Self-deprecation is a handy tool to diffuse tension and add humor. But, in putting down your talents, appearance and personality, could you be permanently blighting your self-esteem and reputation?
We’ve all been there…
Have you ever replied to a compliment about your outfit with a knee-jerk, negative response? Such as, a quip about looking a bit jiggly or an eye-rolling admission of the coffee stain near the hem?
Have you been introduced to a stranger at a party and immediately downplayed your job title; making out that you were either incredibly lucky to have nabbed the position or have no idea what you're doing half the time when, in fact, you worked your butt off to get a promotion and spend several evenings a week working late in order to finish projects to impress your boss?
In social situations, we often use self-deprecation as a handy tool to defuse tension, seem humble or add humor.
It shows vulnerability and authenticity, weakens hierarchies, lowers expectations in case of failure, reflects a mirthful disposition, deflects attention for the shy and, when used insincerely, reassures and inflates the ego of the conceited.
I, myself have learned to use it as armor against external criticism; a badge of my modesty and of my Northern identity. After all, your insults won't be half as witty as my own about myself.
However, during my early twenties – the 'formative adult years' in which I'm supposed to find myself and learn how to do the gas meter reading without calling my Dad – I've started to wonder whether I'm doing some disservice by continuously downplaying everything cool about myself.
A bit of self-ridicule is healthy if you're confident enough to really take it as a joke. It's surely better than blind, pigheaded narcissism. Of that, I am sure we can all agree. But now, you’re about to have your photo session… and expose all. Or almost, all, at least.
And… it's a big 'but’..or, “my nose is so big, don’t catch my profile!” … in highlighting our insecurities, putting down our talents, and striving for the laugh instead of congratulation, could we not just be cementing a negative narrative about ourselves?
At a certain point, if you call yourself 'stupid' enough times, you'll start to believe it and so will other people.
The dark side of self-deprecation, can come out in your final images… if you’re not careful. Let’s help each other… to ensure that doesn’t happen.
As children, we're frequently told to treat others as we would like to be treated.
However, with the challenges of puberty, a transmuting identity and society's obsession with critiquing weight, intelligence, success and beliefs, the kindness we show ourselves doesn't usually measure up to that which we'd be quick to show other people.
Unlike the days when we'd blindly accepted our parents' compliments about being the smartest, prettiest and most hard working of children, in our adolescence, our self-worth gradually starts to fluctuate, depending on our most recent successes or failures, compliments or insults.
We begin to find it hard to tread the middle ground between self-promotion and self-deprecation, wanting to seem confident without coming across as an insufferable know-it-all.
Clinical psychologist, Ros Taylor, explains that for the majority of women: 'We tend to go in the opposite direction and discredit ourselves."
Self-deprecation is a trick British comedian Luisa Omielan uses as a way of showcasing how ridiculous social constructs are – be it regarding weight, failed relationships and thigh gaps – taken not from a place of weakness, but from a place of strength.
'Once you show something up for what it is and have made people laugh in the process, you are then in a position to use humor to dissect and discuss more important and pressing issues that do need attention such as self esteem, mental health, relationships and career goals,' she adds.
But Only In Small Doses
To read further about the Pros and Cons about Self-Deprecation and how it can HELP your Boudoir Session, or HURT it, click HERE.