[ self–dep-ri-key-ting, self- ]
belittling or undervaluing oneself; excessively modest.
Something super popular amongst my fellow millennials is how unwilling we are to be proud of ourselves, celebrate our wins too loudly, or allow others to compliment us for accomplishing excellent things. We brush off their kind words with jabs at ourselves, downplay how difficult it was to achieve our goals, or flat out refuse to allow the compliment to reach our core.
For the most part, being self-depreciating is funny. I might downplay someone praising one of my blog posts with, “Girl, I just be saying whatever!” instead of being grateful that the time I spent praying and meditating before writing the post was not in vain.
Sometimes we can be self-deprecating to the point of concern. A huge part of millennial humor is talking about all things morbid, death being the most intensely discussed yet regularly desensitized topic of all. I do not believe for a second that death is taboo or shouldn’t be talked about—death is cyclical, comes to us all, and is neither a punishment nor a reward. It just is. But, when we are being self-deprecating, we might say something like, “None of what I accomplish matters because I want to die anyway.” If you’re not familiar with this particular brand of dark comedy/humor, trust me when I say it exists and isn’t going anywhere.
I used to be someone who constantly talked about death and wanting to die—not for the sake of being morbid, but because I did actually want to die. I also wanted to be funny about it, so I didn’t cause concern, a balancing act of being “funny” but also making myself small—too small to deserve compliments or support. Recently, I realized I am so rarely self-deprecating anymore.
Maybe it’s because I’ve committed so much time and energy to doing the work. Maybe it’s because I go to therapy consistently. Maybe it’s because I meditate more and wallow in sadness less. Maybe it’s because I’ve figured out less harmful ways to be funny. Maybe it’s because I now realize that the things I put out into the world are not inherently deserving of praise and kind words, but it’s nice when those things occur and I should not shut them down and condition myself to constantly feel like I don’t deserve gentleness and generosity. Even if I do not receive gentleness and generosity, why should I tell myself I deserve the polar opposite instead?
Sometimes it’s okay to not get verbal praise for something. It’s also okay to spend time reprogramming yourself to sit in that okayness without it veering to a bad place. What’s not okay, anymore, is self-depreciation.