Self deprecation and humility – there is a difference. I don’t know if it’s a Canadian thing or what, but I think many of us fear appearing egotistical, prideful, or cocky to such an extent that we overcompensate too much toward the other end and become almost self-deprecating. It’s often relatively subtle – an “oh it’s not that good” here, an “I kind of messed it up” there, a “You should see how good so and so does it”… but any and all put downs we give ourselves do still chip away at the soul and the self-esteem.
Many of us have done it. When someone pays us a compliment, we respond by telling them why they are wrong, and then proceed to prove to them why we are unworthy of their kindness by sharing a list of our shortcomings. I don’t think we’re consciously trying to put ourselves down, per say – more trying not to appear vain or conceited.
That said, when someone offers us a gift of kind words through a compliment the options available are not simply either “I KNOW!!” or “You’re WRONG”. We can always just say “thank you” and accept the gift. Simple as that. Offered gift recognized, received, and appreciated. Telling others why they are mistaken, misguided, or disillusioned when they pay us a compliment is like handing back a present with a little slap on the wrist. Most of us wouldn’t do that. It’s kind of impolite. Someone has gone out of their way to give us something special, thus accepting it with gratitude not only makes us feel good, but also makes the giver feel good too. AND when we start allowing ourselves to accept kind words from others, we might actually begin to be able accept them from ourselves. Win. Win… WIN!