The Positivity Project

Everyone loves a good self-deprecating joke every once in a while. On the day to day, the extroverted side of myself tries very hard to make people laugh. I’ve found that the easiest way to pull out a cheap laugh from the crowd is to make fun of myself. However, at some point, my harsh jokes about myself for a cheap laugh fed into my daily self-talk. I don’t think I realized when I started to believe all of the harsh jokes I made about myself. However, it wasn’t until this year that one of my friends pointed out how often I say really mean things about myself when ‘joking around’. After living with me and getting to see me every day, my friend noticed that the way I talk about myself—joking or not—is very negative.


It is hard to say that she was wrong. I often would find myself repeating defeatist phrases to myself when I was really down. This is often common with a lot of people whose primary mode of comedy is self-deprecating jokes as they use these types of jokes as a coping mechanism for some intrinsic issues they have with themselves. However, research shows that your self-talk infiltrates how you view yourself and the world. While I have yet to reach a point where my self-talk is that severe, the fact that my friends have noticed something made me realize that I need to do something.


So, my friend put me on this mission that I call my positivity project. She challenged me to actively recognize when I am saying something negative about myself (even if I said it jokingly) and modify or restate what I said in a positive way. While this sounds like a fairly simple request, the challenge was actually more difficult than I thought. Whenever the stresses of life got to me, I realized how much I took it out on myself. I’ve really had to examine the way that I talk about myself to others no matter the context. Near the beginning, my friends were the ones who would have to point out what I was saying. After a couple weeks, I became the one who would catch myself unnecessarily verbalizing my pessimistic thoughts.


I can’t say that after a month and half of this challenge I am an uber-positive person with a new outlook on life. But I can now say that I am beginning to recognize when I go too far or when I am piling onto my own stress. I would say that everyone should take some time to examine the way in which they talk about their lives and themselves. Sometimes all it takes to make your day go by a little better is reassuring yourself that you are doing the best you can and saying out loud and proud that everything is going to be okay.