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Are you the self deprecating type? The person who gets the dig into yourself before anyone else can?
There are some situations where self deprecating humour can win people over, be perceived as charming, and in films, get the girl (or boy). However, in real life, it’s damaging and limits our beliefs in our abilities.
The need to get the backhanded joke in before anyone else does can stem from bullying in school, or even just offhanded comments that may have been thrown your way; the giver of said comment has long moved on and you’re left reeling. We know that a lot of “said in a jokey way” comments have perhaps a small element of truth to them, and these are exaggerated for comic effect. However, when you’re on the receiving end and your confidence isn’t exactly sky high, it’s all too easy to take it all seriously (well, that grain of truth was there, after all, it must all be true) and here begins the downward spiral. You will get the jokes in before anyone else, you’ll make the sly digs and before you know it, you put yourself down more than anyone has ever done in your life before.
So, we know where this comes from and the damage it can do. How do we stop it? After all, if you heard some of these put downs and they were aimed at a friend, wouldn’t you feel indignant and angry on their behalf?
(I’m sure the answer to this is “yes”).
What makes it different when it’s you then?
If you could describe yourself as the King or Queen of self deprecation, then it’s time to take that title and get rid of it, because you no longer need it. The act of self deprecation is one of belittlement. You belittle yourself and your achievements and make yourself feel irrelevant and undeserving. Really, this is not a good way to feel. It’s an absolute giveaway that you have low self esteem, as clear as if you were wearing a badge that says, “I don’t like myself much.”
How then, do you learn to stop putting yourself down?
1. Hold your tongue.
When you feel the words forming into a self put down, stop yourself and think whether or not you would happily do this to a friend. If the answer to that question is no, then don’t do this to yourself either.
2. Put yourself in their shoes.
Have you ever thought just how uncomfortable it makes your friends/family/colleagues to hear you putting yourself down? Think about it from their perspective. It’s not a pleasant experience to listen to you listing exactly why you’re not worthy, and it then makes protests from us sound awfully hollow; especially when you don’t believe them. Listen from the other side of the conversation, and you’ll understand.
3. Have a counter argument.
If you really can’t stop the self deprecation there and then, have a positive comeback. Follow up your statement with “…but I am/can/do….”; whichever is appropriate to the situation. In fact, scrap the word “but” and replace it with “and”. Put the emphasis there and you will soon start to believe your positives.
Don’t put yourself in the position of constantly berating yourself. You know that if you hear you’re not good enough often enough that you’ll start to believe it? Well, if the people around you keep hearing if from you, they may also start to believe it.
Putting yourself down is good for no one. Adopt the three strategies above and you will start to have a more realistic view of yourself.