This post was originally titled, is self deprecation the new quirky? Where quirky was to be defined as something people aspire to be that isn’t conforming to society’s standards, rather it’s the opposite. Until I realised just how much self deprecation has injected itself in society, perhaps as humans it’s been long standing, but right now it’s reached a point where companies, influential people and social media pages are using it to gather followers/subscribers and essentially, cold, hard cash.
So what exactly do I mean by self-deprecation?
In a nutshell it’s a way of portraying yourself and perceiving yourself as being inadequate, lazy, unproductive, etc. Though so much of what we see externally (yet, don’t even realise), is deprecating, I believe it starts with us internally, someone who is confidence and self loving won’t be self-deprecating, in fact who in their right mind would be?
Surprisingly and unsurprisingly, almost everyone.
We’re taught from a young age the importance of being humble, the way in which should carry ourselves in public and private which determines who we become and the habits we create. And also, the importance of not being narcissistic, as humans we find connections with commonality, and being full of yourself is something many of us don’t relate to, it’s a formula for being an outsider in today’s day and age.
Life is far from perfect, and to deal with said imperfections we use humour as a coping mechanism, we learn that other people can relate to how we feel, the behaviours we carry out and even experiences that we’ve had. In the grand scheme of things, being about to talk about many relatable things opens up the conversation and allows more once taboo topics to be widely spoken about. There’s been a surge in social media content relating to struggles in mental health, as a result.
Self-deprecation or vanity?
As with many other things, there’s a fine line between what we consider as self-deprecation and vanity. Sometimes self-deprecation is a way to fish for compliments or become more “popular” and well-liked with young audiences. It may also be a mechanism for getting external validation, if a beautiful person says they’re ugly, I’m pretty sure they’ll get dozens of people saying the exact opposite, giving them a little ego boost.
And other times it’s well and truly someone’s mindset about themselves and the world around them. Though I don’t advise fishing for compliments by saying you look ugly, it’s something we’ve all done, subconsciously without really realising. Many of us don’t believe we don’t deserve what we have, we struggle when life comes our way and knocks us down, and we become extremely critical of what others have to say about it. Not that it really matters.
But, what about the companies?
When I first became aware that brands, companies, influencers and everyone in between were using self-deprecation to sell and earn millions, I instantly became angry. Why would someone want to profit off of making people feel bad about themselves? Why is there so much content around inadequacy and why is this making a profit? On a human and individual level I felt compelled to rebel these types of companies, yet on an industrial level I understood why.
The most important thing to a company is building trust between itself and the consumers, and what better to target this than to go to the extreme? It’s come to a point where it’s okay to laugh at ourselves, and all the relatable things, it helps us feel less lonely in our own problems. We find a common ground. And that’s what companies need, to sell something in a way that will be heard and builds commonality and promotes authenticity.
Though I won’t stop you from laughing at memes at 3am about how you just can’t your life together (#relatable) and why adulting just sucks, it’s important to consider that living in a constant self-deprecative state can be harmful, it can have negative effects on your well-being and lead you into pity parties and days of mulling over your own inadequacies, when really there’s a lot of positive things about you too.
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