Why So Serious? When Taking Yourself Seriously Can Seriously Backfire

Dear Inner Dialogue,

Thank you for keeping tabs on my well being. However, I have gratefully decided to decline your services for today. Let’s call it a trial separation, in which I am going to continue living my life the way I’d like to, with a little less of your input.


Simply Human

Via unsplash.com

Sometimes I do wish that it were that easy. Just flick that switch and turn the little voice in your head off for a moment. Sometimes you can silence the chatter with a nice cup of green tea and a soothing new book, but most days you don’t have the luxury of zoning out to zen-land and breaking out that novel in the middle of an executive meeting. That just won’t fly.

Most often, though, it helps if I just keep the voice in check. I’m mainly talking about those moments where I take myself so seriously that it gets in the way of living, gets in the way of the important things, and overall just makes me look like such a weirdo. A bad weirdo! Not a good quirky weirdo. When you take yourself so seriously that you must leave the house only after applying all makeup items, ensuring hair protocol, perfume has been crop dusted and you find yourself wearing the nice jeans and work flats to take the dog out. It’s a Sunday.

Here’s a tip: NO ONE CARES. That one took me some time to come to terms with, but people generally will treat you wonderfully at the dog park if you are wearing comfy sweats and no makeup, just as they would if you were in those jeans (granted they would raise an eyebrow at the flats in a sea of dog poop. Just saying.) There are, indeed, times for taking yourself seriously. That executive meeting? Do it up! The grocery store? The gym? The mailbox? The dentist? Unless your goal is to scoop him up and become Mrs. Dentist, you can be you, as you as you can be, whatever way that is. Skip the makeup routine and go on that run. Chances are, you’ll still be smiling the same and even catch the eye of that cute neighbour who will no doubt be looking at your behind as you run away.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.11.08 PM
Via unsplash.com

Another tip: Don’t take yourself too seriously at work and with your work. This is murky territory, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that sometimes you can be so focussed on how you appear to others that you end up standing in the way of some incredible opportunities. Take your work seriously, not your “self.” If you would only open up, loosen up or both, new people and new ideas may just come your way. By all means be professional: Professionally stick out your tongue at a close colleague, show off your polka-dot socks at the lunch pizza party and, for gosh sakes, smile like you mean it. Chances are, you really do.


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