The intent of this post is to share that it is useful to always think well of oneself, and of others. That using self-deprecation, sarcasm, and being arrogant should be avoided; that one must always be respectful of oneself, and of others. And that living with this respectfulness for self and others, at all times, in thought, speech and action, is very useful and leads to happiness, health and achievement. If this can be, or is already being, practiced, then reading further might not be needed! This article is a detailed explanation on this topic of living with respect for oneself, and for others.
Using self-deprecation, sarcasm, and being arrogant should be avoided; One must always be respectful of oneself, and of others. Living with this respectfulness, for self and others, at all times, in thought, speech and action, is very useful.
Self-deprecation, Sarcasm, Arrogance and Respectfulness!
At first, the first three at least might seem to be different from one another. And “respectfulness” alone probably stands out. And yes, respectfulness is the most powerful and most useful of all of the above. However, Self-deprecation, Sarcasm, and Arrogance are all linked and related to one another, more than might be apparent.
There are many who use self-deprecation, by choice, or even as the standard for some among the many. Whether used by choice or otherwise, it is NOT useful. It goes against the very powerful and useful practice of “Loving and accepting self, exactly as one is!”
Many who have read my articles will find that there is a lot of focus on “Loving and accepting oneself exactly as one is” (The other aspect that is also a common thread in all my articles is “Choice.”) A very dear friend asked me “if I had a problem with self-love.” And whether that was the reason I focused so much on that aspect.
“Loving and accepting self as one is” becomes the starting point for truly useful personal growth (another article on this is already in the works on that.)
“Loving and accepting self as one is” becomes the starting point for truly useful personal growth
What makes Self-deprecation not very useful? Some who use it say, it helps them “stay grounded,” or “not think too much of themselves, or not take themselves too seriously, or “guard against becoming arrogant.” One person even asked me, “Are you expecting me to be formal and structured even in the thinking I do about myself?”
Thoughts creates reality. Thoughts are formed by words. Past experiences, a whole host of factors, and finally, the words that one speaks to themselves creates their reality. This leads to how they perceive themselves, others and almost everything in their lives. So, self-talk, is a very important aspect of mental and emotional well-being. And “mental and emotional well-being” are completely connected to physical well-being. Research shows that people are not happy because they are healthy, and they are actually healthy because they are happy. And conversely, they are unhealthy because they are unhappy.
(I have written on how language, thinking and such affects each person’s reality in another article here: Is a hard reset for life possible? Yes it is!)
Self-talk, is a very important aspect of mental and emotional well-being. And “mental and emotional well-being” are completely connected to physical well-being.
The “Unconscious brain / mind” in everyone is something that a person is not conscious of. And that is precisely what gives it the name “Unconscious.” It is believed that in most cases the unconscious has about the maturity of a child of age 3, 4 or 5. The Unconscious is sometimes referred to as the “Inner Child.”
What matters is that the Unconscious or the Inner child, believes anything that is communicated to it as being truth. This is what is so unique about the unconscious. In any case, the unconscious is like a pure, all believing child. And it does not really understand humour, and that something could be said in jest. So, when one uses Self-deprecation, the unconscious believes the deprecation to be reflective of TRUTH. As a result that becomes what the person unconsciously believes to be true about themselves. Since self-deprecation is putting oneself down it is not useful.
So, when one uses Self-deprecation, the unconscious believes the deprecation to be reflective of TRUTH.
One might argue that the use of Self-deprecation prevents the growth of arrogance. In this situation, this self-deprecation is confused with respectfulness. Clearly, self-deprecation is NOT the same as respectfulness. Just like not being unhappy does not mean being happy! Not being unhappy is just that – not being unhappy. By no stretch of imagination can that be considered as being happy! So, self-deprecation ought not to be used in place of respectfulness. Respectfulness is respecting oneself, and respecting others. Respectfulness is thinking well of oneself, AND thinking well of others and treating others as equals.
Just like not being unhappy does not mean being happy! Not being unhappy is just that – not being unhappy. By no stretch of imagination can that be considered as being happy!
Self-deprecation and sarcasm are, in my mind, two sides of the same coin. When used with others, it is sarcasm – which is also probably anger being conveyed in the garb of humour. Sarcasm puts others down; self-deprecation puts oneself down. And therein lies the stark reality that self-deprecation is not useful at all. Mostly anyone who has been at the receiving of sarcasm would agree that they did not feel good about themselves then. Similarly, when one makes self-deprecatory statements about oneself, they are being sarcastic of themselves.
Self-deprecation and sarcasm are, in my mind, two sides of the same coin.
As good measure to use is to ask oneself this question: Would I keep quiet if someone else made the kind of deprecatory statement about me that I do with my self-talk? Would I like it?
At this point the thought that might come up is where is “humility” in all of this. Humility is defined as “the the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.” If humility is used to think well of oneself, AND at the same time think well of others, then it is useful. In that sense it equates to respectfulness. However, if it is to think less of oneself, and of others as better than themselves, then it is not useful.
Humility comes from the Latin word humilis, which literally means low. When one feels humility, they are probably feeling smaller or lower in the scheme of things. And this also brings into the equation, comparison with others. And given that it is very closely related to humiliation (which is SURELY not useful,) humility is, in my opinion, usually used to talk about a lack of ego. Maybe it would be better to aim to be respectful of self and others, rather than being humble?
At the other end of the spectrum is Arrogance. It is based on the belief that one is much better than others and that hence, one is “superior” to those others. This leads to a situation again wherein one believes something that is not true.
It is another matter altogether that what is outwardly displayed as “Arrogance” is most likely the opposite of what is felt inside, by that person, about themselves. Almost always, when someone displays a “superiority complex” it is apparent that their internal opinion of themselves is not very high. And since the internal opinion is not good, they try to compensate for this by putting others down. Here again, arrogance is often mistaken for confidence. Confidence is belief in one’s own ability. This does not mean that one can take others lightly.
In this context of arrogance, a passage from “A Stone for Danny Fisher,” the novel by Harold Robbins, comes to mind. I read this book almost 35 years ago, and this passage has stayed with me. So much so, that I wrote it down, and kept it to remind myself to stay respectful of everyone.
I nodded painfully. I didn’t want to speak, I had to save my breath. Something had gone wrong. This was supposed to be a cinch for me. I couldn’t understand it. According to the papers, I should have taken him by the second round, but here it was going into the third and I hadn’t been able to land one solid punch. “He okay, Mr. Spritzer?” Zep’s voice was anxious. Spritzer’s voice was dry. It cut through the fog that was beginning to gather in my head. “He’s okay. He’s been reading the papers too much, that’s all.” My head snapped up. I knew what he meant. He was right, too; I had been too sure of myself. I had begun to believe everything I had read about myself.
Confidence in one’s ability does not mean that one takes another lightly. In the recent past, there has been this video doing the rounds of the CEO of one of India’s start-ups that has been in the news, thanks to the paucity of cash, speaking rather brashly and disrespectfully of competitors. Joy and appreciation of one’s own accomplishments MUST NOT lead to belittling competition. A similar practice had become the norm in games like cricket, where the bowler “sends off” the batter who has been dismissed. To a person like me, “that is just not cricket!”
This beautiful piece from Lao Tzu, says it much better than I ever will be able to.
Lao Tzu’s Tao Teh Ching – Chapter Sixty-Eight
A good warrior is never violent.
A good fighter is never offensive.
A great victor defeats his opponent, but not by challenging him.
A great commander is humble.
This is called the power of non-contention.
This is also called making use of the effort of others.
To follow this is to follow the pattern of the subtle nature of the universe.”
Given that I do not know the Chinese language, I had to rely on the translation into English. I am taking a guess that Lao Tzu might have actually meant “respectful and reverent” instead of humble. Even if he didn’t, I probably think that it might be useful to read this passage with the words respectful and reverent in place of the word humble.
In conclusion, I believe therefore that it is very important to stay respectful, first of oneself, and of others, always. That it is very useful to completely avoid all and any forms of self-deprecation, sarcasm, arrogance, in thought, speech and action. And that these ought not to be used even in jest, and in a non-serious manner.
My wishes that you stay happy, stay blessed, stay healthy, and yes, respectful of self and others! Keep smiling, the faith, and your chin up always (except is you are a golfer and playing a shot in a bunker!)