Self – depreciation

A painting and collage featuring 4 women.
Please Don’t Judge Us – painting and collage on canvas 60 x 60 cm

Self depreciation is a form of self harm, a form of cutting.

I’d been thinking about this for a while and then I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s words in instagram:

“You guys, I can’t do it anymore. I can’t attack myself. I can’t insult myself. I can’t respond to a compliment by offering up a list of my flaws. I just… can’t. It feels like such a violation of the sacred. I don’t have the heart for self-depreciation anymore. Somewhere along the way, over the past few years, I’ve lost the dark (and particularly female talent for self-criticism and for tearing myself down. It feels like a sacrilege. My mouth can’t form the hateful words. And I can’t bear it anymore, to hear another woman demean, degrade or diminish herself. It shocks my senses and hurts my heart. To witness a woman denying that she is beautiful is like watching someone set fire to an art museum. It’s like watching an angel drink gasoline. It’s like watching a Phoenix rip off its wings. I just can’t be around it anymore. It hurts too much. This is my official plea: I beg you to stop doing that. You are a magnificent creature. Start knowing it. Stop lying about yourself. I love you. Onward.”

But it really all started with with the Hannah Gadsby’s show Nanette on Netflix. I was sceptical to start with what did this have to do with me?

And then I watched the programme and it meant everything.

It was a wake up call. I didn’t even know I was really doing it. It is such an automatic response. Appear a bit crap, brush off a compliment. I’m a nice girl, I wouldn’t want to appear arrogant or stand out.

Where was this behaviour learned from. It’s so ingrained I don’t know when it started.

Why is it acceptable or even a thing that women put themselves down in order to fit in.

You wouldn’t want people to think you were too good, that’s bad. It’s some sort of betrayal of femininity to express that you are good and you know it.

Well enough. I don’t want to play that game anymore. I don’t believe I’m perfect or assume I’m never wrong or have nothing to learn.

But in the name of women I’m not going to default to putting myself down to using self-depreciation as a way for people to like me.

How can it be that the only way people would like me is if I’m mean about myself.

How will that make other people like me?

If I don’t even like myself and don’t see that I’m worthy of friendship and love for who I truly am not a smaller version of myself.

Self confidence is inspiring not dangerous.


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