Ways of Undermining Yourself

shoot1. Apologising for your existence. “Sorry this is going to sound stupid, but…”

If you’ve done something wrong, then absolutely, put your hands up and say sorry. But there’s a difference between taking responsibility for your actions and apologising for yourself – for being you, having an opinion or taking up space. It’s exhausting for everyone concerned and it lands you in one of those excruciating circular conversations…

– ‘My fault.’
– ‘No, no mine’
– ‘No, I’m to blame’
– ‘No I’m a MONSTER’
– ‘No, I am, look – I kick cats, see? I should never have been born” etcetc.

This will end when either one of you dies or the other runs off, weeping.

2. Continually asking if what you’re saying makes sense. “You get me?”

Are you explaining quantum physics to a toddler?  Have you forgotten to put your teeth in? Right then. Chances are, you’ re making sense. Your audience have heard and understood what you’re saying. You can trust yourself to be coherent; and you can trust them to listen.

3. “Actually” and “Just.”

Actually, I’m not sure if I agree.”

Actually, I think that…”

It’s Just that…”

“I was Just wondering if…”

Neat ways of apologising for having opinions.  Neat ways of saying what you think, then dismissing it before someone else does.

4. SHOUTING. Listentomelistentomelistentomelistentome.  The verbal equivalent of jumping up and down or setting ourselves alight  – when we’re scared we won’t be heard.


too quiet. When you’re unsure of what you’re saying and mumble it to compensate.  (Same theory as hoping that messy writing in an exam will disguise a lack of knowledge)

see also Too much Eye Contact (aggressive) versus No Eye Contact (shifty).

5. Discrediting yourself and Rushing, “I won’t take up your valuable time/This will only take a sec”

Your time is valuable too; and your opinions are worthwhile. So if you’ve got something to say, say it – and don’t rush.

6. Constantly looking to others for affirmation. “Was that ok?  Are you sure?  Sure I didn’t make an eejit of myself?  Would you tell me if I did?  I did, didn’t I?..’

Of course we ask loved ones for encouragement – it’s only natural.  But when you get it, believe it.  Allow it to sink in and don’t brush it away.


Note to self:

There’s a difference between humility and self-hatred. It’s ok to be you.  And your identity is already secure in Christ.




3 thoughts on “Ways of Undermining Yourself

  1. number 2 made me giggle (if that makes sense?!) ;) – well aware of overusing it, not thought of it like that though! xx

  2. Maybe a follow up post about practical ways to challenge these things and the underlying stuff behind them and how to go onwards & upwards from here? :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *