Why Self Deprecating Isn't Good For Your Mental Health
Sunday, 14 June 2020

 Self-deprecating behavior is something that those with poor self-esteem often engage in. Making jokes about one’s shortcomings or vulnerabilities can be a way to cope with them, but self-deprecating thoughts and speech often impact mental health in a negative way. 

 There’s certainly a place in personal growth for self-criticism and accepting the criticism of others, but there’s a difference between self-deprecation and constructive self-criticism. Let’s take a closer look at why self-deprecating behavior isn’t good for mental health, how you can identify it, and what steps you can take to turn the behavior around and quit bringing yourself down. 

If You Say Something Enough, You Might Believe It 

Given enough time and persistence, you can be conditioned to believe just about anything; and it doesn’t have to be an outside source doing the conditioning. Picture this: if you’re constantly telling yourself you’re a lazy, untalented person, how do you think you’re going to view yourself after some time? Our minds have incredible power over the way we live, and whatever you put into it shows in your external behavior and internal thoughts. 

The fact is, you can make yourself believe anything. When it comes to negative thoughts, the more you invest in them, the more they compound into bigger problems. Self-deprecating thoughts and speech only tear down your self-image and create a negative view of everything that makes you unique as a person. 

While self-deprecation usually has its roots in humor, even jokes can impact your self-image. Many jokes are rooted in truth or off of some small fact. For instance, if you always joke about the way you look, you might actually feel poorly about your self-image. Constantly joking about it won’t help you feel better, either. 

Positive Thoughts Help Improve Self-Image 

How you talk to yourself and think has a huge impact on the way you view yourself and the world around you. Positive self-talk won’t cure low self-esteem, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, it’s pretty hard to take steps towards a more positive self-image. 

Start addressing yourself with a more positive attitude. When you think about a setback or failure, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, look closer at what led you there, what you learned, and how you’d navigate it knowing what you know now. Each mistake is another building block to your goals, and without mistakes, you don’t learn. 

Comparing yourself to others is another self-deprecating behavior you change. You’ll never be anyone but yourself, and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. You think you’re not as “pretty” as someone else? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You think you’re less talented than someone else? You’re good at something they’re not. 

Constantly comparing yourself to others only makes you feel worse about your shortcomings. Know that you have your own talents, unique attributes, and those things make you worthwhile. 

Self-Criticism Is Constructive In Some Ways 

It’s important to understand the very clear difference between constructive self-criticism and self-deprecation. When you self-deprecate, you’re essentially taking shots at yourself. Nothing positive comes out of it, because you’re not looking closer at what you’re criticizing. 

Self-criticism is more complex and constructive. Taking a look at what you did wrong or what your shortcomings are shows great strength and self-awareness. This is how you learn to do better, be better, and express yourself in a healthier way. You don’t need to put yourself down in order to grow, but you do need to self-analyze. 

Even when you’re feeling really bad about something you did, said, or a missed opportunity or failure, you still shouldn’t beat yourself up. At the end of the day, we’re all human an not one of us is perfect.

You’re A Worthy, Valuable Person 

Repeat after me: I am valuable and worthy. And you are! Every one of us has a place in this world and brings value to those around us. Maybe you’re an excellent friend who’s always there for everyone. Maybe you’re a great parent and your kids love and respect you. Being worthy and valuable doesn’t mean you have to change the world on a large scale. 

Impacting the lives of those around you is just as valuable as curing a disease or aiding humanitarian efforts. People often forget that change starts small, with one person, then a few people, then a community of people. 

Don’t put yourself down; you have a place in this world that means something to the people around you. Engage in positive self-talk, constructive self-criticism, and learn to view mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures. Every setback is a step forward, every mistake is an opportunity, and every self-deprecating thought is a roadblock. 
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