rather struggle and find their way out. For instance, at an airport, they will feel scared to ask for directions. They believe that asking for help is a sign of failure. Women with low self-worth fear asking for help because they believe others will laugh at them.

Fear of Failure
Women with low self-esteem often engage in negative self-talk. They have a fear of failure. This is also a reason why they don’t take initiative. They believe that if they fail, they will defame the name of the entire gender. Additionally, they feel that they will embarrass themselves if they fail.

Pleasing Others
Women with low self-esteem tend to please others around them. Women with low self-esteem often end up going out of their way to help others, even when not required. They often overcompensate for small mistakes that they have done. They end up blaming themselves if something goes wrong with others. Often, external conditions may have caused a specific problem. However, they internalize the blame. In a debate, even if they have a different opinion, they will agree with the general opinion.

Chapter 2:

What Are Some Causes for Low Self-Esteem in Women?

As discussed earlier, women’s brains are predisposed to low self-esteem due to years of conditioning. Additionally, several reasons lead to low self-esteem in some women such as:

  1. Insecure childhood- A girl’s parents may be extremely strict and restricting. They may have stopped her from doing many things.
  2. Comparison: Comparison with peers or siblings can lead to low self-esteem in children.
  3. Relationships: Toxic relationships can lead to low self-esteem in women.
  4. Mental illness: Women who suffer from a mental disorder are harshly criticized by society. People are not gentle with women who suffer from a mental disorders. They often blame her as an attention seeker.
  5. Body image issues: Women who suffer from body image issues also have low self-esteem. They believe that everyone around them will judge them based on their body and not on their competence.

Chapter 3:

Benefits of high self-esteem

There are many signs and causes of low self-esteem in women. It is important to understand these signs so that women can catch them and correct them. We live in an era where women have to work hand in hand with males.

The need of the hour is to have many women in leadership positions. There are many benefits of self-esteem. A woman with high self-esteem does not let her emotions come in the way of decision-making. Additionally, women with high self-esteem can take better decisions for the entire race. Women are needed in decision-making positions. Therefore women with high self-esteem are essential at this age.

There are other benefits of self-esteem. Women start taking leadership positions. They do not let gender bias come in the way of making progress. Another benefit of self-esteem is that women become gentle with themselves and take feedback positively.

At Epsychonline, there are self-help courses that focus on self-image. These can benefit in improving self-esteem. These courses are curated by experts. If you are a woman suffering from issues like body image or self-worth, do check them out.

"Quizzes and recommendations were very uselful" Donna

87 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount