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Minimizing Self-Deprecation Keeps Us Off “I’m Not Good Enough” Avenue

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A week or so ago, one of our Kuel Life Industry Thought leaders sent me an email. In it she was sharing a recent accident she had. She tripped –  over nothing (life always gives us stuff to trip over).

Anyway, she was lamenting a bruised hip as her injury. I responded, teasing her about there not being enough boo-boo kisses on the planet to help us as we age.

Later that day I asked her how her hip was doing in a DM (direct message). She responded favorably letting me know she was back up to speed, so to speak.

Run, Dara Run:

Yes, training for a 10k. Go ahead, ask me if I’m a runner”

Dara runs regularly. It’s her form, or way, to decompress and feed her passion. She let me know things were back to normal and then said: “Did I read or hear you say that you’re training for a 10K?”

My immediate response: “Yes, training for a 10k. Go ahead, ask me if I’m a runner” 

I think you see the direction this is headed, yes?

“Nope,” came the reply. “Not gonna ask cause I’m not a runner either. It’s just a passion. Let’s run together.” 

Stop The Self-Deprecation:

I knew deep down that it’s not productive to self-deprecate.”

Then it happened. Until that moment I thought the DM exchange was only between the two of us. Apparently, we were inside a backchannel to a more extended audience. 

The very next text that popped in the thread…. A very strongly worded ” STOP – I hear that so often in my industry. You are both runners.”

It is clear to me that many of us women need guardrails. Someone(s) to interject and call us out on our self-deprecating bullshit. Maybe men do it too. Personally, I’ve never witnessed it. My experience with men is that they tout their talents and gifts – even if I can’t see those particular talents or gifts.

Our self-appointed monitor continued: “No tearing yourselves down because of pacing or experience. It’s so  imperative to give ourselves credit for doing hard stuff…. running, and for being hot stuff…. a runner!”

Instantly embarrassed by being “caught”, I realized that that initial reaction was because I knew deep down that it’s not productive to self-deprecate. My immediate reaction was “oh, crap this exchange was on a bigger group chat… that’s humiliating”. But directly after that, it hit me.

Needed Guardrails:

Thanks to you all for keeping us off “I am not good enough” avenue. After all, we are all meant for “I am exactly right” lane.”

We need each other on this journey. We need to have each other’s backs. For various and sundry reasons women are conditioned to help and empower others. Women also are taught to be nice, liked, agreeable, kind. I could go on and on with adjectives commonly associated with females. These words, perceived as feminine, don’t engender an attitude of self-aggrandizement. They just don’t.

While self-deprecation can be a useful tactic, we may experience some backlash if we spend too much time on “I’m not good enough” avenue. Our self-esteem can take a hit. Our intention when we use self-deprecation may be to encourage others to feel comfortable and not threatened by us but if we regularly position ourselves as the butt of jokes or consistently put ourselves down, we can begin to internalize that message and make it real.

Take The Leap:

It’s not hard to take the leap from there to depression and anxiety. If you’re having difficulty taking that leap, think about saying to your friend, in front of their friends, family, peers, colleagues that their accomplishments aren’t’ all that great. Or, that they aren’t all that smart, really. If that doesn’t make you depressed, you can stop reading this.

Upon reflection, I am grateful our “we’re not runners, while we’re running” conversation was overheard. I am grateful for the women in our tribe that are self-appointed guardians, the ones that call us out on the more egregious practices of self-deprecation. Thanks to you all for keeping us off “I am not good enough” avenue. After all, we are all meant for “I am exactly right” lane.

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