Is it possible to be self-deprecating in a self-centered way?

I think so.  I recently read a book by an author who decried “self-addiction.” Yet every time he engaged in self-deprecating transparency, I felt a distinct and overwhelming impression that he was using it as a manipulative tool. That his readers would relate better, his message would be less intimidating, and he would communicate more effectively by making himself seem flawed.   Despite his candor, he never convinced me that he actually believed he was that bad. It all seemed like a literary device, like his bowed head hid a smirking smile.

This is all my perception of the guy, so it could be in error. It does remind me, however, of my own capability to be proud of my humble self-awareness. (I’m aware of the irony that the previous statement is humbly self-aware.) In my awareness of my sins, I fight the feeling that while I am better than no one because of them, I am better than others because I am aware of them.  My humility makes me feel good and gives me a sense of pride.

Which all causes me to ponder:  Can we ever trust our own humility?

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8 thoughts on “Is it possible to be self-deprecating in a self-centered way?

  1. Cameron,
    I think you are correct in this thought. When we start thinking we are humble; that, in fact, is really when we aren’t.
    I heard or read somewhere; “Humility is a funny thing; when you think you have it; you don’t.”
    For some reason some have gotten the idea that ridiculing yourself, revealing your own weaknesses is humility; but it seems to me that real humility has nothing to do with talking about yourself, but talking about the greatness of the Lord, and His grace.
    My thoughts. Sorry for the length.
    T.A.

  2. Not only is it possible, but by definition, SELF-deprecating humor is SELF-centered. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. Good points on humility.

  3. I had not given much thought to self-deprecating being self-centered, but I believe you and Dave may have a point. It is indeed designed to draw attention to oneself isn’t it?

  4. Thanks, all. One of my favorite quotes on this is by C. S. Lewis,

    “Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays . . . who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he…took a real interest in what you said to him. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”

    and similarly, William Temple,

    “Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. I means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all.”

  5. do U remember the song by Mac Davis “Lord it’s hard To be Humble” when your prefect in everyway!
    4 some reason this post brought that song to mind. 😉

  6. jel, I don’t think I’ve heard the song, but I have encountered some people who seem to feel that way! Reminds me of a fellow who said he was going to write a book called, “Humility, and How I Obtained It.”

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