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Reconsidering Self-deprecation

Every week in Assembly, members of Wenona’s Student Leadership Team share youthful insights and advice with their younger peers. This week’s message comes from Deputy Head Prefect Kalara.

We have bought into a culture where self-depreciation is somewhat normalised; where self-directed degrading words can be thrown around casually and lose their gravity.

Sure, some may argue that they are just jokes and that being self-aware and capable of poking fun at yourself is a good thing. To some extent, I agree. But when is too much?

I admit that I too am frequently guilty of comments such as “that was stupid of me” and “no, I just got lucky”, whether in humour, frustration or as an uncomfortable response to a compliment. Though they may seem to have lost their meaning, phrases like “I’m definitely going to fail”, don’t get said without consequence. We all know too well that personal punchlines are pure self-depreciation.

When we say negative things about ourselves, even in so-called humour, they get internalised. We conform and confine ourselves to this fabricated perception of what we are capable of. It is a constant cycle of self-doubt that can manifest itself as a barrier, inhibiting growth and leaving us stuck in the very habits that we criticise ourselves for succumbing to.

You know how they say words of wisdom hit you at the most unexpected times? That was definitely the case for me recently. I was at a friend's birthday party, having a rant about myself, when unbeknownst to me, I was about to receive a reality check. My friend interrupted me and said, “Stop! Kalara, you just need to start loving yourself”. To be completely honest, I was taken aback. But he was right.

I know this is something we hear often, from teachers, family, and friends, but we do need to stop being so harsh and give ourselves a break. Coming to terms with our insecurities isn’t easy but letting them define us is just another way to make excuses.

So, give credit where credit is due. Be kinder to the most important person in your life - yourself.

KalaraCircle

Kalara Pringgoharjono
Deputy Head Prefect