Tear down the idea of tearing yourself down

in Opinion by
The Wellness Institute tackles a variety of mental health issues, including self-deprecating beliefs, through posts on their blog. (Photo/The Wellness Institute)

Walking through the halls of high school, one could hear countless scattered voices making jokes about not only others but about themselves. ‘Jokes’ and throwaway comments that make fun of appearance or personality and get laughs at the expense of oneself or others may work for stand-up comedians, but do they really “work” for anyone in day-to-day life?

Walking through the halls of high school, one could hear countless scattered voices making jokes about not only others but about themselves. ‘Jokes’ and throwaway comments that make fun of appearance or personality and get laughs at the expense of oneself or others may work for stand-up comedians, but do they really “work” for anyone in day-to-day life?

Self-deprecating jokes encompass a commonly-used form of humor: laughing at yourself. While it may be an adage you should be able to laugh at yourself before you laugh at anyone else, there is a line between finding comedy in your mistakes and blatantly tearing yourself down.  

Low self-esteem proves to be majorly responsible for the commonality of self-deprecating humor nowadays. According to Stage of Life, an online company providing advice for any stage of life, “20% of teens are either ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ happy with their body image,” a much higher amount than in past generations. Unsurprisingly, self-deprecating jokes are so typical in the lives of teens with statistically low self-esteem in the current generation.

While low self-esteem plagues teens of both genders, girls tend to more commonly use self-deprecating jokes, insulting their own looks and personalities under the veil of humor. According to clinical psychologist Ros Taylor, women tend to use these jokes instinctively to lower the expectations of others. The number of girls that say they like their looks lowers from 75% to 56% during ages 8 to 13, indicating a dip in self-esteem in pre-teen girls; something even more present in older (high school-aged) teen girls. 

“Fishing for compliments” is a term typically utilized to refer to these jokes where one uses themselves as the butt of the joke because these comments are customarily responded to with empathetic, reassuring claims like “no, you’re not stupid” or “you’re totally not the ugliest in our class.” Self-deprecating jokes are just cheap humor. Undoubtedly, it is easier to say the first negative thing that comes to mind and pass it off as a ‘joke’ than giving any actual thought to it and using genuine comedy to get a laugh. 

Laughing at the expense of someone else may not be kind, but tearing yourself down does not prove any better; especially in terms of self-esteem. Despite their commonplace status in society, self-deprecating jokes have no place in humor, especially not the humor of the young generation. In a world that will try to tear you down, you can do no good to yourself by beating them to it.

Self-deprecating jokes encompass a commonly-used form of humor: laughing at yourself. While it may be an adage you should be able to laugh at yourself before you laugh at anyone else, there is a line between finding comedy in your mistakes and blatantly tearing yourself down.  

Low self-esteem proves to be majorly responsible for the commonality of self-deprecating humor nowadays. According to Stage of Life, an online company providing advice for any stage of life, “20% of teens are either ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ happy with their body image,” a much higher amount than in past generations. Unsurprisingly, self-deprecating jokes are so typical in the lives of teens with statistically low self-esteem in the current generation.

While low self-esteem plagues teens of both genders, girls tend to more commonly use self-deprecating jokes, insulting their own looks and personalities under the veil of humor. According to clinical psychologist Ros Taylor, women tend to use these jokes instinctively to lower the expectations of others. The number of girls that say they like their looks lowers from 75% to 56% during ages 8 to 13, indicating a dip in self-esteem in pre-teen girls; something even more present in older (high school-aged) teen girls. 

“Fishing for compliments” is a term typically utilized to refer to these jokes where one uses themselves as the butt of the joke because these comments are customarily responded to with empathetic, reassuring claims like “no, you’re not stupid” or “you’re totally not the ugliest in our class.” Self-deprecating jokes are just cheap humor. Undoubtedly, it is easier to say the first negative thing that comes to mind and pass it off as a ‘joke’ than giving any actual thought to it and using genuine comedy to get a laugh. 

Laughing at the expense of someone else may not be kind, but tearing yourself down does not prove any better; especially in terms of self-esteem. Despite their commonplace status in society, self-deprecating jokes have no place in humor, especially not the humor of the young generation. In a world that will try to tear you down, you can do no good to yourself by beating them to it.

Sebastian is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. and a first-year staffer for the Patriot Post. As an active member of the Pre-Medical Society at Heritage, French Honor Society and the Vice-President of the new AHS Book Club, he is glad to broaden his horizons and branch into the world of publications. His passions include creative writing, literature and he loves the arts, especially film and music. He can’t wait for a great first year.

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