Help yourself to telling the world how inadequate you are. Evidently, it’s good for you.
When I see a person make a habit of letting all their friends and acquaintances know (in general terms) how unpopular, unappreciated, and unloved they are, I look at it as a subconscious method of helping themselves feel popular, appreciated, and loved because they are unable to feel those ways otherwise.
Facebook is currently the most fertile ground for this to take place. Like people using their status as a way to tell everyone how “Yet again, another date gone wrong. I guess I’ll just be single forever…” (I’m assuming the guy or girl they went on the date with is a facebook friend and will pretty much immediately read the comment.)
And “Tell me this. How could someone actually say that to another human being?” (This vague sort of comment opens the door for people to ask, “Hey, what happened?” and “What did someone say to you?” and “Who’s doing this to you?”)
Both of those status updates of course are soon followed by 13 comments. And jackpot, the plan worked.
While I’m generally an upbeat and positive person, I definitely get into ruts just like everybody else. And I don’t fake being happy when I do. If someone asks me how I’m doing, I tell them the truth. But what keeps me from broadcasting my gloom to others, publicly?
I learned the hard way a few years ago (2005) on Myspace and I hated the way it made me feel: I admitted in a “blog” that I was feeling “depressed by all the winter weather”. It didn’t take long for Myspace friends to come “rescue” me by leaving positive comments. So even though it was just an off-hand thing I wrote, I realized it could be perceived as “help me feel good about myself”. Like I was fishing for compliments.
Not that I wasn’t grateful that those people cared enough about me to show their concern. It just felt weird and unnatural for me.
In public, I have to feel like (and know) I’m helping myself get out of the funk. I do ask for help, advice, and encouragement- but I do it all in private.
So now when I write, I am always reluctant to present a personal problem without finishing the post by providing the solution or how I will help myself get through it. And most likely, to get that solution, behind the scenes I’ve already asked for advice from a trusted friend or family member.
I don’t assume that the way I deal with feelings of inadequacy (privately) is the superior way- it’s just the best way for me. All I can assume is that people who publicly deny themselves are doing what’s best for them, and that’s why they continue to do it.
On a different token, however, self-depreciation has made Conan O’Brien’s career. In every monologue, he makes fun of his pasty, lanky, 6’ 4” body and his own off-beat style of humor. His confidence is shown in his ability poke fun of himself. But when this comes from a place of confidence, a person can totally put themselves down and have it work for them.
So self-depreciation and self-denial definitely work for certain kinds of people. Those who gain their confidence from a public array of encouragement and those who already have confidence yet ironically bring attention to the very things about themselves that others may find cause for low self-esteem.