Humor As A Coping Mechanism!

It’s a Wednesday! I swear I’ll get back on schedule sometime. But now is not that time. Now is the time that I get to talk at you on a Wednesday.

Like most people with deep-rooted (often concealed) anxiety, I use humor as a coping/defense mechanism in the face of any icky situations. It’s just easier! Right?

How you feel when you laugh but are actually really uncomfortable

Sure, it’s easier.

But I feel like a lot of the time, this leads to confusion from the people around you, and even from yourself. Now, I have a pretty high Emotional IQ, but still sometimes it’s hard to identify what you’re feeling and/or why you’re feeling it. (I’m a fan of the list-making method when I’m not totally sure what’s going on inside my brain. Because I’m obsessive-compulsive and it makes me feel better.)

It’s easy to laugh something off, even though it may bother you. Even though it may hurt your feelings. It’s easier to laugh it off because: what if you make someone uncomfortable by having a genuine reaction? And then what if they don’t like you anymore? And then what if all of your other friends decide they don’t like you anymore? There’s a whole spiral that our brains go through (especially for people prone to catastrophising. Hi.)

So, it’s easy because you don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But, it’s not easy because that’s at the expense of yourself! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You are not obligated to sacrifice your happiness (or in this case, your emotional output) for someone else.

Let me clarify something: I’m not saying that you should fly off the handle at someone just because you have an emotional reaction to something they’ve said or done. Self control is a tool that everyone should utilize. It is possible to be emotionally open without being destructive.

Here, I’ll throw a quick example your way:

This past Monday was Halloween, as you all know. Halloween is so fun! Right?

Apparently Halloween isn’t so fun when you work in the front of a candy store that has run out of Halloween candy. At 5. And trick-or-treating lasts for another two hours. Hm.

Let’s fast forward to about 6:30. Thirteen year old boy walks in with his friend. No costumes, just pillowcases, adequately filled with what I am assuming was candy.

13 year old boy: “Hey, do you guys have any more candy?”

Me (being SUPER NICE): “No, I’m sorry! We ran out at about five.”

13: “Are you serious? This is a CANDY STORE and you’re OUT OF CANDY?” 

Me: “Unless you’d like to buy some.”

13: “Yeah well that’s BULLSHIT.”

Me: *Resists urge to leap over counter, destroy 13 year old boy’s life* 

Also me: “Well, I’m sure other places around us have more Halloween candy.”

Firstly, I let that kid know with my eyeballs that I was not happy. And that I would rip him apart if he said another word. Secondly, I just directed him to another place to be an asshole, instead of leaping over the counter and destroying his entire life.

Also, just as a side note, chocolate stores are not CANDY STORES. CHOCOLATE IS NOT CANDY. CHOCOLATE IS CHOCOLATE. Anywho.

Self control is hard sometimes.

But necessary. I don’t look good in orange.

SO. Although humor is great and fun and an amazing tool, it’s not always best to use in lieu of real emotions. Don’t let your gunky emotions build up, otherwise you will be miserable. And you will resent the people around you. This is something I need to keep in mind. Maybe it’ll help you, too! We could all benefit a little from being more honest with other people and with ourselves, I think.

Be happy boogers, my friends. #keepitreal

And hey, I always want to know what you guys think. Do you think emotional expression is always necessary? Or do you think it doesn’t really matter, jokes work fine too, right?

Finish off the week strong. I believe in you.



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