Self-Deprecation Culture

cocky vs confident vs self-deprecating

I’m modest by nature. A week ago I walked into an interview with my management, completely unprepared and unaware that it was really an interview. I spent 40 minutes answering questions and trying to sell myself as the person that they needed. And I think I did a good job.

At the end of the interview, my manager began to tell me about the line between confident and cocky, and I started to panic internally. “Was I being cocky? Was it my hands? My smile? I just told the truth!” and while all that was happening inside my brain he said “You did great, just amp it up a little, be more confident.” And I fell back, relieved. It was better to be told to be more confident than it was to be told to be more humble.

I think my greatest fear in life, is in fact, coming off as apathetic, cocky, or too self-assured. And it’s not as if I know a lot of people like that in real life, but I’ve spent so much of my time quietly helping people, carefully calculating my additions to conversation that when given the chance to brag it’s unnatural for me.

when a joke is more than a joke

But the older I’ve gotten, the more self-assured I’ve become and have began to understand confidence, at least in my self. Most people that know me or read this blog know that I do exactly what I want in regards to my own interests. I don’t sit around and I refuse to let life carry on without me fighting it each day. And so lately the idea of that our culture has found so much humor in hating itself, has begun to grate on me a little bit.

This was inspired, mostly by a post I saw on facebook. It related to how someone said that this year was going to be the best ever and then they added a great gif of Andy Dwyer saying “I’m fine, it’s just that I’m tired, nothing matters, and life is pointless” as an expression to how they were doing by June.

And I’m not sure why that set me off so much, because I love Andy, but I hate the idea that I distinctly see people posting this same thing every. single. year. And I get it, resolutions are hard, but they don’t just stop and go on January 1st. Everyday is a chance to do better at something. And the idea that every year is the worst year of your life kind of seems a little far-fetched and woe-is-me.

And I get self-deprecating humor. I have definitely called myself trash or extra, or participated in this kind of humor before as comic relief. But I take pride in everything I do regardless, but I can’t help to notice that some people actually feel this way and that this kind of humor is feeding into their belief that they should just accept every bad thing that happens. I know a big conversation a lot of people have is that they don’t know how to accept a compliment which is baffling! “I didn’t get the promotion because I’m not good enough. This is the worst year ever because all this unexpected financial stuff happened. I didn’t lose 100lbs and get abs so I’m obviously worthless for the rest of the year. Oh my hair? It makes my head look weird.”

Peter Pan

nobody cares and you’re doing fine

The thing about life is that nobody really cares what you’re doing. Maybe your best friend, mom, or cat cares but most of the world won’t. And that might seem like a debbie downer, but it really grants you all the freedom. If you had 4 cookies last night before bed, you’re not absolutely worthless because guarantee you that another person ate FIVE cookies before bed last night. So what’s the point in shaming yourself for it? You did it, so what.

The only person you’re impressing is yourself, but when you’re constantly hating on yourself or how terrible your life is, people DO start to care. And it’s usually not positive caring, it’s usually a “Why is your life more terrible then mine??” kind of caring. And maybe this is the war we are at. “Oh you got bit by a shark?? Well I got bit by a DINOSAUR in my TIME MACHINE.” It’s like it’s a battle of who has it worse.

I’m poor, your poorer. Your tired, I bet I’m more tired. And it’s kind of like this game that’s really aggravating to watch. Because we’re probably all equally leveled all of those things so why can’t we support each other and ourselves through life? What if by July everything changes for you? You get a new car, a promotion, learn something new? Most people will still continue to self-deprecate, but what if you celebrate?


Do you participate in self-deprecation? Do you see it everywhere you go? What if we did the exact opposite and were kind to ourselves and our friends when something went wrong? Would it be easier for us to achieve our goals if we were kind to ourselves about them?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *