Learning to Laugh at Myself

By: Anusha Khurram

I was probably in the sixth grade when I first started using humour as a coping mechanism. I was this kid who was picked on, and I was getting sick and tired of feeling so bad about everything I did. It was frustrating, feeling like everything I did would end up with others laughing at me. My art teacher was the one who encouraged me to take control of my situation.

I noticed it was hard for me to handle my mistakes and that’s because I held myself to such high standards that every mistake made me feel like a failure. Seeing the beauty of my flaws was difficult, and it took me a long time to accept them. Every day, I tried to take control of my situation. At first, I didn’t know or even understand how to do that. I often got confused and frustrated because I still couldn’t make myself feel better.

But one day, I tried to take things lightly. Anything I did that could be made fun of, I beat them to it.

An idea like that felt weird at first, but it became customary for me after a couple of times. 

I took control by taking the first step and making fun of myself before anyone else could. It made me feel like I had control over that mistake or flaw. It wasn’t easy, and it was indeed uncomfortable to start with; however, laughing at myself gave me confidence. I gained a new level of courage in myself and my actions. It allowed me to realize that it’s okay to make mistakes, and while I may make them (because I am human), I can also do many amazing things. My imperfections make me human, and I became more understanding and empathetic toward others when I learned to laugh at myself.

My mom always encouraged me to laugh at myself. She did it through forced-laughter exercises where you would start with an obnoxious fake laugh, and eventually, it would turn into a real laugh because of how ridiculous you would sound. It might have been foolish, but it improved my mood and made me feel better. Sometimes, you don’t know how to start it for yourself, or maybe you’re too scared or nervous to do so, and that’s okay. The important thing is to do things that make you happy!

Learning to laugh at myself made me realize the importance of imperfections. They are there to remind us things are still perfectly fine, even if they are not perfect. The mistakes we make and the flaws we have are all part of what makes us, us. By laughing at myself, I was better able to improve my self-esteem, improve my mood, and lead an overall positive life. There will be setbacks now and then, but that’s okay because things will always work out in the end. 

Not only can laughing improve your mood, but it also helps us realize that we all control our own lives. We don’t have control over others and their actions, but we can control our reactions to them. Instead of leaning towards negativity, I always try laughing it off.

My experience with laughing at myself wasn’t easy. It took time to feel comfortable enough to do so in front of people. It took time to accept and understand my flaws. However, the learning process helped me lead a more positive life. Since I was a kid, I have tried to make laughing at myself a regular part of my life and encouraged my loved ones to do the same. I feel more positive and relaxed since I’ve learned to incorporate laughing at myself into my life, and I would recommend others to try it!