In general, laughter is really good for us. There’s no dispute that laughter helps boost our health and happiness. However, sometimes humor can be more harmful than helpful. While it’s okay to laugh at yourself when you’re forgetful or you’ve made a mistake, self-deprecating humor can negatively affect your mental and physical well-being.
How to Spot Self-Deprecating Humor
“OMG, I can’t believe I forgot that! I’m such an IDIOT! HARHARHAR.” This is self-deprecating humor. Self-deprecation is any form of undervaluing yourself or putting yourself down, such as insulting your intelligence, physical features, and personality. You might be trying to poke fun at yourself for your mistakes by insulting yourself, but this really hurts you. If you self-deprecate enough, you could begin to believe what you’re saying and develop or worsen low-self esteem.
Well-Being and Self-Deprecation
Self-deprecating humor may seem harmless, but it has negative consequences to your happiness and health. Self-deprecation is damaging, unhealthy, and may be a sign that you’re struggling with low self-esteem. Low self-esteem, in turn, may result in feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Self-deprecating humor may also promote self-hate and helps people hide trauma that would be better off dealt with. This ultimately promotes stress which negatively impacts your immune system, so you’ll find that you get sick pretty easily. However, you can absolutely learn to laugh at yourself without putting yourself down.
How to Laugh at Yourself without Self-Deprecating
“OMG, I forgot that! Haha, oh well!” This is not self-deprecating. It’s best to laugh at yourself in this fashion and avoid getting angry or putting yourself down. If you tend to self-deprecate, there are a few things you can try in order to learn to laugh at yourself without being mean. One, try saying the opposite of what you’re feeling — “Fantastic! Absolutely great!”
Also, try to “be your own audience,” meaning you might try asking yourself if you’d find the situation funny if it were someone in a sitcom. Things really do seem funnier that way. Similar to overcoming overthinking, you might try to acknowledge your mistake without putting judgement on it – whatever happened, happened. Additionally, try replacing mean words with silly ones (e.g. goober, dill weed), or work to eliminate name-calling altogether. This likely won’t be easy at first, but it will be beneficial in time.
If you wouldn’t be comfortable or might even be hurt if someone said it to you, don’t say it to yourself.
Humor can be great to raise your vibe until it isn’t. Self-deprecating humor is harmful to your health and happiness. Life is funny. Life is silly. We all make goofy mistakes and our brains go on the fritz. We trip, we fall, we get mud on our faces. You can and should still laugh at yourself, and it’s definitely good to do so, just avoid using mean words and judging yourself harshly. Your are amazing. Never let anyone tell you differently, not even yourself, not even jokingly.