“You have to laugh at yourself….wait! Not too much!”

Self deprecating humour is something that can be used to help or to hinder, depending on how and with whom you use it. I consider myself a connoisseur (thank you, spell check). In fact, I would even venture further and say that two conversational tools have carried me through the awkward social interactions which plagued my adult life – self deprecation and flattery (always sincere of course).

If you were to ask what I considered most important to me, I would blush and hang my head before mumbling a response, because my answer, as a 30 year old, I would say is fickle and fills me with hot shame. What is this terrible thing? I don’t even want to write it…I want everyone to like me. Oh! The shame! I realise many people would say they desire the same, though are able to get over it for the most part, but myself? I struggle to get over knowing that I’ve offended or displeased someone and retreat into myself like an armadillo, face to face with a…well, whatever is tough enough to chew through an armadillo….the general populous in my case.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m working through it, but it is a much reviled trait of mine, carried over from my formidable years (and I’m pretty sure many of you, especially the women unfortunately, might know what I’m talking about). The thing is, while working on my whole ‘Who gives a f**k?’ attitude (yeah you’re intimidated, go on, admit it), I never gave any thought to the self deprecating style of humour I had adopted and still indulge on a very regular basis. Not until I noticed something recently. During a conversation, I made some joke about myself (probably about being stupid or fat or ugly, who knows, roll a dice) and in my hilarity actually took a moment to take in my conversational partner’s face….and I don’t think I was being as funny as I thought I was. And it hit me. This is not witty. This is a problem.

That+s+not+funny+me+when+someone+makes+a+joke+about_8da1a3_4104722

Many see self deprecation as a rod to fish for compliments but cross my heart, this is not an intention of mine (well, certainly not in the last 4 years or so). I honestly believe the things I say and think that others must be thinking it too, so I try to make them more comfortable by acknowledging the things they must be noticing. It sounds ridiculous out loud, but have to ask… Have you been guilty of this too? If so, then stop! The way we see ourselves often sets the tone for how others see and value us. We cannot hope to garner any kind of respect if we cannot respect ourselves. Ooops! I forgot to insert a cliché alert at the beginning of the sentence there, but hey, don’t those clichés just love to creep up on us? It’s not like we don’t understand these ‘rules’…it’s just in the application that we struggle….speaking for myself anyway.

So this is the new self improvement side project – tone down on the self deprecation and use it solely as a tool to make people more comfortable during times of need. Do not use it at work (unless I become big kahuna and need to put the underlings on side), at uni, or in general conversation (unless they’re really close friends). This will tie in nicely with the ongoing ‘learn to accept a compliment graciously’ project which I’ve been practising. If we can all learn to do this, we’ll be self confident super heroes in no time. Though now I think I’m going to have to pull out the joke book – I have a rep to maintain…

Ross pic courtesy of http://static.fjcdn.com/pictures/That+s+not+funny+me+when+someone+makes+a+joke+about_8da1a3_4104722.jpg

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Becoming one of THOSE people…

You know the ones I’m talking about. The perpetually cheerful. The driven. The respected. The morning people. The ones who have all their stuff done by brunch (and to them, brunch is the actual time you have for a meal between breakfast and lunch, not just the time it happens to be when you get up and eat breakfast, provided you actually remembered to buy your breakfast foodstuffs of choice). The ones who seem to have mastered the delicate balancing act of career, health & fitness, family and social life, while still finding the time to bake personalised cupcakes (probably in heels) for everyone’s birthdays, scrapbook their photos and volunteer at the local shelter for abandoned 3 legged puppies.

The only rational explanation is they must not sleep, right? Well, their smiles and fresh complexions suggest otherwise. So what IS this witchcraft? Is this magic available to anyone (I know I’ve seen and read about people transforming their lives, but to be completely honest, I only know of maybe 2 people who have actually succeeded in doing so)? Can I be one of these people? How long does it actually take? Will it get easier or will I keel over and have a heart attack from the stress?

Sourced from http://www.allthingsclipart.com/wonder.woman.02.jpg
Me, in the not too distant future

Well move over….er, Bridget Jones…….2015 is the year I will attempt to answer these questions, and any others that may arise. 2015 also happens to be the year I turn 30, so what better time to make some changes in my life than the beginning of my 4th decade (yikes) on this planet.

So apparently by the time you turn 30 you’re supposed to have all this stuff sorted out. You were supposed to have decided on your career in your early 20s and amassed enough money to convince a bank to loan you more, so that you can purchase your very own house. In this house you will live with the guy (or girl) you’ve been dating for the last 5 (or more) years (happily), and start planning to raise a brood of you-clones (since it seems to have a child in your 20s these days is ‘too young’), who will grow up next to your friends’ children in happy suburbia. Alternatively, you’ve chosen not to have kids and you’re living the dream, travelling the world, living inner city, making promotion after promotion, spending your disposable income on designer paraphernalia.

And you’ve completed one of the above scenarios with minimal cellulite and perky breasts!

Well okay, so most people only play at keeping up appearances and no one is perfect, we all know that (well except for maybe Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Salma Hayek), but my life up until now has been so far removed from the fantasy, that the impending 30s has prompted me to start this war against myself. That sounds a bit harsh, you say? Well, without getting too David Copperfield-y, I grew up a bit of a social outcast. My teachers expressed concern that I did not have many friends and I was very withdrawn. But oh! I was great academically!… Add to that I was always on the chubby side and you get a young girl with no self confidence who didn’t know the value of hard work.

Fast forward to adulthood, past the depression, the failed 2 year marriage and numerous other mistakes (for another day), and we get to the present age of 29. 10 days short of my 30th birthday, where I am currently an overweight, single (separated) mother to a 5 year old boy, living with my parents, in my 3rd year (of which I’m kinda proud) of my 3rd attempt at tertiary education (only counting bachelor’s degrees here, not including the certificates I started and lost interest in). So, somewhat motivated by the fear that I’ll always be unsatisfied with my life (and to be this strong, inspiring woman that I’ve always felt I could be), I have started to make a list of goals, both short term and long term, as well as daily steps towards accomplishing them. I have also decided to start this blog to document my journey because it’s so outside of my comfort zone, that it’s got to be a good thing, right? I also want to know – and to show you, dear reader – if it can be done. Can a night owl whose recent bedtimes has not been a minute before 4am, become a morning person? So, introducing to you, test subject #1, yours truly.

Image credit: http://www.allthingsclipart.com/wonder.woman.02.jpg