We’ve all done it: blasted our friends at a dinner party to laugh or even pointed out our perceived flaws as an issue to a close friend or partner and hoped they would disagree. Self-deprecation is a normal way to communicate and is an aspect of HUMOR; however, a tendency to indulge in self-deprecating remarks could indicate something more serious.
If you are self-deprecating and putting yourself down to others or not valuing yourself, it could be time to examine the layer of your self-esteem.
What Is Self-Deprecation?
Self-deprecation is a kind of self-talk that indicates an emotional state like low self-esteem or negative self-esteem.
In our everyday conversations or quiet conversations alone, There’s a good likelihood that we use phrases that devalue our achievements. Statements such as “Oh, it’s no big deal, anyone could have done it,” or “I’m such an idiot” are frequently considered self-deprecating since these types of statements are negative self-evaluations.
People are self-deprecating by shaming, discrediting, or minimizing themselves to serve as social communication or to release tension. False modesty or excess has become a famous comedy routine; however, what does it mean as a strategy for interpersonal communication?
Many people would prefer to be viewed as down-to-earth and humorous rather than egotistical or arrogant. People who employ humor to poke fun at themselves or admit to their weaknesses tend to be self-aware, charming, and easy to get along with. However, the distinction between modesty and self-deprecation is a fine line.
Self-deprecating remarks can belittle us to our friends, family members, friends, and colleagues, but to what motive? This article examines why we do things that seem self-defeating and how self-deprecation can affect our overall health.
Self-deprecation is usually packaged as an adolescent. It can relate to your appearance, behavior, or performance, something you’ve done earlier, or other personal issues.
If done correctly, it could be among the most hilarious kinds of humor. It can also help break the ice during stressful situations and make people feel more comfortable. By acknowledging the limits of everyone and having a laugh at the expectations we place on ourselves, self-deprecating humor could encourage camaraderie and self-acceptance.
There are also those who make fun of themselves in their own way to avoid appearing too pretentious, or to be able to please other people.
Self-Deprecation as a Defense Mechanism
Psychologist Ros Taylor believes that self-deprecating words could be employed to cushion the fear of embarrassment or failure or to inform others of our shortcomings so that they won’t be dissatisfied if they confirm their suspicions (Elle Magazine 2017).
Research has found that people who self-deprecate are less confident in themselves (Owens 1993). Self-deprecation is a habit we often engage in when we are insecure; however, this thinking process can become a swarm, resulting in negative feedback loops because one can aggravate the other.
Feeling negative and expressing negative thoughts over and over.
Self-Deprecation vs. Humility
Self-deprecation is different from humility in the extent to which it is displayed. The definition of humility is modesty. It’s not praising our achievements or positive characteristics. However, constantly denying compliments or being rude to ourselves is a bridge from self-deprecation to humility, which isn’t doing us any good. Psychotherapist Vaishali Patel provides a wonderful illustration in her article about self-deprecation and humility.
How Does Self-Deprecation Impact You?
At first, self-deprecation might not seem to be a significant issue. However, constantly minimizing your efforts and attempts to get a laugh from others can have a significant impact on your mental well-being. Self-care is essential, particularly when you are communicating with yourself.
Problems with self-esteem
First of all, self-doubt affects your self-esteem. While you might want to create a positive impression on others by making them feel better about yourself, you are altering your self-image. These will cause negative self-talk or anxiety and depression.
For example, imagine telling someone you know the project they’ve been working on for a long time is not as great. Continuously criticizing your family or friends is sure to affect their mental well-being. It’s also true in your situation.
A damaged optimism
If you become accustomed to self-deprecation and demeaning your accomplishments, your enthusiasm decreases. This is because you’ll become less excited after you achieve something and think that it’s not that important.
It’s impossible to live your life to the fullest extent
Self-deprecation could rob you of the opportunity to relish different occasions in your life. In addition, these personal attacks you are constantly making can probably make other people feel uncomfortable and may not be able to appreciate your sense of humor.
You Begin to Feel Depressed and Anxious
Think about telling your friends that their achievements aren’t a big difference or that they’re the same level of smart as everyone else.
Go one step further and create the habit of doing it in front of their coworkers or their friends and colleagues, and you’re bound to damage their mental well-being. If you do this to yourself, it’s likely to cause the same result.
When you constantly give yourself this type of treatment, your mental health could be at risk of being negatively affected. Particularly self-deprecating humor is connected to serious health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Do damage to your relationships
If your self-deprecation reaches an extent that the others around you feel they must satisfy your every day and lift your spirits, it may cause a lot of damage to your relationships. If you’re constantly laughing, others might not feel that they’ll get to know who you are as. It’s essential to be honest and vulnerable with those you value; however, make sure that you don’t put others in a position where they’re responsible for keeping your self-worth in check. This is your responsibility.
Signs of Self-Deprecation
Let’s examine the most common signs of self-deprecating speech and behavior.
You Can’t Take a Compliment
Whether it’s a comment on how great your shoes look or praise for appearing well-dressed on a Monday morning, self-deprecation will often produce responses that explain how old your shoes are or how not-so-good you look.
To avoid appearing self-indulgent, self-deprecation can often lead to rapid rebuttals to different types of flattery.
You Instinctively Downplay Yourself
In certain circumstances, self-deprecation can become routine. It doesn’t matter if everybody knows how much sleep you’ve lost while working on a presentation or the amount of effort you’ve spent editing and correcting an article on your blog. If you ever receive positive feedback, your first instinct is to diminish your efforts.
You Believe Promoting Yourself Will Make You Disagreeable
There are times when you’re fully conscious of how amazing your abilities and achievements are. However, acknowledging them, particularly to your peers or strangers, is a source of worry that they may consider your self-confidence a bit smug or unworthy.
To keep this from happening, you make fun of the significance of your work or reduce it to make it appear less significant.
No One Else is Laughing
There’s nothing worse than when you say something you believe is likely to trigger an outpouring of laughter, only to see everyone else in the room go silent. However, some people could think that your jokes originate from a sad and dark area. They might even inform you that what you’re telling them isn’t funny or they are uncomfortable.
If your self-deprecating humor is constantly failing, it’s a clear signal that you’re going too far, and you’ll need to spend some time thinking about where your jokes are coming from; for the record, they are people who do this on a professional level, hilarious set of people with a beautiful sense of humor.
Change Your career
The climb up the ladder of success requires a lot of skill and dedication. If you’re constantly trying to minimize the things you can do for yourself, it could alter your life and decrease your chances of being noticed and elevated. It doesn’t mean that you must display your abilities, but humility is usually considered a virtue. However, you don’t have to make yourself look bad, either.
Maintaining a Healthy Balance Between High Self-esteem and Self-deprecation.
It is possible to make fun of yourself and be a lover while doing it; however, it takes careful focus and self-care.
If self-criticism has taken a turn, try these strategies to boost your confidence in yourself and reach that balance.
Accept Compliments Graciously
Instead of making fun whenever someone gives you an acknowledgment, you can try to say “thank you” and, when you’re not comfortable, shake it off and then look into the reasons that make it challenging to accept the praise.
Let it Out in Your Journal
Journaling helps you organize your thoughts and feelings in a secure space. Write about the moments when your first reaction was to blame yourself. Think about possibilities of what you would have done instead, such as acknowledging that you’ve been successful in your work.
Give Yourself the Benefit of the Doubt.
Make it a point to consider yourself worthy of the doubt, just as you would give a close friend. Instead of saying I’m so stupid, you can be able to say, “I’ve forgotten to finish the one thing, and I’ll start working on it right now.” PUT IN THE WORK.
Don’t Feed Into the Self-Deprecation of Others
If you are noticing the tendency of someone you know, a family member, or a coworker to make excuses for themselves, consider speaking out rather than just laughing at it. You could also question the story by offering different perspectives, “forgetting your keys does not equate to being a moron.” Or, “How about saying something kind to yourself instead.” As you say this, you’re creating a new community with your friends and group that encourages positive self-talk.
The Link to Deeper Image of Self
Self-deprecation could come from a healthy source—not doing yourself any harm or using it as a networking tool to provide some comic relief and to help get your message across.
It may also be a result of even deeper and more damaging feelings of self-doubt that can keep a person from moving forward and lead to a lot of distress. Self-esteem issues can be triggered by
- Previous trauma
- Perfectionist tendencies
- Mental health problems
If a person is the victim of trauma, the world begins to feel unsafe, and people can be less trustworthy. They feel they are not worthy of love or have a lack of self-worth. They are often protective, and this may also result from the perceptions of criticism or experiences from abusers, caregivers, or even partners.
Perfectionism is another cause of self-criticism. It is often interspersed with trauma but can also manifest entirely on its own. It’s wonderful when one feels proud of the things they do and naturally desires to be praised for it. The concept of perfection takes it to the next dimension, leading someone to feel that they’re inherently imperfect or inefficient, fueling the fires of their internal critic.
Self-criticism is a sign and contributor to Major Depression Disorder and other mental health disorders like eating disorders, anxiety, and bipolar disorders. Similar to perfectionists, it is the tendency to set unrealistic goals for yourself and to find yourself disappointed when you fail to achieve them.
Read More: What is Self Love and to Practice it?
Read More: Objective And Subjective Reasoning: How It Affects Our Decisions
Read More: Anxiety Disorder: Sign and Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatments, and Prevention
How to Respond to Self-Deprecation
Watching our friends make fun of themselves and engage in self-deprecation can be uncomfortable. We are naturally inclined to praise people we cherish and find the best in them, and when we witness those who are self-deprecating, We want to snap them out of feeling depressed. It is crucial to keep in mind that when we criticize ourselves, it is often because we struggle with being heard or feeling insecure. It is helpful to acknowledge the feelings of the speaker and assure them that they are heard and appreciated. This could be a sound that resembles:
- “That’s not true; you’re beautiful!”
- “I wish you could see how amazing you are.”
- “Don’t forget you have a sound a mind”
It may also help to emphasize the speaker’s achievements or positive characteristics to help them remember their qualities since we don’t want them to be embarrassed by their feelings. It could be as simple as praising the speaker, thanking them for a recent accomplishment, or sharing what you enjoy most about your moments with them. It lets them know that you’re listening and allows them to feel heard and understood. It also helps them feel valued and appreciated.
Self-deprecation does not necessarily mean that it is malicious. Indeed, many who hold high posts, like managers or leaders, can effectively use self-deprecation in order to attract their employees.
In our everyday interactions, we can employ it to make a splash when we meet someone for the first time or if we want to look more friendly and welcoming.
In these situations, it is vital to maintain balance. Self-deprecation can be used to break the ice or to initiate a conversation; however, you must be careful not to use it in everyday situations. Be aware that confidence in yourself is crucial for you when you talk to other people. Overly self-deprecating yourself can be detrimental to your self-confidence.