How would you react in this situation: You receive a great compliment about how good your jacket looks on you – what do you do?
A) Say: thanks
- Shrug and smile
- Comment all things wrong with the jacket and deflect from the praise
If your usual reaction is C, you may have some self-deprecation habits.
What is self-deprecation:
Some people revel in any compliment given, while others dismiss or belittle it when it comes to our achievements or physicality. They tend to say, ‘Oh, it’s nothing, anyone could do it” or “I’m a failure, nothing goes right for me”. These kinds of statements are known as self-deprecation, which is linked to obtaining low self-esteem and negative self-evaluation.
When we Self-deprecate, we tend to play down all our positives or strengths to colleagues, friends, family, and strangers. Not only can self-deprecating behaviour make you seem insecure and self-sabotaging, but it can have adverse effects on our well-being.
Why are we self-deprecating:
To seem humble and modest, we de-emphasise our positive attitudes to appear down-to-earth.
“Analysts have also found that to make your present self-appear more likeable, an easy way to do so is to throw digs at your past self to produce laughs or a deeper form of understanding from your audience.”
Plumptre, E (2021)
However, although this may show ‘humility’, it may give off an unconfident vibe that may make people feel sorry for you and disengage in conversation.
- Can’t take a compliment
- Downplaying or disregarding accomplishments becomes second nature
- Fear of appearing overconfident with achievements
Although appearing self-deprecating may make you more ‘likeable’, it can be hazardous to your self-esteem as you start to believe you don’t deserve to have significant accomplishments. Furthermore, if you constantly downplay yourself to other people, you will begin to feel depressed and anxious as your self-perception will suffer and you’ll become less optimistic with negative internalised mental attacks.
So, how to maintain balance.
Some self-deprecating behaviour may be beneficial to show humility or to appear relatable to others. However, it is also necessary to show some confidence or, if you will, ‘conceitedness’ of your self-esteem.
So, you can first start by accepting that compliment and journal your compliments and achievements. With your journal, write down all negative thoughts about yourself, but, make sure follow with compliments and/or note all accolades that you are proud of and say why, so if you are praised for your achievements or killer outfit, you can understand and know why.
So, revisit that question at the start of the blog… What’s your answer now!?