15 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem In A Man You Shouldn’t Ignore

Last updated on July 14th, 2024 at 04:15 pm

From self-doubt to seeking constant validation, discover the 15 telltale signs of low self-esteem in a man and how to address them.

Low self-esteem is a pervasive issue that affects countless individuals irrespective of gender.

In the case of men, societal expectations and norms often make it challenging for them to express vulnerability and seek help.

And that is why you are always under pressure to prove yourself.

While others can navigate this situation with ease, others take the other route of defeat and show signs of low self-esteem.

However, understanding the signs of low self-esteem and working towards addressing them is important to improving your mental health.

We are going to explain these 15 common signs of low self-esteem in a man so you can identify them and work towards escape.

Table of Contents

An Overview of What Self-esteem is

Self-esteem interchanged with self-confidence is the overall opinion you have of yourself, covering your beliefs about your abilities, worth, and value.

Let’s describe it as how you think of yourself considering the value you think you are capable of providing.

This value you place on yourself reflects your behaviour, thoughts, and your general projection into society.

When you are confident about yourself and eager to engage with people and society, you have high self-esteem.

On the other hand, low self-esteem is the lack of confidence and value about yourself and your abilities.

Low self-esteem can lead to other uncomplimentary situations that would hamper your progress in society.

Related: Causes of Lack of Self-confidence

Signs Of Low Self-Esteem in A Man

Now that we know clearly what low self-esteem is, let’s closely examine the signs observable in men:

1. Excessive Self-criticism

Self-criticism as a sign of low self-esteem in men

Self-criticism is a foremost sign of low self-esteem in a man.

When you write yourself off and see every other person above you, you are not doing yourself any good.

You constantly berate yourself for perceived inadequacies.

This comes as negative self-talk and may manifest as an internal monologue filled with blame, guilt, and self-deprecating thoughts.

For instance, you may consistently believe you are not good enough, smart enough, or capable enough to take a step, leading to a decline in self-confidence and overall satisfaction.

Related: Self-confidence vs Arrogance

2. Seeking Constant Validation

A man seeking validation from people as a sign of low self-worth

Seeking constant validation is another sign of low self-esteem.

If you are a man who needs others to praise you or commend your effort to be happy, you need to work on your self-esteem before it gets worse.

You see yourself grappling with the approval of friends, family, coworkers, or even employers.

Your opinion does not count to you, and you will lap up every other person’s opinion and nod your head and say “yea, that’s true. You are correct. You are right”.

Instead of you to say your mind, you fear criticism and rejection and live by the dictates of others.

This need for validation can lead to an unhealthy reliance on external sources for self-worth, hindering personal growth and making it difficult to develop genuine relationships.

3. Fear of Failure

A man who is afraid to fail - one of the signs of low self-esteem in a man

Failure makes a man. If you are a man and you run away from tasks and risks because you don’t want to fail, you have low self-esteem, and this is your time to change for good.

If you fear failure, how are you going to improve? How would you conquer new grounds and break records?

Men struggling with this problem may be plagued by a crippling fear of not getting it right and what people would say.

This fear, often rooted in the belief that any failure is a reflection of your worth as a person, can prevent you from taking risks, pursuing goals, or even attempting new endeavours.

Related: Difference between Confidence and Self-esteem

4. Avoidance of Social Situations

A man who is afraid of social gathering

I was once in this category because of my introversion. But you can be an introvert without having low self-esteem.

The difference is that an introvert can overcome introversion if it’s something that would benefit him.

While he’s not battling with self-esteem problems, he is more comfortable alone.

A man with low self-esteem may become increasingly reclusive, avoiding social situations and isolating himself from others.

This is caused by a feeling of inadequacy and fear of rejection.

Fearing judgment or rejection, he may withdraw from social events, cancel plans, or decline invitations.

This isolation can exacerbate feelings of loneliness, further perpetuating a negative self-image and deepening the cycle of low self-esteem.

Related: How to Improve Confidence with Positive Self-talk

5. Constant Comparison with Others

A man who criticizes himself

Another sign of low self-esteem in a man is an unhealthy comparison of self to others is a common.

Men struggling with this issue might consistently compare their achievements, physical appearance, or other aspects of their lives to those of their peers.

This unhealthy habit often leads to feelings of inadequacy, envy, and diminished self-worth.

It is important to recognize that everyone’s journey is unique, and comparing oneself to others is an unproductive approach to self-evaluation.

6. Difficulty Accepting Compliments

Men with low self-esteem often find it difficult to accept compliments genuinely.

You see them downplay or dismiss positive feedback and sincere compliments, believing that others are simply being polite or insincere.

These compliments may be about their appearance, talents, or accomplishments, and often undermining their worth is a way to validate their opinion about themselves.

7. Perfectionism

Perfectionism can be one of the signs of low self-esteem in a man.

He may set excessively high standards for himself, feeling that anything less is unacceptable.

This desire for perfection can lead to constant stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction with his performance, regardless of the actual outcome.

Breaking free from perfectionistic tendencies involves understanding that mistakes and imperfections are part of being human and that self-worth is not solely determined by external achievements.

8. Lack of Assertiveness

Low self-esteem often manifests as an inability to assert oneself or express opinions confidently.

Men with low self-esteem may struggle with advocating for their wants and needs in various aspects of life, such as relationships, work environments, or friendships.

This reluctance to assert oneself can result in feelings of powerlessness and contribute to a perpetuating cycle of self-doubt and low self-esteem.

9. Inability to Handle Criticism

A man showing Self-sabotage because he does not have self-worth

Men with low self-esteem may find it challenging to handle constructive criticism.

Criticism can be perceived as a personal attack instead of an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Even well-intentioned feedback can elicit feelings of defensiveness, anger, or self-doubt.

Learning to accept criticism objectively and utilizing it as a tool for personal development can help break the cycle of low self-esteem.

10. Chronic Self-sabotage

A man displaying signs of low self-worth

A man struggling with low self-esteem may engage in self-sabotaging behaviours as a form of self-preservation.

He might subconsciously create obstacles or make poor choices that hinder his progress and reinforce negative self-perceptions.

These self-sabotaging patterns can manifest in various aspects of life, such as career choices, relationships, and business.

11. Fear of Taking Risks

A man with low self-esteem often exhibits a fear of taking risks due to a lack of confidence in his abilities.

This fear stems from the belief that failure would confirm their inadequacy, leading to avoidance of new challenges and missed opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Consequently, they may remain within their comfort zone, reluctant to venture into unfamiliar territory, and may struggle to take the necessary steps to advance in their careers or pursue their passions.

12. Negative Body Language

Negative body language, such as crossed arms, avoiding eye contact, or slumped posture, can be a sign of low self-esteem in a man.

These non-verbal cues often reflect inner feelings of inadequacy and discomfort in social interactions.

Such a man may subconsciously use these defensive gestures as a way to protect themselves from perceived judgment or rejection.

This negative body language can hinder their ability to form positive connections and may contribute to a cycle of reinforcing their low self-worth.

13. Difficulty in Making Decisions

Men with low self-esteem may experience difficulty in making decisions due to a lack of confidence in their judgment and abilities.

This hesitancy often stems from a fear of making the wrong choice, as they may doubt their capacity to handle the consequences.

Consequently, they may seek external validation or procrastinate when faced with decisions, perpetuating a cycle of self-doubt.

This difficulty in decision-making can hinder their personal and professional growth, as well as their ability to assert themselves in various situations.

14. Loneliness

A lonely man as a result of low self-worth

Loneliness can be a sign of low self-esteem in men as they may struggle to form and maintain meaningful connections.

Feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy can lead to self-imposed isolation, making it challenging to engage in social interactions.

This sense of loneliness may stem from a belief that they are undeserving of genuine relationships, perpetuating a cycle of low self-worth and further isolating themselves from potential sources of support and companionship.

15. Tolerating Mistreatment

Men with low self-esteem may tolerate mistreatment as they may believe they deserve it or fear standing up for themselves.

This behavior can stem from a lack of self-worth and confidence, leading them to accept negative treatment without asserting their boundaries.

Tolerating mistreatment perpetuates a cycle of low self-esteem, as it validates the belief that they are undeserving of respect and fair treatment.

How Men Can Cope with Low Self-esteem

Coping with low self-esteem involves recognizing and challenging negative thoughts, practicing self-compassion, setting achievable goals, surrounding yourself with positive influences, exploring passions, seeking professional help if needed, and prioritizing self-care.

It’s important to challenge societal expectations and embrace a genuine version of masculinity.

By engaging in activities that bring joy, seeking support, and taking care of physical and mental well-being, men can gradually improve their self-esteem.

Recognizing that vulnerability is a sign of strength and seeking help when needed are crucial steps in this process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know if a guy has low self-esteem?

You can tell if a guy has low self-esteem if he constantly seeks validation, avoids taking risks, or puts himself down frequently.

How does a man with low self-esteem act in a relationship?

A man with low self-esteem may act clingy, seek constant reassurance, or become overly jealous in a relationship.

How do you make a man with low self-esteem feel loved?

To make a man with low self-esteem feel loved, offer genuine compliments, show appreciation, and provide consistent support and encouragement. Encouraging him to pursue his interests and goals can also help boost his self-esteem.

What is the root cause of low self-esteem?

The root cause of low self-esteem can stem from childhood experiences, societal pressures, negative self-talk, and past failures, impacting self-perception.

How do I know if my self-esteem is low?

Signs of low self-esteem include self-criticism, fear of failure, seeking constant approval, and difficulty asserting boundaries in relationships.

How do you fix low self-esteem?

Improving self-esteem involves self-compassion, challenging negative thoughts, setting realistic goals, seeking support, and practicing self-care and self-acceptance.

Is low self-esteem a mental illness?

Low self-esteem is not classified as a mental illness but can contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Final Thoughts

Recognizing the signs of low self-esteem in a man is the first step toward addressing and overcoming these challenges.

By understanding these indicators, you can take proactive steps to improve your self-worth and well-being.

Seeking support, practicing self-compassion, setting realistic goals, and engaging in activities that promote self-confidence are essential.

It’s crucial to remember that addressing low self-esteem is a journey, and with patience, self-reflection, and the right support, positive change is achievable.


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  2. https://doi.org/10.17795/ijpbs-421
  3. https://blog.zencare.co/boost-self-esteem/
  4. https://www.marriage.com/advice/mental-health/signs-of-low-self-esteem-in-a-man/
  5. https://liveboldandbloom.com/06/self-improvement/low-self-esteem-man

Pious Clements is the insightful voice behind "The Conducts of Life" blog, where he writes about life ethics, self-development, life mastery, and the dynamics of people and society.

With a profound understanding of human behaviuor and societal dynamics, Pious offers thought-provoking perspectives on ethical living and personal growth.
Through engaging narratives and astute observations, he inspires readers to navigate life's complexities with wisdom and integrity, encouraging a deeper understanding of the human experience and our place within society.