Undercutting a Blush

Pride is a slippery, tricky creature. The second you think you've found it and caged it up, it slips through the bars and slithers into the shadows, not to be seen until you look closely at yourself and see its familiar outline against the backdrop of an otherwise sunny landscape. It makes a good chameleon, because it tells you what you want to hear about yourself, and who bothers to look back and see the face attached to the voice whispering in your ear when the kingdom you survey appears exactly as you believe it ought to?

It's not just sunshine either. Jerome Miller talks about the pride that undergirds self-hatred, and the way that it hides behind our own ways of punishing ourselves. We do not realize that we have wrapped ourselves in the comfort of a dissociation: the judge, self-righteous and stern, digs his booted toe into the side of the self that we don't wish to be. In our own self-hatred, we do not acknowledge that we are that self.

This sounds extreme, fair enough. But what about self-deprecation? It's the petty cousin of self-hatred. The part of the self that wishes to get in a snarky comment about one's flaws just as if to say, I may be flawed, but I am self-aware. I see what you see. And I can belittle it even more quickly and cleverly than you. It's the perverse game we force ourselves into, because even in our moments of loss, we're playing to win. Humility admits a fault. Self-deprecation flaunts it.