"Self-deprecating humor and brutal honesty is a really freeing thing." Margo Price
Self-deprecation has its place in our communal communicative wheelhouse. And, it's not meant to be the primary way that we share who we are. Lately, I have been noticing that some of the people around me exclusively speak about themselves in the negative, whether facetiously or not. I did not realize how pervasive it was until I started paying closer attention. Right off the bat it's straight to the self-deprecation. That's it. All I know about some people is the things they have downplayed as insignificant, and all the ways that they are inadequate (by some arbitrary standard). I don't actually know who they are because what they are communicating, whether purposefully or by force of habit, is an incomplete blooper reel. Moderate self-deprecation communicates self-knowledge, endears, and encourages others to loosen up. Toxic self-deprecation articulates an unhealthy self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, and denial of self-worth. It’s off-putting. Thin line between self-aware & self-dismayed.
Self-deprecation to mask personal insecurities is not a substitute for a personality. Why let a defense mechanism overrun your entire life? Who are we when we're not eviscerating ourselves? Where’s our healthy, realistic, and kind self-talk? That us is valid too. We have to be more than out flaws, insecurities, and failures. We have more to offer others and the world than stale jokes hell bent on reminding us of our alleged inadequacy. What do we love, appreciate, or hell - like about ourselves? Let's start there. Being unable to communicate that is a personal red flag and should indicate to us that we've lost touch with ourselves. What do we love about us? WRITE IT DOWN. Look at it. Own it. We desperately need to be able to know why we are worthwhile, worthy, and worth it. We need self-love. Our value has been known to us before we can "advertise" it to others. Who are we? Why? How? We don't wrestle with our stories enough. We need to do the work to know us so we can permit others to know us as well. Deprecate when you're a narcissist not when you don't even know who you are.
Humility has run rampant, and stifled much self-expression. Humility has a purpose. It is meant to keep is grounded, gives us perspective, and let's us take in everything around us. We're not meant to be perpetually humble to the point where we self-censor or struggle to articulate who we are, what we believe, and why we matter. We get to hold our ground. We get to take us space. We get to be proud of all that we are. We deserve that. We've earned it just by existing. We're worthy of it. What happens when we start from a place of stating instead of understating. Not everything about us has to be subtext. Somethings are better left explicit. Whether people like our delivery or not some things are unchangeably true. What if we spoke about ourselves with earnest honesty. What if we said it how it is. What if we stopped playing coy and started being brave? Can't it be brave to be us, as we are, in a world that wants to either hyperbolize or minimize our entirety?
One of my favorite questions to ask to elicit deeper dialogue is what are you are expert in, know a lot about, or can always speak about. It makes me happy to stumble upon the thing that people are passionate about. The way their face lights up, how excited they get, and the torrential downpour of words is the best part of conversation. It's like striking conversational gold. Even more so, it's letting others teach us something that they know, or at least know uniquely. Sometimes we have a working knowledge of many things, but people teaching us something different, adding nuance, or shifting our perspective can be enlightening. That moment when someone is ranting and raving about their niche thing that gets them going, that's what confidence looks like. That's them at their very best and brightest. That is who they are when they aren't holding back. That is who they should be as often as possible. That is the person we all want to be around, to know more, and to communicate with. That person who knows their stuff and is glad to share it. Nothing hurts me more than asking that question about expertise, and people stumbling over an answer. That's when we have to push. Sometimes people don't know that what they know or how they know it is significant. It's only be us admitting we don't know or know very little that they might be encouraged to share. Get them going, and affirm that knowledge so it comes out more often.
People want to know us - the real us. The people who others are drawn to are those who shine brightest because their genuine selves are on display. It's the people who radiate light that call others near. It's those that are courageously themselves that welcome others in. In being themselves it invites others to do the same. People love people who make them better people. There's something mesmerizing about someone fully in their element. Seeing people exist unabashedly with full confidence, faith in themselves, and unbridled peace can be both jarring and wonder-filled. It's a rarity.
Confidence communicates self-awareness and trust in ourselves. Why shouldn't we be confident in us? There are things we know to be true. There are things that we are good at, situations where we thrive, and moments where we shine. That's part of how life is supposed to be. We're not meant to be good at everything, to be perfect, or to never have doubts, but we also aren't purposed to struggle, live in stress, and worry constantly. Challenge and struggle are necessary but are not supposed to be permanent fixtures of our everyday. We can do things confidently, boldly, and thoughtfully. Confidence is unreserved belief. Belief beyond reasonable doubt. Belief that surpasses. Belief that provides. Belief that allows us to trudge fully forward without hesitation or second-guessing. Moving with confidence is distinct. There's no fear. It's a posturing of peace. Confidence is peace in motion.
Insecurity is a deceptive feeling. It makes us doubt things we already know to be true, prevents us from accepting new truths, and makes us question things that takes us out of character. Insecurity is our fears, real or perceived, taking over rational thought. It overrides not just our extraordinary bits but diminishes even our adequate attributes in favor of dastardly derision. Insecurity compounds the longer it gets control over us. Small jabs become bigger blows become attempts on our self of sense all together, and it's all orchestrated by us. Self-assassination in its most insidious form. It has us denying our worth, rebuking our achievements, and projecting our false inadequacy onto others. It can poison everything including our relationships with others when they are indirectly being asked to affirm us, lift us up, and snap us out of cycles of destructive insecurity.
We incorrectly believe we’re helping people when we contradict the beliefs they have about themselves. Us speaking our truths about others is wildly important, underutilized even AND people need to manifest their own self-actualization and self-esteem. We have to reflect insecurity so people can gesture at it themselves and handle it, lest they become dependent on us for what they should be looking to themselves for. Agree with people when they are spouting off their insecurity and watch them be taken aback; sometimes it takes seeing what we're doing to ourselves to internalize it. Once we're aware and can identify insecurity as what it is - debilitating doubt masquerading as belief - then we can actively combat it. X
- What are you an expert in?
- How do you know what you know?
- What is something you could readily teach?
- What can you speak for 5 mins. straight on?
- When are at you at your best?
- How do you know you're thriving?
- Why are you worthwhile?
- What do you love or appreciate about yourself?
- What do you find challenging about you?
- What are you working on with yourself?