I’ll never forget the day I realized I wasn’t quite the Ford model I thought I was. – Amy Schumer

There is something refreshing about those who refuse to take themselves too seriously. Their authenticity and humility are like a breath of fresh air in a world where feeling offended has become the new black. Seriously, to be able to laugh at yourself and encourage others to join in, is a gift many comedians share.

Seth Rogen, Tina Fey and America’s newest sweetheart Amy Schumer have found a style of self mockery that resonates with the masses creating extremely successful careers. These three, in addition to many others (including anyone who’s ever been skewered on a Comedy Central Roast), recognize and own their flaws in a way that makes many people love them even more.

A little bit of self deprecation sprinkled here and there can help people feel more relaxed and connected.

However, you’ve also seen the flip and more extreme side of self deprecation. Whether it’s a family member constantly taking jabs at himself or a friend who counters every compliment with a sassy one-liner, self deprecation can often be a cover for a much deeper issue.

Thoughts, words, actions, character — they’re all connected. What you think and what you say matters, especially in regard to yourself. Every time you affirm something with words, it gains power. Continually trash talking the way you look, what you do and where you come from reinforces negative beliefs. Those beliefs shape how you see yourself and how others see you as well. Even in attempts to be funny, more relatable or relaxed, self deprecation can be a slippery slope.

Every time you disregard, belittle or devalue yourself you chip away at a positive self image. While it may seem like harmless humor, self deprecation often is what many people use to mask their insecurities or self loathing. In an attempt to deflect embarrassment, self deprecation is a way to hurt yourself before anyone else can hurt you.

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While humor is a fun way to bond with others, self deprecation can do the exact opposite. When mocking yourself crosses the line it feels awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. Every time my friend Linda would put herself down her best pal would say, “Stop being mean to my friend Linda, would ya?” (It usually worked!)  Most people in your life, especially family and friends who love you, think you’re great. They don’t want to see you making fun of the person they know and love.

And if roles were reversed you would feel the same way.

If you often find yourself making jokes at your own expense, I have a challenge for you. For the next forty-eight hours can  you abstain from all forms of self deprecation?

When you think of something, no matter how funny you think it may be, bite your tongue. Allow yourself to feel open, uncomfortable and vulnerable by not putting yourself down in any way.

Over the next two days keep track of your humorous habits and take notice of how often you lean towards self deprecation. I also encourage you to dive a bit deeper to try and uncover what underlying feelings and beliefs may be masked by “humor.” For extra credit I challenge you to shift the way you speak about yourself. Use only positive words and statements, whether it’s in front of other people or alone. This can create a massive shift moving you from self injury to self love.

There’s nothing better than a good laugh, so hold on to your humor. You can be funny and rock self respect at the same time.

As always, take care of you.

Love Love Love,


Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Tune Up Tips and follow her on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Ben Raynal.