Hey people, stop insulting yourself for fun! It’s actually not funny!
Ok, I’m a big fan of humility for obvious reasons. I mean, there’s nothing worse than an arrogant prick (male or female) attempting to undermine you to compensate for their perceived personal failures in and at life. However humility, crossed with a bit of insecurity and self-deprecation, can be as equally unhealthy.
Not-taking-yourself-too-seriously has been known to be a desirable quality however, some people need to dial back the sarcasm and self-depreciation a lil’ bit. If you have a tendency to constantly poke fun at yourself and self-deprecate, you need to think about what you’re doing. Seriously…what are you doing?!! I realize that certain jokes are funny but if you are endlessly and perpetually laughing at your own expense, you might be succumbing to your own low self-esteem.
In the workplace, self-deprecating humour can make you seem approachable and modest. Both are great qualities to have! According to Mark Leary, a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Director of the Social Psychology Program at Duke University, a few self-deprecating jokes can also help keep your colleagues’ expectations of you at a reasonable level. But, if you start poking fun, in a negative way, about your skills and abilities, that perception of you will start to stick. Your co-workers and boss may start to believe that you are less capable than you actually are!
I also talk about this with my clients who are dating. Having a sense of healthy pride and healthy entitlement is generally so important and is particularly essential in the dating world. Poking fun at your date and at yourself can be fun, flirty, and a great way to display confidence. However it can backfire if you are incessantly self-deprecating out of nervousness or insecurity. You may cloud and undermine your personality, skills, and accomplishments thereby short-changing parts of your heart and who you really are. How can anyone love and appreciate you when you can’t do so yourself (this feels like an age old expression but it’s still true)? So sure, make fun of yourself but don’t forget to celebrate your interests, hobbits, qualities, and passion.
What I recommend to my clients displaying chronic insecurity by constantly self-deprecating is to simply do their own behavioural analysis. Put simply, observe your own behaviour in interpersonal interactions and call yourself out in your private reflection later on. You don’t need 15 years of therapy to begin observing your behaviour, acknowledging your bad habits, and attempting to change them. The point to remember here is to balance out your humility with a healthy sense of pride in who you are.