“I’m just joking…”

Are you really, though?

Five Things to Remember When You’re Joking

  1. Jokes aren’t always funny. Others get hurt from careless jokes and thoughtless teases more than you know. In the past, I would easily laugh off jokes from my peers so they did not think I was offended. I’m over that. Check your jokes. Do they build up or tear down? It might be funny, but if it’s hurtful — It should NOT be said. Period.
  2. Jokes have a thread of truth. Always. Normally, jokes are founded in reality. You can’t just make some of this stuff up. Jokes are normally centered around rumors, areas of insecurities, or faults about someone’s physical appearance, work ethic, social graces, etc. Don’t prey off people. Don’t say things to get others to laugh if it means demeaning someone else. This includes Snapchat. Admission of guilt: I got rid of Snapchat a couple years ago. This was one of the reasons. I was a great snapper back in my day. However, 90% of the time, the snaps I sent were not edifying or kind to others. I would send snaps of people I thought were “less” than me – behind their backs – to my “groupies.” God let me know this wasn’t ok.
  3. Don’t joke to make a point. If you need to confront someone, just do it. Don’t make comments and jokes in front of that person and everyone else. Stop being passive aggressive. Grow up. Deal with the issue. Give someone the decency to talk with them and figure out the problem.
  4. If they don’t think it’s funny, it’s probably not. Seems like common sense, I know. Be aware, friends. If you say something, even if you didn’t mean harm, and it doesn’t go over well — Do not do it again. Apologize if needed. Understand the people you joke with have feelings, too.
  5. Some people can’t take jokes. I know. I can’t really fathom this, either. I love joking and teasing. My family thrives on it. My husband and I love to joke with each other — we pretty much do constantly. However, some people have a different background, a different emotional make-up, a different outlook on life. Jokes are not their “thing.” That’s ok. They aren’t weird; they are just a human being. Respect them enough to know the boundaries, alright?

I posted this because this has been an area in my life that I have had to grow and improve. I am working on being aware of others and their feelings. I love to joke, but it’s not worth the cost of losing friends or my reputation. Have fun – be funny… but don’t let the goal of being funny make you forget social cues and emotional boundaries.

Check your jokes. Think before you tease.

{Excuse the llama, but it looks like he has just cracked a good joke. 😉 }

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash

It’s OK.

Let’s be real. The road of life is full of twists and turns, foggy curves, confusing signs, and too many bumps and potholes to count. It’s not all bad, but sometimes it surely feels like it! So many people are going through life – day in and day out – carrying so much baggage. They don’t want to fall apart or admit they are in need of support.

I’m here to let you know that it’s OK, my friend. 

It’s OK to ask for help. Look, you ain’t perfect, honey. You can’t “know” what you haven’t learned. It’s just not possible. There are people that are better than you at certain things. Get that advice. Pursue growth. Don’t wallow in frustration when you could own understanding. I’ve been there too many times to count. Humble yourself. Become a better person. Just ask!

It’s OK for someone to constructively criticize you. If this hasn’t happened to you, sooner or later it will. Accept the criticism. Step back from the situation. Evaluate what was said. Compare the person’s criticism with your life. Adjust accordingly and if needed. Thank the person for their concern and apologize if appropriate or necessary. Grow. Change. Endeavor not to let that area be criticized again. Repeat if needed. [Side note: Not all constructive criticism warrants an apology or adjustment. In fact, some constructive criticism is simply off-base and the person misunderstood. Take that into account. I have found, however, that most times I have been confronted with constructive criticism, I came face to face with the truth, resulting in (sometimes painful) growth.]

It’s OK to not have it altogether. No one’s life is “Insta-Worthy” 24/7. It’s alright if your clothes aren’t always (or ever) ironed. It’s acceptable if you don’t feel like cooking dinner every night. I don’t know about you, but I usually tend to be harsh on myself. I am learning not to beat myself up about not always having my i‘s dotted or my t‘s crossed. Do your best and leave the rest up to the One who is bigger than yourself.

It’s OK if your feelings get hurt. You’re human, ok? People aren’t always nice, kind, considerate, loving, helpful, or understanding. Let yourself process the emotions that come your way, but don’t you dare let negative emotions control you. Deal with them, but don’t be afraid to feel them.

It’s OK if sometimes the closest people to you don’t understand you. To be quite frank, no one is EVER gonna “get” you 100% of the time… not even your Mom, your spouse/significant other, or your best friend. But, I know of a Friend that sticks closer than a brother or sister, and that’s Jesus Christ (Proverbs 18:24). When others don’t understand, rest in the fact that you are (like the lyrics of Tauren Wells’ song) “fully known and loved” by the Creator of the universe! (Link to song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6T28lsTPwc)

It’s OK if you don’t want to give anymore. Some days I come home from work completely spent. I have given and coached and taught and tutored and adjusted according to a crazy schedule – from start to finish. I just don’t feel like doing or giving anymore. That’s normal. You’re not a superhero. Don’t ever stop giving love and grace. Take care of what you need to. However, you should never forget to take time for YOURSELF. Regroup. Recharge. Find a hobby. (For me, Saturday is my “unofficial” Recharge Day… I do some things I “have” to, but I do my best to accomplish at least one thing I have wanted to do, perhaps even something off my seasonal wish list!)

It’s OK if you need to take a break. Take a minute. We were only meant to handle so much at one time. Breath in; breath out. Sit down. Take a walk. Eat a snack. Brush your teeth (my go-to stress reliever in college). Call someone. Check the Bible app for the Verse of the Day. Make a list. Deal with one thing at a time.

It’s OK if you need to cry it out. Sometimes keeping it in is the worst thing you can do. Hurt is just real life. It comes. It happens. Embrace it, learn from it, and move on.

It’s OK to be yourself. In a world where “acceptance” is supposedly on the rise, there is actually more judgement and division than ever before. Don’t let that stop you from being who God created you to be. If you’re a little louder or taller or bigger or shorter than the person next to you, don’t sweat it. Be confident in yourself, your personality, and your purpose. Don’t let anyone dim your light or put you down. You deserve better than that. (P.S. This is not an excuse to be obnoxious and overwhelming just because that’s “who you are” – Be tactful, alright? — i.e. How loud I am when I’m with my best friends is 10x louder than I am when in a group of strangers.)

It’s OK to move on. Sometimes life leaves us no option. We outgrow places, people, friends, relationships, feelings, stages, grudges, and so on. Don’t let toxic people, places, or circumstances run your life. Don’t hate — compensate. Find some new friends. Visit new places. Look for a new job. Let go of the grudge. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Move. On.

I hope these ten different pieces of “OK” advice encourage you. Don’t give up the fight. You’ve got this!

(Photo creds: Unsplash.com)