People who struggle to value, praise or appreciate others are often ones for whom the idea of valuing people overtly is not an easy one to do. A root cause of this can be because they do not value themselves underneath. Also people who look for appreciation from others can find it missing in themselves. So our ego watch for today is self-deprecation, putting ourselves down.
People who put themselves down are ones who might for example when invited to have something for themselves will decline it, saying “It doesn’t matter.” They may push it away, implying it isn’t important, but might leave you with the sense they they aren’t actually valuing themselves. Of course many of us were taught to be modest, to not “push” ourselves forward, to “not be pushy”, to keep quiet, to not draw attention to ourselves, to “not boast”, to keep a low profile. Can you read all the “nots” in that?! It is of course profoundly negative.
The person who doesn’t value themselves may hold the core belief inside that they are “not good enough”, that they “don’t matter”. It’s a profoundly unhappy place. You’ll hear it in things like an inability to acknowledge ability: “I’m no good at…” whatever it is. You can hear the words “I’m no good” in there. Another manifestation is apology, “I’m sorry”, often when there’s nothing to apologise for.
Self-deprecation can be very effectively covered up. People may act the reverse to the underlying belief. Or they may have their hearts closed, being reluctant to contact the pain inside.
Yet often a core aspect is a dislike of self, a shame, that goes back a long way. But it is not who we are.
This is where self-esteem, confidence and positive psychology work is important. The affirmation needs to be “I love, value and appreciate myself”. But to be able to say that to yourself, you are very likely to need to work on developing a sense of self-value, of how it feels inside, and finding the space inside where you begin to love yourself. Words on their own don’t quite do it. We would take positive psychology a step further. Self-deprecation is a hugely powerful negative ego trait. It nicely illustrates the function of the ego in masking the real Self, who you really are. The underlying Self is bliss, joy, love, contentment, peace. This Self is the source of all that is good about oneself. It feels so good. So it is a fundamental shift to make, from self-deprecation to honouring the Self. This is where developing an inner awareness of the authentic Self is a major, powerful journey.
This is part of what we teach in our awareness work.
As a simple awareness practice in the meantime however, catch yourself putting yourself down, not valuing yourself, and say to yourself empowering words, like “I love, value and appreciate myself”. It needs regular practice since self-deprecation is often very well-entrenched.