The Self-Deprecation Feature
BY PHILLIP WITTMEYER
Self-Deprecation refers to a person who has a low opinion of
himself. This is the classical "inferiority complex" of
psychoanalysis. The person devalues, disparages, and slights himself. He feels
that he is of little consequence among the rest of humanity. He sees others as
better than himself, and looks up to them, and down on himself. The body may in
fact display the slump that the spirit feels, as the shoulders may be stooped
and the back bowed as if the person wanted to appear smaller than he really was.
The environment of the lowly one also often reflects the lack of self-esteem: a
humble abode suitable for a person of modest means.
Self-Deprecation is the self-image of limitation. The person
feels he is limited in ability, talent, and intellect. He thinks his personal
attributes and endowments are small and insignificant.
In the Positive Pole of +Humility, the person sees himself as
an ordinary person, not outstanding or important, and certainly not superior. He
feels that he is just another member of the crowd, and is usually unwilling to
do anything that would cause him to stand out from among them. He identifies
with the common man: not outstanding or admirable in any way. He feels at home
with middle-class people. He feels that he can make no significant contributions
to the world, and that the world would not miss him after his passing. He is
meek and modest, not wanting to exalt himself above others.
In the Negative Pole of -Abasement, the person feels sorry for
himself: he is filled with self-pity. He feels guilty for real or imagined sins.
He feels downtrodden and miserable. He sees himself as a suffering wretch. He
wants commiseration and sympathy from others to prop up his lowly self-image. He
may live in a degrading, trashy, or slummish environment. He may totally demean
his personal attributes. He often dresses and grooms in a slovenly or frumpy
way. He is often beset with feelings of shame. He feels that he is a disgrace, a
burden to himself and to everybody else. He is a pathetic case, often
demoralized, usually in a sorry state. The way out of this is for the person to
contemplate and apply the Positive Pole of the complementary feature, +Pride. If
he takes a little pride in himself and his qualities, he will have a more
accurate evaluation of himself, and be able to lift himself out of his misery.
Self-Deprecation is the complementary opposite of Arrogance. A
person in Self-Dep has neither +Pride, nor -Vanity. Self-Dep people are not
afraid to show their vulnerability like an Arrogant person — in fact they like
to display how lowly they are. They have no trouble admitting their
imperfections, and they are not perfectionistic like Arrogant people. They
apologize for practically everything they do. Self-Dep is not shyness — only
the Arrogant are truly shy. However, Lowliness is a lack of willingness to put
the self above or ahead of others. They have no desire to exalt themselves.
Lowly people do not have the fear of appearing foolish that Arrogant people do,
so they may try things that Arrogant people won't.
Self-Dep is driven by the fear of inadequacy. Self-Dep people
feel they are not very capable, so they don't want to have to face demanding
situations. They let others know not to expect too much of them by acting lowly:
"Please get somebody for the job who is better than I am". Self-Dep
people give others praise, and build them up, once again because it puts
The Self-Deprecation feature is the counterpart of the
Role. The Lowly one feels like he belongs to the masses along with the Server.
Often they volunteer for various services, taking on the burdens of others.
Since they have the image of the Server but not the substance, this can get them
into trouble. Such service when overdone can only lead to -Abasement for the
self and the disappointment of others if they are not truly fulfilled by so much
Rarely does the lowly one rise to prominence because
opportunities to advance are often turned down. This is because he holds back
from elevated or exalted positions or responsibilities. He consistently
underestimates his worth and his ability and his competence. He would rather not
excel because it makes him stand out from among the crowd, his fellow human
beings. He feels uncomfortable with praise, and with wealth. Blessings of
abundance are not his natural lot.
page | Arrogance
Phil Wittmeyer is a longtime Michael student and scholar of the teachings.
He can be reached at:
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