You can work on that handshake grip all you want, but if you suffer from these low self esteem symptoms, no amount of grip strength will help you hold on to colleagues and friends. Even if you never breathe a word to anyone about your low self-esteem, your self-loathing will betray you with telltale behaviors and symptoms.
- Serial Self-Sabotager: The last time you stood to win a promotion, you partied all week, showed up to work hung over and missed a key deadline, and that wasn't the first time you sabotaged a shot at the corner office. Of course, you blamed it on friends for forcing you to down those shots, but you know the truth: You just could not bear the thought of failing on your own merits, and you never believed you could do it, anyway. Too bad for you, this low self esteem symptom is hard to recognize because you're too busy pointing the finger at others to confront your true enemy: yourself.
- Mr. Perfect: It's healthy to set the bar high, but there is such a thing as too high. Your all-or-nothing, sink-or-swim-like-Michael-Phelps thinking is a low self-esteem symptom – not a bragging point. Ask yourself how you would react to a critical comment from your boss, a B grade on a test you thought you aced or a withering stare from a maitre d' because your best suit is stuck at the dry cleaners. If your first instinct is to curl up in the fetal position, rethink your impossible standards because your perfectionism will destroy what's left of your self-esteem.
- Defensiveness: If you stick your fingers in your ears every time someone criticizes your ideas, it doesn't make you a misunderstood genius; it just means you're defensive, a classic symptom of low self-esteem. Next time a colleague rejects your idea or a friend disagrees with something, check yourself: If you suit up in battle armor and defend a lame idea to the death, that is not your brilliance shining through; it is your low self-esteem.
- Riding Shotgun on the Highway of Lfie: There is nothing wrong with ceding power and letting friends or family steer the course once in awhile, but if you never take the wheel, you never get to choose your destination, either. This crippling symptom of low self-esteem stems from your dismally low self-confidence, not to mention a deep fear of screwing up; after all, if you make the mess, you take the blame. While it might keep you safe from ridicule at the moment, it will keep you from your livings dreams, too.
- Bitter Break-Ups and Blowouts: Biweekly breakups and blowouts with your best buddies signal more than just a hot tempter; they might be low self-esteem symptoms. Maybe you pester girlfriends for compliments or pick fights about things that have bothered you for months, or maybe you nitpick at everyone else's flaws and mistakes because you just cannot help obsessing about other people's behavior – mostly because you're so desperate to match their social competence.