Signs of Low Self-esteem in a Woman [Updated]

In the latest years, we’ve seen multiple campaigns dedicated to advocating for body positivity and mental health. However, the number of women struggling with self-esteem issues is still alarming.

In 2010, Dove issued a survey to study the self-esteem levels in women. Out of all the women surveyed, eighty-five percent said they felt secure about their beauty.

These results were excellent, but six years later, in 2016, the same survey was applied to a different group of women, and fifty percent of the woman studied revealed they had been struggling with low self-esteem.

For the study, 10,500 women were considered, and all of them were from thirteen different countries. “Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report” revealed that out of that 50%, 70% of young women with ages from ten to seventeen, and 85% percent of women with ages from 18 to 64, decided to step out of significant events in distinct moments of their life because they felt unconfident about the way they looked.

These numbers are alarming. Many studies have demonstrated these issues are prevalent in today’s society, with many women developing eating disorders and a distorted or negative self-image.

The media has a lot of influence on the way we feel about ourselves. Due to the stereotypes often portrayed in the media, women often feel the pressure to meet unrealistic views, especially when they’re just the average person.

Every day, millions of women struggle with their self-image, even if we are not aware of it. Although some of them are great at hiding these issues, others make them very noticeable. Still, there are some signs we should consider to find out whether a woman we know has low self-esteem or not.

How to Spot a Woman with Low Self-esteem

It’s essential to recognize the signs of low self-esteem in women to help them step out of such a troubling situation. The first step to growing confidence is acknowledging low self-esteem symptoms to improve them in the long term.

women with low self esteem can lead to different issues in our lives, including troubled relationships and mental health problems. It’s necessary to point out how a woman with low self-esteem acts to avoid adding unnecessary chaos to our lives.

You don’t have to be a mentalist in order to spot a woman with low self-esteem, here are the 10 most common signs of low self-esteem in a woman:

1. They find it difficult to prioritize their needs, wants, or feelings

Is there a woman in your life who puts others first instead of herself? Is she what’s commonly known as a “people pleaser”? Then, that girl is probably struggling with self-image problems.

2. They feel guilty for mundane actions

This can be different for each woman. For example, they may feel bad about eating their favorite food because “they don’t deserve it.” This guiltiness also manifests itself through unnecessary apologies, for example, saying “sorry” for things that are out of their control.

3. They often go along with the flow

This is related to the first-mentioned point. Therefore, they tend to do what other people say without caring about what they want.

4. They feel like they don’t deserve good things, or perhaps, “having more.”

Many women with low self-esteem issues struggle with rewarding themselves once in a while. This problem leads to toxic relationships and low-paying jobs, for example.

5. They have difficulty making decisions

Even if they decide something, they will keep having trouble standing by them in the long term.

6. They don’t establish healthy boundaries

Boundaries are necessary so that we can maintain healthy relationships. Women with low self-esteem can be either overprotective about themselves or can be highly vulnerable. In both cases, they end up being hurt.

7. They often do unnecessary things to keep other people happy

Women with low self-esteem often need to feel wanted. Due to this, they may do too many favors or give gifts to people even if they haven’t done anything for them.

8. They struggle with negative self-perception and are harsh with themselves.

A woman with low self-esteem often feels like no one likes her for who she is. This can lead to negative self-talk and self-damaging behavior.

9. They are dependent

Women with low self-esteem often develop a dependency on someone they believe is “stronger” and can help them cope with all the negative aspects of their lives. Due to this, it’s easy for some of these women’s partners to learn how to manipulate a woman with low self-esteem. Don’t try to manipulate your partner guys!

10. They don’t rely on themselves

It’s very likely for a woman with low self-esteem to avoid new situations because they don’t feel capable. This makes them stay in toxic relationships where violence is recurrent or staying in that job where they are always exploited.

Woman - learn to tust yourself

What Causes Low Self-esteem in Women?

Low self-esteem in women is a problem that does not happen because they saw themselves in the mirror and noticed their weight has increased. It is essential to acknowledge that self-esteem is not merely personal. It is social.

Women in a particular part of the low-worth society often give to them, putting men above. Due to this, low self-esteem is found regularly in women rather than men, especially in women who grew up in traditional families where psychological mistreatments to females are common.

In many cases, strict mothers and dictatorial fathers are the roots of a woman’s self-esteem issues. However, this is not necessarily their fault, as they are struggling with their problems but did not learn about how to cope with them healthily and project those issues on their children.

It’s worth noting that mistreatment can be not only physical but also psychological. Ignoring, gestures, attitudes, expressions, and voice tones are some of the many things that can significantly impact a woman’s psychology, as they condition their self-esteem.

Low self-esteem in a woman often leads to other problems and is the worst sequel of a traumatic childhood, and can make a woman lose their identity. This makes loving someone with low self-esteem challenging, as it is challenging to be positive towards someone who only thinks negatively about herself.

Other things that can add more negativity to a woman’s self-esteem can be the following:


Dating a woman with low self-esteem is difficult. If they are already struggling with self-image issues, they may become worse if their partner commits infidelity.


A woman’s self-esteem becomes worse due to criticism. Eventually, they will start thinking that what other people say about them is real, and therefore, they will believe they are worth less than everyone else.

Social Media

We already mentioned this issue above. According to many research pieces, the more time someone spends on social media, the more likely they are to develop a bad self-image. In the worst scenario, they may develop eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.


Women take very seriously the way they look. When a woman struggles with overweight, they will very likely develop self-esteem issues.

Skin problems

Visible defects can harm most women, especially if they’re something they can’t hide, for example, acne. Sometimes, these problems can be imaginary, and they may develop body dysmorphic disorder.

As you can see, many things influence a woman’s self-image. It’s worth noting that each individual is different; hence, a problem that affects a particular woman may not affect another in the same way.

How to Help a Woman with Low Self-esteem

What do I do if my girlfriend has low self-esteem?” is a recurrent question for some people. Although we can’t fix a problem overnight, we must also acknowledge that it isn’t our responsibility to “repair” someone’s self-image. It’s their responsibility to learn how to accept and love themselves as they are.

Still, there are some things you can do to help them improve their self-image, and therefore, their lives in the long term.

Accept you can’t fix someone.

If you are in a relationship, you must know you are not there to fix all their problems, especially if it’s something they have within themselves.  This means you must remain autonomous. If they rely on you to be happy, they can develop a “false” sense of stability that can lead to other problems like co-dependency. It’s important to develop independent self-esteem that doesn’t crumble for anyone or anything.

Listen to them.

It’s essential to make our partner feel heard. Validate their negative feelings instead of making unnecessary compliments that may not help someone’s internal self-image and only feed their ego. After they’ve told you how they feel about their weight, for example, you can continue and give a positive opinion about her looks.

Cheer them up on practicing self-love.

It’s heartbreaking to see someone you love hating themselves frequently. You can help them fight this by doing things you know they will enjoy, like going out for a meal or occasionally meeting up with friends. 

Do not avoid problems.

Even if your partner is sensitive, you must acknowledge and act on them. If you are directly responsible for how upset they feel, try to let them explain how the situation has affected them, then you can move on to explain what happened or offer an apology. Communication is vital in every relationship.

Use quotes to inspire them.

Check out our post “Low Self Esteem Quotes To Boost Up Your Self-confidence” to find some inspiring quotes.