Many people turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempts to combat their low self-esteem, or suffer from a relapse because they lack the confidence to stay sober. Within the world of addiction recovery, it is apparent that many people do not live to their full potential, because they do not believe that they can. Low self-esteem is very prevalent in our society, as about 50 million Americans suffer from mental disorders that have symptoms related to poor self-esteem. Below are five signs that you might have low self-esteem…

You Care Too Much About What Others Think

Many people with self-esteem issues will try to get their validation from the people around them. They carefully watch their friends, family, and coworkers, looking for that validation. However, if you put your self-worth in the hands of others, you may not always receive the attention and love that you feel like you deserve. This leads to destructive thought patterns, and can feed into existing mental disorders.

Another problem that often arises from caring too much about what other people think too much is jumping to conclusions, such as a mental tally of everything that people say. In addition, you are more likely to focus on the negative things people say, rather than the positive. The problem with this is that you don’t know why someone did or said something, or what in their lives led them to the beliefs that they had. Having low self-esteem can make you too self-focused, which means you can project somebody else’s negative feelings about themselves onto yourself.

You Frequently Compare Yourself to Others

Another sign of low self-esteem is frequent comparison. This has the unfortunate result of comparing your weaknesses to other people’s strengths, which, of course, will feel make you worse and worse about yourself. Another thing that happens when you constantly compare yourself to others is that you are unkind and critical of those around you. If you find something that you did better than someone else, you hold onto that and put others down to make yourself feel better. This is a clear sign to others that you struggle with your self-image.

You Apologize Too Much

While you should say sorry if you legitimately hurt someone (be it physically or emotionally), people with low self-esteem tend to say sorry too much. Many people, especially women, apologize for their behavior because they are socially conditioned to do so. You do not need to apologize for things that you cannot control or that are not your fault, and should not apologize for being hurt by something beyond your control.

You Are Very Sensitive to Criticism

Low self-esteem brings about an extreme sensitivity to criticism. When you are criticized, you take everything personally. If someone disagrees with you, you feel like you are being picked on or singled out. It may feel like people don’t understand you, which makes you question the loyalty of those around you. This leads to unneeded friction with those who care about you.