Fear of Feeling Worthless


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.

Positive Pole

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.

Negative Pole

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 themselves down.

The Self-Deprecation feature is the counterpart of the Server 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 serving.

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.

Phil Wittmeyer



Channeling About Self-Deprecation

In self-deprecation, which is ordinal, a person has a contracted sense of self, which translates as a fear of being inadequate, when objectively speaking, she is just fine. So it is the tendency to think that one's self, one's capabilities, are not up to snuff. As with the other overleaves, positive and negative poles have been ascribed to each obstacle. Self-deprecation has a positive pole of "humility"; the negative pole is "abasement."

With self-deprecation, humility is not the constructive kind. There is a love-based humility, which is simplicity of soul without false ego added, and that is a beautiful thing. However, the humility of self-deprecation comes from a lack of appreciation of one's true capabilities, so it is not beautiful or based in truth. The negative pole, abasement, is even more destructive; to abase yourself is to have no respect at all for your merits.

In self-deprecation, one deflates one's sense of self; in arrogance, one pumps it up: one has an exaggerated picture of one's own abilities. "Pride," the positive pole, is a positive trait when it is not based on the obstacle, when you are simply able to feel good about what you have accomplished. However, pride in this sense is puffed up. The negative pole, "vanity," is more extreme. It might bring to mind the vain characters in some comedies who are oblivious to their shortcomings. The ideal is to have a balanced assessment of both one's strengths and faults, and simply accept oneself as a good but fallible human being. From that vantage, one can see others as equals. In self-deprecation, one thinks of others as being inherently more capable, and in arrogance, one thinks of them as being less capable--both are false views.

Some people, as mentioned, go back and forth, and it is possible to temporarily use the opposite of your obstacle to get yourself out of both of them entirely: if you see both sides of the coin, it may dawn on you that both are arbitrary and untrue. If, for example, you have been used to puffing yourself up, and then you live for a while with kicking yourself down, you might get it that they are both false states. All the obstacles are profiles in ego (false personality). The goal of the spiritual path is to reduce false personality and increase true personality, which is an awareness of your eternal nature, as much as possible. However, no human being is totally free of false personality.

All the obstacles are defenses. They are, you might say, shortcuts to feeling safe in a fearful world. Arrogance is defined as a fear of vulnerability. Although it pumps itself up, it knows underneath that it is not so great. It protects itself from that bubble being pricked. On the other hand, in self-deprecation, defined as a fear of inadequacy, one doesn't really believe that one is that inadequate, but it is, likewise, self-protective--if you have already proclaimed your inadequacy, then end up doing better, it is a plus for your ego.


Shepherd Hoodwin -- From Michael On Chief Obstacles (Fears)

This attitude emphasizes the practical, “real” side of nature, many times to the point of denying the existence of other external forces.

Michael Teachings Transcripts

Next page | Arrogance

The Chief Features (Fears): Self-Deprecation, Arrogance, Self-Destruction, Greed, Martyrdom, Impatience, Stubbornness

About Phil Wittmeyer

Phil is a long-time Michael student who has written several book-length manuscripts about the Michael teachings, many of them featured on this site. He has been an active member in the community for many years and can be found at most Michael gatherings.

Phil currently lives in Colorado.

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The Seven Attitudes

The attitude is the primary perspective you bring to life, or how you tend to look at things.


The Overleaves

Learn about the Overleaves, personality traits that shape our individual experence during each lifetime.