Self-awareness vs. Self-deprecation

I recognize that this could be a little heavy, but I need to get some thoughts down with the hope that writing will help me sort through some feelings and thoughts (as it usually does).

So, I attended a women’s meeting recently where many women were working on various projects (crocheted caps for newborn babies to supply to a local hospital, tied fleece blankets for families in crisis), and as I meandered around various projects and in and out of several conversations, I was aware of my speech on a new level.  I have known for a while that I need to stop apologizing for occurrences that are not only out of my power but are situations that I really have nothing to do about or any way to change.  (For instance, I attended a dinner where the table’s legs were adjusted to be higher than other tables in the hall.  As I sat down, another guest remarked, “You are the only one tall enough to sit at this table.” Guess what my reply was…? “I’m sorry.” I immediately thought, Why am I sorry? Am I sorry that I’m tall? No. Am I sorry that you are short? No. Am I sorry that someone adjusted this table to be higher than the others? Not really. I wouldn’t have even noticed if the other guest hadn’t pointed out the difference.) I felt this awareness of my speech on a new level and resolved to think more about my responsibility before I apologize.

Then, at this blanket-tieing evening, I noticed my words again, almost as an outsider looking in, begging myself to not self-deprecate, which has become such a habit.  In my quest for becoming better, I often fall into the trap of looking at all my deficits instead of noticing the good, the positive, and the productive work I accomplish each day.

In the shower the next day following this evening of conversation and self-deprecation, I started to ask myself “why?” Do I put myself down in order to put others above me? Do I self-deprecate in the hope of getting a compliment? Do I speak harshly against myself to acknowledge my flaws when so many people see me as the woman with the clean house, cute kids, and put-together appearance? Do I want them to see my flaws–to see that I am real–so that they will not put me on a tall, elegant, yet unapproachable pedestal? Do I do it as an open act of self-awareness? Or do I really not like who I am? (I think the answer to all of these questions is “yes” at various times in my life.)

***(time-lapse, as the previous portion of this blog has been saved as a draft for several days of thought and processing)***

As I’ve thought more about this practice of self-deprecation (sometimes in the name of self-awareness), I’ve discovered that I’m good at it.  I’m good at beating myself up (forgive the dangling preposition, please). I’ve done it for many years…and I know all about myself. I can criticize as long as the day. But do I want to? (No.) Is this practice fruitful? (Again, no.) So, what should I do?!?!?!?!

Well, the new month started yesterday…and my mind is filled with thoughts for a new novel, new characters, a new life. Maybe November will mark a new era for me, as well. I need one. “The time has come, my little friend, to talk of other things!” Of positivity, and happiness, and “cabbages and kings.”

After all, I am beautiful.  And I am a princess. Do you know how I know? My preschooler tells me everyday. 🙂

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Karin

Writer, freelance editor, mother, artist...I wear a few other hats, as well, of course. :)

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