Self-Deprecation or Self-Sabotage?

Self-Deprecation or Self-Sabotage?

I have always been attracted to a self-deprecating sense of humor. Doesn’t everyone appreciate a person who can laugh at themself? Woody Allen, Tina Fey and one of me and my family’s absolute favorite comedians, Brian Regan are just a few that pop in mind as self-depreciation geniuses. There have been many road trips with all the kids in tow that Brian Reagan (totally clean humor) kept us entertained and in stitches. For many years, the kids (boys mostly) have extended the humor to others as they love to repeat Brian’s work. Getting equal affirmation from their audience that it’s just downright hilarious stuff! 


What happens when one uses this humor and is not on stage? Do you know someone who may stretch the concept past the point of delightful entertainment? Have you ever done this? It will likely be funny for a bit, but not for long. Because of the initial positive acknowledgment, communicating about oneself in this style can be habit-forming. There is a fine line between self-deprecation, self-criticism, and self-hatred. When overused the low vibration energy feels like low self-worth and is absolutely self-sabotaging. It is not enjoyable for most of us to be around. And the “comedian”; will no less feel the pain, for long past the point of delivery.


My mission in coaching is to help others feel great self-love, know their inherent worth, feel whole and complete and take that great fullness out into the world to shine their light and share with others. I was a bit surprised when recently my son and I were out having a delightful one-on-one fiesta, as he confided that he may have been doing exactly the above described. That the self-deprecation sense of humor he often used, may have bled a bit into his daily lifestyle, and he was noticing that it may just not be serving him very well at this time.


Initially one may think that I would be horrified by this. Not at all, I was so proud and actually thrilled to hear that this child had enough self-awareness to be curious about this topic. To actually notice that it’s a possibility he is self-sabotaging himself with his negative self-talk (even in the form of self-deprecating humor). Fortunately, he is working on himself and sometimes “hears” what I speak and am up to. Including, once living in a home full of bookshelves of color-coded self-development books, and post-it notes all over saying “I am worthy” and “I am enough”.


I have learned maybe the hard way, that I cannot just start throwing out solutions, ideas, practices, and tools. It does not serve either of us. A precious evening with just the two of us, the bar seats we had just scored in the very crowded restaurant, delicious guacamole, a delightful skinny margarita, and my son heartfully opening up to me was triumph enough. No need to try and fix this. I chose to just listen and smile with so much pride and my gut totally says, he will figure this all out in his own good time.


We often put ourselves down in the form of humor; because well, it’s funny and others can relate. I ask you to look at your self-deprecating humor as well as your self-talk and make sure it is truly serving you in a positive way and not a reflection of poor self- worth, self-criticism, or self-hatred. 


How about trying Brene Brown’s advice? Talk about yourself the way you would talk about someone you love!


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