Do You Hide Under a Joke Cloak?

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“I have the body of a god…Buddha”

“It’s a washboard stomach…just with a full load of laundry.”

“I’m really in shape. Round is a shape, right?”

Some use humor to deal with uncomfortable situations. It’s not a bad mechanism. Self deprecating humor can, however, get you trapped into a really negative mindset. We use these jokes for different reasons. If we make people laugh, that means they like us, right? Or maybe we think if we beat people to the punchline, the joke will be less painful? Be honest with yourself…are these really the case?

You see, we create our own reality. If we think we’re a joke, then we project ourself as the same. That impacts how others treat us, creating a vicious circle. If you talked about your friends the way you talk about yourself, how many friends would you have? It comes down to respect. You deserve it, you want it from others so you need to show it to yourself.

This negative self-talk is just like any other bad habit you’ve ever addressed. First, you need to become aware of it. Notice when, where and how often you make yourself the subject of your stand-up routines. Next, replace it with a positive behavior. Instead of jokes, try honesty. (Ah, that can be scary!) How about something like “Yeah, I’ve struggled with my weight for years. I have a few more pounds to lose, but I’ve successfully lost x pounds in the past few months. I feel pretty good about that!” I think you’ll be surprised at the effect. You’ve provided an affirmation to yourself, you’ve shown trust and honesty towards someone else (what a great gift to them for which they’ll remember you) and just maybe you provided some inspiration to someone that is contemplating a change of their own. Isn’t this worth more than a few laughs?

I’d be curious to hear back from any of you that have successfully turned away from your own joke cloak.

Photo by Flickr user Tom Goskar (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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