People who lack self-respect often display these 9 behaviors (without realizing it)

Lucas Graham by Lucas Graham | January 17, 2024, 7:25 pm

We often don’t realize how our actions might reflect on our self-respect. But the truth is, when we lack self-respect, it shows in our behavior.

Without even realizing it, we might be sending signals that tell others we don’t value ourselves as much as we should.

There are certain behaviors that could be red flags of potential self-respect issues. By identifying them, we can start to build a healthier and more positive self-image.

How do you know if you lack self-respect, or if you’re just naturally selfless and accommodating?

After years of introspection and observing my peers, I’ve compiled a list of 9 behaviors that might suggest a lack of self-respect. These patterns often go unnoticed by those who display them.

If any of these strike a chord, it might be time to reassess your relationship with yourself.

1) Constant self-deprecation

We all enjoy a good self-deprecating joke now and then. It can be a sign of humility and self-awareness. However, when it becomes a pattern, it might be a sign of lacking self-respect.

People who frequently put themselves down are often unaware of the impact this behavior has on their self-esteem. They might think they’re just being modest or realistic, but in reality, they’re undermining their self-worth.

Self-deprecating humor becomes particularly concerning when it’s used to mask feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. It’s like a defense mechanism: by making light of our faults before anyone else can, we protect ourselves from potential criticism.

But if you regularly belittle yourself, even in jest, you’re subconsciously reinforcing a negative self-image. This can seriously erode your self-respect over time.

It’s okay to laugh at ourselves sometimes, but when it becomes a habit, it’s worth reconsidering how we talk about ourselves. Remember, the way we speak about ourselves often reflects how we truly see ourselves.

2) Over-apologizing

Here’s something that I’ve personally struggled with: the tendency to say “I’m sorry” way too often.

For a long time, I used to apologize for everything. I’d say “sorry” when someone bumped into me on the street, or when I asked a question in a meeting, or even when someone else made a mistake.

It took me a while to realize that this was more than just a harmless habit. This constant need to apologize was an indication that I didn’t value my own needs and boundaries as much as others’. It was as if I was always seeking approval and trying to avoid conflict at all costs.

Over-apologizing can be a sign of low self-respect. It suggests that you see your actions as a burden to others, even when they aren’t. By saying “sorry” all the time, you’re essentially apologizing for your existence.

Breaking this habit wasn’t easy, but it made a huge difference to my self-esteem. It helped me understand that it’s okay to take up space and assert myself. And most importantly, it taught me that I don’t need to apologize for being me.

3) Difficulty in saying “no”

People who lack self-respect often struggle with setting boundaries. They fear that by saying “no”, they may offend others or be seen as unkind or uncooperative.

As a result, they end up overcommitting themselves, taking on tasks they don’t want or don’t have the capacity for.

This inability to turn down requests can lead to stress, resentment, and burnout.

It’s crucial to remember that saying “no” is a part of healthy communication and self-care.

It’s not about being selfish; it’s about respecting your own time, energy, and limits.

4) Seeking validation from others

Many of us have the inherent desire to fit in and be accepted by those around us. But when we constantly seek validation from others, it may indicate a lack of self-respect.

People who frequently need reassurance may struggle with self-doubt and low self-esteem. They often base their self-worth on others’ opinions and can be greatly affected by criticism or rejection.

It’s important to understand that everyone’s opinion of us is subjective and largely based on their own experiences and biases. Seeking constant approval can turn into an exhausting chase where you’re trying to please everyone but yourself.

True self-respect comes from within. It’s about acknowledging your self-worth and not depending on others to define it for you.

5) Neglecting personal needs

Imagine a friend who always puts everyone else’s needs before their own, even to their own detriment. They’re always the first to offer help, but when it comes to their own needs, they tend to ignore them. This could be a clear sign of lacking self-respect.

People who lack self-respect often neglect their personal needs, whether it’s physical, emotional, or mental. They may feel guilty for focusing on themselves or believe that their needs are less important than others’.

However, neglecting personal needs can lead to burnout and negatively affect one’s overall well-being.  It’s necessary for maintaining a healthy relationship with ourselves and others.

Self-respect means recognizing your worth and ensuring your needs are met. Only then can you truly be in a position to help others effectively.

6) Tolerating poor treatment from others

It’s heartbreaking to see someone you care about being treated poorly by others. And it’s even more challenging when they seem to accept that treatment as normal or deserved.

When people lack self-respect, they often allow others to treat them in ways they don’t deserve. They might endure disrespect, unkindness, or even abuse, thinking they can’t expect anything better.

This can stem from a deep-seated belief that they’re not worthy of respect or kindness. They might feel they have to earn love and respect by being accommodating, even when it means accepting unacceptable behavior.

But here’s the truth: Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect, no matter what. Accepting anything less is a sign of a lack of self-respect.

7) Fear of failure

There was a time when the mere thought of failure would paralyze me. I’d avoid stepping out of my comfort zone or trying new things because I was terrified of not succeeding. This fear held me back from many opportunities and experiences.

People who lack self-respect often have a heightened fear of failure. They perceive failure as a reflection of their worth, rather than a part of the learning process. Every setback feels like a personal flaw, and they often end up being their own harshest critics.

But over time, I’ve learned that failure isn’t a sign of inadequacy – it’s a stepping stone to growth and success. It’s how we learn, adapt, and become stronger.

Having self-respect means understanding that our worth isn’t defined by our successes or failures, but by who we are as individuals. It’s about recognizing that it’s okay to make mistakes and treating yourself with kindness and understanding when you do.

8) Ignoring personal passions

One way in which a lack of self-respect can manifest is through the neglect of personal passions. People may feel that their passions are not worthwhile or that they don’t deserve the time and energy to pursue them.

This behavior often stems from a belief that their interests are not as valuable or important as those of others. They may even feel guilty for focusing on their own pleasures and desires.

However, ignoring our personal passions can lead to a life filled with unfulfillment and regret.

Our passions are what make us unique, and they bring joy and meaning to our lives.

9) Not practicing self-love

At the heart of self-respect is self-love. Without self-love, it’s almost impossible to truly respect ourselves.

People who lack self-respect often struggle with practicing self-love. They may be critical of themselves, focus on their flaws, or feel they are not deserving of love and care.

Self-love is the foundation of self-respect. Only when we truly love ourselves can we fully respect ourselves and demand that same respect from others.

It’s a journey, not a destination, and it starts with recognizing our own worth.

Final thoughts: It’s a journey

As we navigate the complex maze of self-respect, one truth stands out – the importance of embracing self-love.

Throughout this journey, I’ve come to realize that at the heart of self-respect lies a profound love for oneself. It’s not about vanity or narcissism, but about acknowledging your worth and treating yourself with kindness and compassion.

In my personal experience, the moments when I lacked self-respect were also the moments when I lacked self-love. I was quick to judge myself, slow to celebrate my victories, and often placed myself last on my own priority list.

But as I started to view myself through a lens of love, I noticed a shift. I was more inclined to assert my needs, honor my feelings, and stop settling for less than what I deserved.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” This quote encapsulates the essence of self-respect. It’s about understanding our worth and not allowing anyone to devalue us.

And yes, the path to self-respect isn’t always a straightforward one. It’s a journey filled with introspection, self-awareness, and change.

It’s about recognizing the worthiness within ourselves. It’s about setting boundaries, respecting our needs, and not allowing others to treat us with anything less than kindness and respect.

By cultivating self-respect, we not only improve our relationship with ourselves but also enhance our interactions and relationships with others. It’s a journey worth taking for ourselves and for the people we share our lives with.