Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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Scenes from the Downplay – Which Describes You?

Posted on Sep 17, 2014 by Lisa Ricard Claro   No Comments Yet | Posted in Uncategorized


Graphic courtesy of Adi Respati via


On April 9th I posted Self-Doubt: The Biggest Bully.  I’m bringing up the topic again for two reasons. First, I think it is relevant for most of us, no matter our vocation, and second, I had my ass handed to me by the snarky insightful Sioux Roslawski via an e-mail exchange about this very topic.

In brief, the Self-Doubt Bully is the persistent bastard who whispers negative stuff in our ears. He’s the reason we (okay, me) make self-deprecating remarks when compliments or congratulations come our way. As Sioux pointed out, a simple “thank you” pretty much covers it so why blab about all the reasons it—whatever “it” may be—isn’t that big a deal, when clearly it is, or there would be no congratulations/compliments in the first place? Also, my own observation is that hearing people whine about and/or downplay their own good fortune is annoying. I do it, and I annoy myself in a major way. But like most habits, it’s tough to break.

You know what I’m talking about. I bet you’ve even done it yourself. Here are a few scenarios just to jog your memory:

Scenario #1

You choose your wardrobe for casual Friday at the Wire Widget Welding Co. and feel good about yourself. You look great, as the jeans in question show off your booty to fine advantage (something you’re certain of because your husband told you so, and he wasn’t even trying to get lucky). Your push-up bra is doing its job, and even your hair has cooperated. You walk into the office and one of the wire widget welders says, “Wow! You look great today. I love that outfit. ”

What you should say: “Thank you.”

What you do say: “Really? You think? The jeans are too snug, though. I probably shouldn’t have had that venti caramel macchiato with whipped cream on my way into work. This big butt of mine doesn’t need the calories.”

Scenario #2

Your boss calls a meeting of everyone in the Wire Widget Welding department. He informs your peers that because of your hard work and skill with a blowtorch you’ve been promoted. Effective immediately you are the manager of the Wire Widget Welding department, which puts you in a supervisory position over all the wire widget welders. You’re proud and happy to have been moved up the chain of command. An hour later, one of the wire widget welders says, “Congratulations on your promotion.”

What you should say: “Thank you.”

What you do say: “Gosh, thanks, but I’m not sure why he picked me. Any one of us in the Wire Widget Welding department would’ve been qualified to supervise the wire widget welders.”

Scenario #3

You are the keynote speaker at the Wire Widget Welders Union annual luncheon. You spent innumerable hours and days preparing your speech and although you’re nervous, you give it your all, thrilled when your audience laughs in all the right places. Afterwards, one of the Wire Widget Welders Union board members approaches you to shake your hand and says, “Great speech!”

What you should say:  “Thank you.”

What you do say:  “Oh, man, I was so nervous I thought I might pee my pants! That would’ve made it really memorable, right?” *chuckles* “It wasn’t as good as last year’s keynote speech, but I did my best.”


Self-Doubt, along with the fear of being perceived as too prideful, causes people to make self-deprecating remarks, as if we should apologize for the positives in our lives. Why? One of the biggest problems with doing this is that when we give voice to those negative thoughts we afford them a power they don’t deserve.

I don’t want the Self-Doubt Bully to have any more power than I’ve already given him—and believe me, it’s a struggle to hold him at bay when he’s wearing a crown and wielding his scepter at me. I’m making a serious effort to dethrone him, and one of the ways I’m doing that is by leaving the self-deprecating remarks at the door. I’m making a concerted effort to just say, “Thank you.”

Are you guilty of making self-deprecating remarks when someone compliments or congratulates you? Why do you think you do it? Will you share an instance where you should have said “thank you” but said something else instead? Do you think women are more guilty of this than men, and if so, why? And is there any chance at all you’d consider saying Wire Widget Welders fast ten times, just to see if you can do it?

Thanks for stopping by. See you next week for more of the Naked Truth. Enjoy your Wednesday!


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