Exploring The Adverse Effects Of Self Deprecating Humor And How To Stop

May 30, 2021
07:00 P.M.
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Self-deprecating humor can be somewhat comforting at times. Most people relate to it, and many of the jokes are hilarious, but unfortunately, it can often result in self-criticism that leads to self-hate.


If you log on to Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok, you are sure to find several posts in a self-deprecating tone. This type of humor is popular amongst Gen Z and millennial social media users mostly because of its relatability.

It is healthy to be aware and sometimes poke fun at our flaws and imperfections, but we can go too far at times. Consequently, we’ve decided to explore the adverse effects of self-deprecating humor and how to stop it.

Striking A Balance

Photo by Gustavo Torres on Unsplash

Photo by Gustavo Torres on Unsplash


Self-deprecating jokes may have their place in the world when one is careful not to cross the line. Some of the most successful comedians, such as Pete Davidson and John Mulaney, use this type of humor for their careers.

Many experts have found self-deprecating humor can even be beneficial for your emotional well-being. These self-aware jokes can also help diffuse awkward interactions and help one loosen up a little more.

However, self-deprecating jokes can also lead to self-hate and a lowered self-esteem if you are not careful. These adverse effects happen when you don’t strike a balance with how you poke fun at yourself.


There are signs to show you that you may be leaning towards an unhealthy self-deprecating balance. These include not being able to take a compliment when it becomes instinct and when others aren’t laughing.

Navigating Whether Your Self Deprecating Jokes Are Unhealthy


We have briefly touched on some signs that present self-deprecating humor as bordering unhealthy. However, it is important to understand the extent of damage that self-deprecating humor can do to self-esteem.

New York-based Talkspace therapist Jill E. Daino explains how it is possible to start believing jokes made at your expense. One can’t accept a compliment or self-deprecates as a reflex because they believe the joke.


“over time, those comments and beliefs become a part of how you view yourself and impact your self-esteem. I think of it as slowly chipping away at the foundation of your sense of self over time.”

Says Jill E. Daino

The inner voice is powerful and can determine how you truly think of yourself, and many may even self-deprecate when alone. If the joke doesn’t bring light to imperfection and only validates insecurities, it is unhealthy.

How To Stop The Cycle


There is no easy way to rebuild your self-esteem, but you must try to live a better quality of life. Thus, we’ve put together a few simple steps to follow to purge yourself of unhealthy self-deprecation once and for all.

The first step is to stop comparing yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy, but it is almost impossible not to with social media. However, people only present their best selves to the world, so it is not fair to make those comparisons.

Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

The next few steps are to release expectations and make a conscious decision towards positivity. If you only focus on the things you want from your life, you may find you’re on the right path, helping you become more positive.

Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to just experience something positive; one must constantly work at being positive too. Self-reflection of the good and the bad is also essential to breaking an unhealthy self-deprecation cycle.

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