Can Self-Deprecating Humour be Detrimental?

Can Self-Deprecating Humour be Detrimental?

Self-deprecating humor is common in comedy shows and stand-up specials, and you may have even used it yourself. You might have come across a situation when you want to feel liked and included. No matter what joke you crack, people don’t find it humorous unless eventually you start to crack jokes on yourself. And there it is. Everyone in the room is out in crackles and you enjoy the feeling.

Meaning of self-deprecating humor

Self-deprecating humor is a type of self-awareness, but the person utilizing it only points out what they believe are unpleasant or unfavorable aspects of themselves, but does it in a hilarious, joking manner. These also include the sarcastic comments passed at self to produce laughter.

Self-deprecating humor will help you get a good laugh, but have you ever wondered what does it really say about you?

The good side

Some theories say self-deprecating humor is not essentially bad because it helps a person to address the negative side of theirs in a joking manner because of which it is released out without causing much harm. A good laughter promotes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins generate a general sensation of well-being and can even momentarily ease pain.

The ability to laugh at oneself also indicates self-awareness. Moreover, seeing memes based on self-deprecation may help the person who shares or sees them feel like they’re not alone and that hundreds of other people feel the same way in similar situations.

Having said that, if all these are the benefits, then it is natural to not realize the detrimental effects it can have. Let’s look at why self-deprecating humor is bad?

The bad side

Using this way of humor can have detrimental effects on your mental health. Many researchers have proved that continuously talking so negatively about yourself can put you in a never-ending loop of doing so. It turns into a habit. You train your brain to think that way about yourself and ignore the competent side of yours which eventually leads you to a lot of self-doubt.

Openly stating out these statements is even worse because you’re not only hurting yourself internally, but you’re also kicking yourself externally. While self-defeating humor may be used to lessen expectations for others and oneself, it can also set you up for failure since you’re openly admitting that you don’t believe you’re doing a good job and almost anticipating terrible things to happen instead.

Self-deprecating can also lead to depression. This type of humor may be a coping mechanism, but if used excessively, it can work as a barrier to communicating with others since they only perceive the negative aspects of you. This in turn would make you feel less accepted in the society.

Why do people self-deprecate?

If you are one of the people who engages in self-deprecation, then more often than not you might also wonder “why am I self-deprecating?”

It can be described as a process in which your brain “constantly examines the social environment seeking clues indicating the degree to which you are being approved versus rejected by other people”, usually causing more harm than benefit.

Self-deprecation can also be used as a defense mechanism. Self-deprecating language can be used to cushion failure or shame, or to warn people of our perceived flaws so they are not dissatisfied if we confirm their assumptions.

How does self-deprecating humor look like?

Some people are conceited, always boasting about how wonderful they are. The polar side is self-deprecating, concentrating on their own flaws and even laughing about how they are small, unsuccessful, or not very bright.

Certain examples of self-deprecating statements that are said to elicit laughter and humor include:

  • “Today is not my day,” I say to myself every single day.
  • I’m a very hardworking person. Almost everything becomes harder when I’m working on it.
  • How do I moisturize my face? I use my own tears!
  • I wouldn’t even settle for me, so why would you?
  • I was told that I can become anything if I put my mind to it. So, I became a disappointment.
  • Deep inside, I’m already dead. I still want to make other people feel alive and good.
  • I believe in my pet more than I believe in myself.

How to stop self-deprecation?

  • Mindfulness and thought stopping: One needs to be mindful about their self-talk in order to gain a control over self-deprecating comments. Once you start practicing mindfulness, you’ll be able to notice and catch yourself by deliberately asking yourself to stop making such remarks.
  • Put yourself in your friends’ shoes: When you catch yourself talking negatively to yourself, the question you can ask yourself is would you let you friend talk to themselves in this manner? If you are a very caring and empathetic friend, you wouldn’t. So why treat yourself in a way that you dislike your friend to be treated in?
  • Journaling and practicing gratitude: Being thankful and writing down what you are thankful for is a wonderful way of reminding yourself about the good aspects of life. It helps to generate the endorphins and boost self-confidence in a non-harmful way.
  • Visit a professional: There’s absolutely no harm in seeing a trained therapist to address and manage your concerns. This professional will help you get a head start in applying all the above-mentioned techniques and a lot more, in reality. Once you get a hang of it, you can even practice it on your own.

Therapy is an effective way to seek help with this kind of an issues. Visit or download the app now.

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