What are the potential effects of self-deprecating humor on a person’s self-image?
Self-deprecating humor involves making jokes or humorous remarks about oneself, often focusing on perceived flaws or shortcomings. While it can serve as a coping mechanism or a means of connecting with your wife and other people you know, it is essential to strike a balance to avoid damaging self-esteem.
It is crucial to ensure that self-deprecating humor remains within healthy boundaries, as persistent self-criticism may perpetuate feelings of inadequacy and undermine self-confidence.
In this episode, Tim and Doug discuss the topic of self-deprecating humor and how to stop doing it to have a better relationship with your wife and other people around you.
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Doug Holt 00:01
Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of Powerful Man Show. Tim, how you doing, brother?
Tim Matthews 00:55
Doing well. How are you?
Doug Holt 00:58
I’m doing awesome, my friend. Doing awesome, man. Earlier this morning, about an hour ago, I posted in our private community and I told the guys that you and I were going to jump on and do a podcast to see if they had any topics. And I told them in the meanwhile, hair and makeup are coming over, so if anybody’s watching this on YouTube, they can see that clearly. We need to fire the hair and makeup people on my end as well. (Crosstalk)
Tim Matthews 01:22
Yeah. Nobody struggled having finding people to take the job, haven’t we?
Doug Holt 01:28
We have. We have. It’s funny. The other day I was talking to one of our guys, and I made a joke or something. What I say? I can’t remember what it was, but something that was somewhat self-deprecating and humor. And he said, Doug, I’m going to call you out on that. I said something about, you know, the guys use me to come into coaching groups just because it makes them look better. You know, it makes them look like better coaches because when I come in, you know, it sets the bar lower. He’s like, ohh God, Doug, you can’t do that, self-deprecating. I go, dude, it’s only self-deprecating if you actually believe it.
Anyway, I throw that out there because it’s a common theme within TPM right now, which I love is the guys are all calling each other out whenever someone’s being self-deprecated, right? And it’s a great thing because as men and this is not what the topic is going to be today, guys. The topic is going to be about menopause. But, you know, there’s a lot of men that are out there that are really self-deprecating and they believe it, right? And they use that for humor. But it’s also kind of putting themselves down.
Tim Matthews 02:40
It’s a big thing in the UK. It’s a big cultural thing in the UK. And apparently….
Doug Holt 02:44
It is here in the States as well.
Tim Matthews 02:47
Apparently it’s a major issue in Australia as well. I think they call it tall poppy syndrome over there.
Doug Holt 02:56
Yes, I mean, it’s common, I mean, I’m sure all western countries, maybe other countries as well, it’s just a common thing. We think about it and maybe we’ll explore this topic deeper. But when we look at our brain chemistry, right, we have oxytocin in particular, but serotonin dopamine, et cetera, but when you stand out from the crowd, the natural fear is that you’ll be ostracized, that you’ll be ostracized from the crowd.
And, you know, if you’re ostracized from the crowd, if you think back through anthropomorphic times back in the day and I’m sure I’m butchering this but my understanding, my layman’s understanding is, you know, if we were all in tribes and if you were thrown out of the tribe for some reason, and you were left on your own to your own devices. If you put your foot, your foot hits a hole and you break your ankle, there’s nobody to pull you. To the savannah or wherever else it is into safety, and an animal is going to come by and s***** you up and eat you. Right?
Also, if you’re kicked out of the tribe, your odds of procreating or having sex are much lower. So I think that’s always in the back of our heads as men and as humans, women have the same thing, but as men. And self-deprecating humor can be a way of kind of cutting yourself down. So it doesn’t seem like you stand out like, hey, I’m just like you. My daughter scratched my nose and it was bleeding, and here I am on camera and whatever it is, for me, it used to be around money. That was my big thing, you know, to talk about. Still something I look at. I want to be the blue collar guy or seen as the blue collar guy, you know.
Pick yourself up by your bootstraps outwork people and wear steel toe boots walking around. Meanwhile, I work white collar jobs, you know, so it’s very interesting for me to watch blind business class. You and I were talking about that a little bit earlier versus Coach, all kinds of things that are think there there’s this programming in the back of my head. Tim, I don’t know about you, but it happens often for me. But self-deprecating humor, I do that all the time, and I do it because it’s funny. I don’t do it because I actually believe it.
Tim Matthews 05:13
Yeah, it was a big thing for me for a long, long time, a lot of work around this for quite a few years. I did believe it back then. That was the issue. Right? It comes up for me less these days. But, my God, it was tough. It was challenging, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy as well.
Doug Holt 05:36
Yeah. Let’s just dive into this topic, I mean, because I think this is something that comes up for a lot of men as we’re here. I know for me, as we’re talking about this, I’m thinking of other things that I comment on. And what I used to do is I would call it out, the obvious before someone else did. It’s kind of like beating them to the punch line so they can’t make fun of you. And it wasn’t a conscious thing, it was more of an unconscious thing.
Growing up in Southern California as kids, I’m sure they do it in the UK, but maybe not. But as kids here, when you go through school, like elementary school, middle school, especially in high school, you get a yearbook, an annual, or whatever, and in there, I grew up close to the beach and everything else. Everybody’s outside. It’s always sunny in California, so to speak. And every yearbook every year would be like, have a great summer, give me a call, go get a tan. And every year I had a complex on the fact that I couldn’t tan. I used to try to tan. I’d lay out, I tried all the oils, the sprays, you name it.
In college, I would have women that I knew that worked at tanning salons would invite me in for free. And it was just kind of like a thing for me, and I would just get burnt. I go from, this is me tan. By the way, guys, if you’re watching this on video, this is the tan version of me. It gets whiter, believe it or not. So it was a big issue for me. It was something I battled with to the point where, fast forward, here I am as a 46 year old man, and now I have to get skin cancer checks all the time. I’ve had skin cancer removed twice since I’ve known you, Tim, surgically from my body, for my face in particular.
So that was one where I would start meeting people right away, and I would make fun of myself and how pale I can be before it became an issue, because I’m always outside. I love being outside. I’m very active. I played a lot of beach volleyball in my 30s and things like that. So you’re around all these tan beautiful people, and I saw myself as this ghostly white person. And so what I would do is bring it up first to try to beat them to the punch. And that was my methodology of kind of winning, if you will.
Tim Matthews 07:49
Yeah, it’s a common one, isn’t it? Not necessarily the skin tone, but just the idea of bringing it up.
Doug Holt 07:55
Tim Matthews 07:56
It’s bringing up first to beat somebody to the punch. Yeah, I remember I used to mine was a lot less outspoken, I was more worried. I was more like, hey, if I don’t bring this up, maybe other people might not realize, but yeah, there was definitely things for me as a youngster around my skin tone. Actually, I didn’t think of that until just now. Yeah, Grumba experiencing racism at times, nothing major. So he got to the point where it then puts it on the radar. Right?
And it can influence how you see yourself, just like your skin tone when you look at you, instead of seeing you per se, you see somebody that’s pale. So I wouldn’t bring that up as much, but it was definitely something that I would be worried about people bringing up. Right? So not self-deprecation per se, but those things tended to have a way the things you wanted to hide from others tended to have a way of coming out the easiest.
Doug Holt 09:04
They do, yeah. What’s that saying? What you suppress persists. What you…
Tim Matthews 09:09
You resist, persists.
Doug Holt 09:11
Resist, persists. Yeah. It’s also, I think what you, you know, what you suppress comes out in this case. And a lot of guys do this in their marriage, and that’s why in their business, and that’s why it’s very relevant just for men in general. In a marriage, a lot of guys will use self-deprecating humor or just put themselves down and walk around their partner.
Now, where this becomes a big problem and I was talking to a couple of guys about this recently, actually, at one of our Alpha Resets, which is one of our four day events that we put on. I got one here next week in Oregon. But I was talking to the guys and I said, look, you know, how many of you guys put yourself down in front of your wife, talk about how fat you are or how out of shape you are? And every guy raised their hand.
I was like, guys, if you’re walking around telling your wife how ugly you are, how do you think she feels about herself, right? Billions with a B. Billions of dollars are spent marketing to women telling them they’re ugly throughout their entire life, right, and the one place they want to feel pretty and sexy is at home. And if you’re telling them that you and most of these guys were in great shape, that if you are beating yourself up around your looks, if you are beating yourself up about being a little fat or a little chubby or whatever it may be, right, whatever, you’re picking on yourself.
She is consciously, probably, but definitely subconsciously thinking, wow, what does he think of me? What is he thinking of me? And what does that matter? Well, it matters a lot of ways, guys. One, you love your wife and you don’t want her to feel bad. Two, if you want her to take off her clothes and have sex with you, she needs to feel sexy. She needs to feel good in her own skin, feel good naked.
Now, if she thinks you’re going to be judging her because you’re judging yourself, she’s not taking her clothes off. That’s a light. Maybe the lights off, everything’s dark situation. But she’s not like, hey, let’s leave the lights on so I can watch us both make love, so I can see you and me and us bonding and having a great intimate time. No, no, it’s lights off under the sheets. You’re going to get one of those things where she’s hurrying so you don’t see her. That’s not fun. Right? And that’s all because of the way that we show up, the way that we’re talking about ourselves. And you can multiply this across any other area, right? And if you have daughters, same thing. Boys, just as bad.
I mean, I remember when I was I went to school at UC Santa Barbara and I want to gosh, I’m going to mess this stat up, Tim. But it was definitely in the top three universities in the United States for eating disorders for men, right, which I never even thought of. Now, granted, they counted eating disorders, taking diet drinks, you know, which were all the rage when I was in school, was energy drinks, right, pre workouts.
So that was a little different. It was also a school located on the beach, so, you know, people have their shirts off all the time, guys walking around. So that was just a norm. But point is that men battle with this, too. So guys, as you’re actually beating yourself up, being self-deprecating, the people around you are consciously or unconsciously tuning into your judgments on yourself and then also wondering, hmmm, I wonder if he’s judging me.
Tim Matthews 12:34
It’s an interesting one, right? Because as you’re saying this, I’m thinking, well, the opposite also rings true, right? So if you start to speak this came up on the inner circle call just now, actually. One of the guys on there, Fonzie talking about the opportunity for him to really see himself and appreciate himself and acknowledge himself a hell of a lot more than he does. It’d been uncomfortable to speak, speak that out, right?
But, yeah, he got me thinking, as you were saying that. Okay, so you’ve been self-deprecating. Can have your partner in this instance, worry about how you view her. On the flip side, if you are then speaking up of yourself, I wonder if that then has your partner curious to your take on this duck. Has your partner then think, oh, maybe he sees me in that way as well?
Doug Holt 13:21
So I can dovetail onto this. And I’ll tell you exactly what I do here, Tim, because I do this in my marriage on purpose. So this is going to show you guys how ego driven I am. I’ll walk by the mirror with my wife, especially when I know you can tell when your wife’s like, looking at herself and primping.
And I’ll walk by and I’ll pull her in and put my arm around her. If she’s in front of the mirror, I go, damn, we’re a sexy couple, right? And I’ll slap her on the butt and I’ll walk away and give her a kiss. Or I’ll say something to that line like, damn, we’re good looking. Like, I can’t believe it. Or I’ll come in on our kids, our kids being so beautiful and good looking, and they must be from our genes. Or I’ll comment on my wife.
One is, you know, I love my wife. I want her to feel good about herself. I also am a logical man and realize that all the marketing and everything else that’s against her, that’s an uphill battle for any woman. Now, men too, like, you look at the men healthcare products and beauty products, that industry is blown up. But women, it’s been that way ever since they were little girls trying to look pretty.
So I will do that all the time. I’ll compliment her. I’ll also compliment myself and I’ll watch it because I can be self-deprecating in a bad way to myself, too. Usually for me, it’s only around my body. When I think about it, it’s not around much anything else. Although when I’m talking to guys or anybody, I’ll joke about anything. I love making people laugh and having a good time. But what I’ll do is I’ll purposefully say positive things that are the opposite of a self-deprecating belief.
And sometimes the way I do this, Tim, is if I’m thinking something, if I start to think about something that I’m judging myself, then I will turn it into a positive and I’ll bring my wife into that conversation or my kids or the people around me.
Tim Matthews 15:08
Doug Holt 15:10
Yeah. So I just gave one for the mirror or just something positive. Like, let’s just say I’m sitting down with you, right? You and I are having a beer, we’re chatting, and I might make a joke. You know, me like, ahhh, should be illegal to have two good guys this good looking running, you know, a program for men or whatever else it is. And it sounds egoic. You and I just start chuckling, laughing. Because we both know, one, it’s not true. Two, we’re both pretty grounded guys and it just becomes funny, right? Brother with my wife too, right?
We’re going out, you know. I’ll say something else, especially if I know something’s going on, right? If I know that she’s having a hard time in an area of her life and I’ll do this with my kids or I’ll do this with business associates, you know, we have people that work for us here in the area that I’m in, if I know they’re going through something, I might steer the conversation in a direction that gives them a positive area, you know,. And I might say off, I like to use the illegal thing. It should be illegal to have people this smart working together, right? It’s not fair to everybody else.
And then they’ll do what you’re doing, they’re kind of laughing a little bit chuckling. But that message gets in. The message gets into the brain. Right? When people are laughing, they’re very susceptible to ideas and suggestions. It’s also just fun, but that just lightens the mood. It gives you good, you know, chemicals that are coming to the body endorphins. I’m not a neuroscientist by any means, so somebody else can tell you more about that. Andrew Huberman can get on here and tell you what’s going on. But the idea here is, instead of being self-deprecating, I don’t know what the antithesis word is, but you’re uplifting yourself and everybody else.
Tim Matthews 16:55
I think it’s self-appreciation, right? It’s kind of like Fonzie. He’s said that one of the biggest things that moved the needle the past seven days for him was getting back to his journaling and really finding ways to acknowledge and appreciate just the money is, right? Not necessarily his achievements per se, that’s good. But most of the ways, showing up for himself and his staff and his family and so on.
Doug Holt 17:22
Yeah. Yeah. And I do it in somewhat of an egoic way, which is a joke, right? Because I’m throwing it so far out of the league because I think it’s funny. But I also know it’s like being self-deprecating. There’s a level of truth to it, right? There’s a level of truth and fun in it. And that’s the key. Like, I don’t think my wife and I are the most beautiful people in the world. I mean, we’re just not. I’m a realist. I don’t think we’re ugly either. So, but having fun and complimenting her and making it a fun experience, which is the opposite of self-deprecating, you know, it uplifts her, right? And that’s the key.
I want the bedroom lights to be on when we make love. I want her to feel confident, and the more confident she feels and guys, you can apply this to work or anything else. I’m just using it with my particular situation. The wilder the more passionate love making is, right, the more connected we are, because she feels grounded and secure in her own body and her own femininity, it allows me to easily or slip into my masculinity. Right?
It creates an environment. I’m setting the tone, and that’s the key. And if you’re in there, especially for you guys that are in a sexless marriage, it takes some time, but you want to use things. It’s a version of the hidden motives technique, right? You can use that in a positive way if you don’t know what the hidden motives technique is. One, you should be in the activation method. Two, we’ve done a number of podcasts that briefly go over some of the concepts. You can look back. I think we’ve done like 700 podcasts at this time, Tim?
Either way, there’s plenty of information on it, and you can use these kinds of things to really build rapport. And for all the guys listening to this, you want to be somebody who’s contributing to the people you love, not taking away. And so being self-deprecating not only takes away from yourself, but takes away from those around you.
Tim Matthews 19:26
Yeah, it’s an interesting one. In the Journey with False Nature, the past two or three weeks within this, it’s been really interesting, fair man for us to watch the resistance as well. That has come up for him — in him appreciating himself. Right? And even the idea of speaking it out loud, it’s what will people think? Am I going to come across as arrogant? Am I going to come across as egoic?
Doug Holt 19:53
Yeah. So that’s exactly what I was talking about. I think he also shares this identity of being a blue collar guy, yet he’s not, right? In that sense, he’s just not. And I think he and I share that together, and I think a lot of men do this. Right? If you grew up in modest means, someone humble means, so to speak, you didn’t grow up rich, but you’ve been successful in business, financially and otherwise, you want to go back to that identity until you change it. Right? Because, oh, my gosh, if I’m seen as wealthier or the white collar business guy, then all the people I associate with or my identity associates with, they’re going to outcast me.
Tim Matthews 20:38
It’s really interesting, isn’t it? Because when you’re around people who are comfortable with themselves and they’re confident and you appreciate yourself or acknowledge something about yourself or share a win or whatever, those people amplify it. They want to hear about it, right? They want to join in the celebration, and it doesn’t trigger them in any way and make them feel insecure.
Whereas when you’re around the wrong people and you do that, those worries of arrogance, those worries of rejection have been outcast can be a lot more real and true. Right? Because in the process, those people tend to want to pull you down, kind of like the crabs in the bucket, whereas the right people, they don’t. They want you to shine your light as bright as possible.
Doug Holt 21:22
Absolutely, man. It’s a great litmus test. Right? So for Fawn, for him, what I would share with him is like, look, if share your brightness, like, shine bright, my friend, and the people around you that want to dim you down, thank you. Thank them, because now they’re just showing you in that time, right? Everybody’s got their own journey, but in that time, they’re showing you their true colors. That’s not somebody you need to spend a lot of time with at that moment. That’s not to say that that person’s a bad person or anything else. They might be going through, you know, a lot at that time and not have the skills to manage it. However you really want to use that. Right? That energy.
And that was the thing that my wife, Erin, that was one of the greatest gifts she gave me. She consistently told me, hey, stop dimming your light for others. Stop dimming your light for others. Don’t dim your light for me. Don’t dim your light for other people. You do it all the time. And it was because I just didn’t want people to feel bad because I was being successful in certain areas of my life or things were easier for me than they were for other people.
I didn’t want to be seen as having a lot of money. All of those things that we associate with success. I didn’t want people to think I thought I was better than them or whatever it may be. But yeah, it all came down to wanting to be liked. Right? That’s what it all comes down to. We all want to be liked. We all want to be loved, and no one likes to admit it. Most people don’t think that’s even the case for them until you start diving deep into why we do what we do.
Tim Matthews 22:52
Yeah. So let’s say there’s somebody listening to this and they’re resonating with the idea that the self-deprecate, there are some libels going off as to why they self-deprecate. What’s three things they can do right now to make that shift from self-deprecation to self-appreciation.
Doug Holt 23:10
Why is it always three?
Tim Matthews 23:13
Doug Holt 23:15
Now I’m giving you 3. Give me 50. 3 things you can do. So if you find yourself self-deprecating, what I would do is write down what it is you are making fun of, right, then make a decision if that’s something you want to change, right? Yes. No. And if you want to change it, then immediately take the first easiest action towards changing it. So, example super common one is guys will make fun of not being smart. Right? That’s a common one. Or not being funny or not being or being overweight.
So let’s just take not being smart. Okay. If you’re making fun of your intelligence, then what I would do is write down, say, hey, am I really intelligent or not? Right? And if the answer is like, it’s an issue. Cool. What am I going to do? Vocabulary word a day. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to learn a vocabulary word a day or a week, whatever it is. Super easy. All you guys can do it. You can go to dictionary.com or something and just pull up a word and learn something new. That’s one thing you could do, right? It’s not the greatest example in the world, Tim, but I think you know where I’m getting at.
The third and most important thing you can do is get to the root of why. Where did this stem from? What is the story that you’re playing now? For the guys that are in our more advanced mastermind groups, the Brotherhood or the Inner Circle or one on one coaching, they have access to a master class, a four week series that goes over how to uncover this, how to uncover where this actually originated, and then change the script, change the friggin story.
As a lot of things it’s easy to do and easy not to do. Right? So the things I find is when you have access to tools, sometimes you just don’t use them. And that’s another thing that you get to look at. I’m going to give you four, Tim, because I like you. The fourth one is surround yourself like the men and the brotherhood are doing right now. The men in the movement with other men who are going to call you out. And they’re not calling you out to be dicks. They’re calling you out because they actually care, right?
They have no skin in the game. Iron sharpens iron, as they say. And that’s no more evident than it is within the private communities that we run through. The powerful man, the men in there are powerful men. They want you to be a powerful man and they will call you forward in that. I see it every single call. Men are calling each other out. They’re doing it so lovingly. They’re not doing it to be a jerk. They’ll be like, hey, Doug, , you know, what you said sound a little self-deprecating or sound a little negative. It was it. Let me just check in with you. Okay, what could we change that to?
And these aren’t just the coaches. The coaches will do it for sure. No doubt. They’re experienced and well trained. These are the other men in the community. So now you got 1000 guys that got your back. Literally most of you guys at home don’t have one or two guys that have your back. And if you do, it’s Larry and Phil that you went to, you know, elementary school with and grew up around the corner with or got drunk at the bar with years ago.
So they don’t know the growth opportunity and the growth potential within you. You don’t share a common language. You go through something like the activation method, which is our flagship program, then you’re going to have a common language. We know that every guy is there to better themselves, every man’s there to save his marriage, every man’s there to protect his family, and every man’s there for each other. That’s a huge thing. And as men, we don’t have that in society. I literally had never seen anything like this that’s outside of the brotherhood. And it’s the brotherhood of men and men bettering themselves.
So I know I give you a lot more than three there, Tim. But guys, I mean, this is your life’s too short to be average, as I say, and this is time to step it up. And if you haven’t been through the activation method and you’ve listened to more than three podcasts, what are you doing? Get your butt off the fence and get on a phone call. And if it’s not right for you, that’s cool. It’s cool.
It’s not going to change. My family is not all of a sudden going to go to have steak dinners because you join. It’s not going to change me. It’s going to change you. And that’s what I want to see for you guys out there. So, yeah, stop with the self-deprecating humor. If you’re using it just to be funny and you really don’t believe it, cool, right? But do it sparingly. Do it sparingly. And then also look at why you’re doing it and why you’re actually making those comments. And are those comments actually things you really want to change? And if they are, moment of insight. You guys know what to do. Tim, any closing comments?
Tim Matthews 27:56
Yeah. So on those points, which I love, yeah, around, looking at why you do this, question you consider is, how does it serve you? Because the reality is you’ve been self-deprecating is serving you in some way. You might not like how it’s serving you, but it will be serving you. So how is it serving you? The other thing as well, the thing that Doug mentioned about, recognize what you’re making fun of and change it. I think something that you guys can consider as well in that moment is, let’s use the idea of your intelligence. You’re making fun of your intelligence. Well, do you want to change it? Right? I think if you do, there’s some great suggestions there. Or does it not matter to you and you’re just picking something random to self-deprecate yourself with. But the reality is when you’re in that energy, because if you believe, it just doesn’t feel good to be self-deprecating.
Like I said, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it hugely influences how you see yourself, hugely influences the man you see in the mirror. The way that you show up, the way you respond to your wife, to your staff, becomes a narrative that you begin to really play out. So if this is resonating, I would definitely encourage you guys, like Doug says, at the moment of insight, take action to go through those steps and definitely surround yourself with other men who can help you see your own blind spots because it’s absolutely key.
Doug Holt 29:32
Awesome. Well said, Tim. So boys, take some action. Take care of yourself. Compliment women, compliment your family and those around you. Instead of being self-deprecating, lift those up around you and start by lifting yourself up.