There's a viral epidemic plaguing young people today. I'm not talking about the addiction to social media or vain obsession with physical appearance; I think one of the most dangerous habits of this generation is the tendency to spit out self-deprecating jokes like they're actually funny.
Shouting "I hate myself LOL" and bragging about how much of a failure you are is a sad attempt at humor. I cannot count the number of times I've witnessed scenes like this, usually from the same few people, but I can tell you it happens way more often than it should. For something as harmful and plain obnoxious as jokes about intense dislike of self, one time is too many.
The problem with "jokes" about self-hatred is that so many people actually struggle with discontentment and comparison. I, for one, battle feelings of inadequacy and constant, self-inflicted pressure to measure up to everyone around me. While I know this is unrealistic and I advocate against this mindset, I often find myself expecting that I'll attain perfection in everything I do. Demanding success in all my endeavors, I set myself for failure as I hope I'll surpass everyone around me. I recognize that this sort of mindset is unreasonable, and admitting that I have it is the first step in overcoming it and encouraging others to do the same. Sometimes using this language to cope with unrealistic expectations for myself, I acknowledge that self-deprecation often reveals a deeper issue, a brokenness of spirit and heart-breaking low levels of self-worth. This is why it's so important to speak words of grace and kindness over yourself and others, to better live lives of joy and fulfillment.
More people than you realize think they're failures for getting B's instead of A's. Some students hate themselves for the smallest unproductive moments of their days, and many adults feel inferior for not multitasking as well as they think "the rest of the world" does. The problem only intensifies when everyone, every which way you turn, is proclaiming how much they identify with a piece of garbage or a dead animal on the side of the road.
After recognizing this problem and why it is harmful, the next step is seeking to encourage everyone around you-- including yourself. If you think taking such a drastic step as caring about yourself and others is going to be impossible, first change your words. For the sake of the people around you, if not for your own, adjust the way you speak about yourself. "Speak life", if you will, and stop the self-deprecation. If all you can manage is a shift in the words that come out of your mouth, trust that an inner conviction about your own self-worth will follow.
Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that we all go around boasting about how great we are. There's a difference between self-love and conceit, just like there's a difference between self-deprecation and realism. If you're feeling like trash, take a deep breath and keep your head up. Instead of telling yourself that this temporary feeling defines your life, don't proclaim to the world that you're moving out into the dumpster and instead focus on moving forward and upward. A lot of good can come out of what you think is your worst failure if you take every experience as a chance to grow.
In conclusion, to quote one of my favorite books of all time, I want you all to know that "you is kind, you is smart, you is important"(Stockett, The Help).