Self-deprecating humor is underrated. When inhaled (in healthy doses), it works magic and immediately drives away all the frustration, worries and negative emotions.
There are many versions of the Manifesto of Self-Deprecating Humor. Here are a few that I like:
1/ Everyone is an idiot
“Everyone is an idiot, not just the people with low SAT scores. THe only differences among us is that we’re idiots about different things at different times. No matter how smart you are, you spend much of your day being an idiot.“
– Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle
If we proudly identify ourselves (& everyone in the world) as idiots, then it is very natural to transit into a peaceful mood – suddenly we are no longer angry with that “moron” whose “stupidity lowered the IQ of the whole street.”
In the words of Scott Adams, “If you can come to peace with the fact that you’re surrounded by idiots, you’ll realize that resistance is futile, your tension will dissipate, and you can sit back and have a good laugh at the expense of others.“
2/ Everyone is crazy
I love Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by A. De Mello. Highly recommended by Tim Ferriss – a book on what “waking up” means.
A key takeaway from the book: realize we are all crazy. Everyone. Not just Professor Snape. Not just your ex who rings you at 3 AM. Not just your neighbor who suspects you are a cat-turned-witch.
Everyone is crazy. Whether they are as smart as Einstein, as dumb as [insert-the-name-of-someone-you-hate], they are all crazy. And you are crazy too.
“Do you know one sign that you’ve woken up? It’s when you are asking yourself, ‘Am I crazy, or are all of them crazy?’ It really is. Because we are crazy. The whole world is crazy. Certifiable lunatics! The only reason we’re not locked up in an institution is that there are so many of us.“
– A. De Mello, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality
We are all monkeys that are easily manipulated
I press a button and you’re up; I press another button and you’re down. And you like that. How many people do you know who are unaffected by praise or blame? That isn’t human, we say. Human means that you have to be a little monkey, so everyone can twist your tail, and you do whatever you ought to be doing. But is that human?A. De Mello, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality
Let’s read that last part again: “Human means that you have to be a little monkey, so everyone can twist your tail, and you do whatever you ought to be doing.”
Do you feel good when people say you are good?
Do you feel bad when people say you are bad?
I do – many times. I bet you do too. And that’s what makes us manipulable monkeys – there are certain “buttons” that we seem to be conditioned to respond to.
The defense De Mello recommends is this:
“You go ahead and be yourself, that’s all right, but I’ll protect myself, I’ll be myself.”A. De Mello, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality
* * *
I won’t allow you to manipulate me. I’ll live my life; I’ll go my own way; I’ll keep myself free to think my thoughts, to follow my inclinations and tastes.
The not-so-sexy solution to the problem is: Just Be Yourself. Be Your Crazy & Idiotic Self. Be proud of your craziness and idiocy that relapses once in a while and will continue to relapse for the rest of your life. And that is okay – that realization makes us easily drop demands we have on others, because how could we expect everyone to act rationally all the time, when we cannot do the same ourselves?
So let’s chant the self-deprecating-humor mantra to close: “I am a crazy idiot, and I am cool with that.”
I hope you are too.