“It’s OK, I Don’t Like Me, Either…”: Taking a Closer Look at Self-Deprecating Humor

I’ve had a problem with self-deprecating humor for quite some time now. I don’t chew my nails or crack my knuckles, but I have a serious habit of laying into myself from time to time. Now, I don’t pretend to think that makes me very different than most women in America. Sometimes it seems to me that, as women, bashing ourselves is actually one of our favorite pastimes. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get how women use this kind of humor to be relatable and approachable with one another. We want to make others comfortable. We want to make others laugh. We want to be humble. I think the intentions in the use of self-deprecating humor are usually very good ones. As women tend to do, we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of those around us.

But, while driving home the other day and looking back on a recent encounter in my mind, I had a realization that changed my perspective completely.

You see, I’ve noticed recently that I put myself down with much more exuberance and panache with people I am particularly uncomfortable with. I think it makes me hilarious (and I’m not going to lie, I probably am). I should go on some stand-up tour with the jokes I come up with about Kim Tait. Or, more particularly, what a goof Kim Tait can be. It’s usually all in good fun. And I do think being able to laugh at yourself is actually a really great quality to possess. For the most part, it keeps us sane. If we are not able to laugh, many’s the time we would surely cry.

But I went a little too far in this one particular encounter and I really bashed myself good.

What hit me on that drive home afterward was this: When taken too far, self deprecating humor can be a way of saying, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to feel bad or uncomfortable if you don’t like me. Because I don’t like me, either.”

Wow. That one hit me hard.

I have always had a tendency to evaluate myself based on what I think other’s perceptions are. It’s a terrible habit that I’ve had since childhood. But now as an adult, only now am I able to fully recognize how that affects nearly every interaction I have. And when I believe that someone does not fully love or appreciate me for who I am, I tend to respond in like kind, with a whopper of a self-inflicted put-down.

Ever since the aforementioned realization came flooding over me, I knew I wanted no part of that type of inner-monologue. For me, making a decided turn away from self-deprecation does not mean giving up my sense of humor. It does, however, mean reclaiming my strength. It means sitting, grounded and firm in a field of “I am good enough.” Even if the person or people I am around don’t know that yet. It means holding my tongue and offering myself the same kindness I strive to give so freely to others. It means owning who I am, no matter where I am. It means bringing that peace to any given situation, and letting that be what draws us together. Because self-deprecation will never be more than a superficial bond. A depthless connection that crumbles without the slightest effort. I want to build something more. I want to build myself and the people around me. I want to know the lasting joy that comes from purity and strength and kindness and love unfeigned.

I want others to know that their names are always safe in my mouth…and so is my own.


Holding it In, Letting it Out: A New Take on Emotions and Peeing

A few weeks ago I read a blog post that was intended to be funny, and it was, but it also made me really stop and think.

The post was written by The Orange Rhino, a mom of four young kids who made a goal to go one whole year without yelling. When I first found her blog back in March, I was mostly irritated because I had the same idea in January, and I felt like she was taking away all of the potential I had to blaze some new trail (ha ha, like I’m the first mom ever to think of that!). Anyways, I got over my knee-jerk reaction to secretly hate her and started following her instead. In a recent post, she describes how she was on a road trip with her kids, and well… she had to pee really bad. She made the connection that keeping herself from yelling was just like keeping herself from peeing. She had to “hold it in”. It was a funny article that made a few good points – you have to notice your body’s warning signals when you are feeling angry, just like you do when you have to go to the bathroom, etc. You can read the post here: http://theorangerhino.com/learning-to-hold-a-yell/

But the one thing that kept coming to my mind was this: What happens when you wait too long to go to the bathroom? The answer? It’s accident time, baby. Sooner or later, it’s coming out one way or another. I don’t care care who you are or how much self-control you have, no one is capable of holding it forever. And the longer you hold it, the more of an emergency it becomes. Which explains why earlier in the year – when I made the resolution to NOT YELL – what is now known as The Grand Blow-Up of Day Three shall go down in history as a day of infamy. I simply held it in for two days too long.

It’s funny, because I see a lot of myself in the Orange Rhino. She’s very regimented and has similar goals to mine. But what makes us different is this: Have you ever seen a kid riding a bike and warned them about something in their path, only to see them focus so carefully on avoiding it that they run straight into it? Yep, we’ve all seen it happen. Many’s the time I feel that happening when The Orange Rhino focuses on Yelling so much. When that’s all we think about, it’s all we want to do!! That’s why my initial inclination to make this blog about “Not Yelling” turned into something more like “How to Live Instead”. Have you heard the song, Brave by Sarah Bareilles? I absolutely love it. It is my favorite. Some of the lyrics are, “Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out…honestly…I want to see you be brave”. I think that honoring and giving voice to our true emotions requires a great deal of courage. Instead of holding in those feelings it’s more about getting to the root of the problem, and then finding an appropriate time and place to release them. For me, that’s way this blog has become about being something, as opposed to not being something. I want to become more peaceful, and everything else will hopefully fall into place.

Landscape with Olive Trees

Last week I focused on beginning a more specific journey towards inner peace, and I made a few baby steps in the right direction by acknowledging some of the stumbling blocks in my path and accepting myself for who I am right now. As I laid in my bed very early last Friday morning, I contemplated where I was in the process, and where I stood in my own personal journey. And as I laid there, the most glorious thing happened. The dawn broke over the mountains just east of my house, and ever so slowly, morning light filtered onto the wall in my bedroom. It was a new day, and I felt ready to take it on. Ready to accept the challenges that lie in store and face them with a smile. Ready to persist in the right direction until something happens. Ready to begin anew.

That day I got out of bed and went to the store and bought the book The Happiness Project. I have a feeling I’m going to secretly resent this woman, too, for blazing a new trail I wish I would have. But today, I might actually start reading it. And then, who knows. I may love it. Either way, I’ll let you know.

Above All: My Battle With The D-Word

Ever since my son Jack was born, I have struggled with recurring bouts of depression. If you know me personally, this might come as a surprise. It’s not something I talk about very often. It’s just so dark and heavy. It’s hard to talk about without losing it. And, as Marjorie Hinckley said so well, “…crying gives me a headache.” For a while, the depression got rather serious. Every day was a challenge. I just couldn’t remember ever feeling happy about anything, and my days were punctuated with questions from my five-year-old like, “Mommy, why do you cry so much?”

It’s gotten better. We just celebrated Jack’s first birthday last month. As the dust settled from our move, and the daily routine settled into a productive(ish) life with four kids, so did the emotions (and the hormones) begin to balance out. But, every now and then, there is a backslide. I can feel the storm clouds gathering overhead. I can feel myself begin to withdraw, huddling deep within the recesses of my mind. And the battle against the darkness resumes.

Interestingly, the worst part of this particular battle for me is the guilt. I mean, there are people out there in the world that have real, legitimate problems. And here I am, crying in the shower again and feeling sorry for myself.

I don’t have all the answers yet. But it is getting better. Today, this talk given by a church leader I admire has given me great strength, and great hope. There is peace in knowing who you are. And this reminded me that I am not my depression.

I am not my bad days.

I am so much more.

Photo courtesy of Helena Zanting at https://www.flickr.com/photos/helenajz/

Digging Deep: My Weeklong Journey Toward Inner Peace

Oh help.

I’ve had this writing project running through my mind since January. It has taken me since then to post a single post. Then, after a week of posting a few things I’ve written, the questions started bubbling in the back of my mind. “Why are you doing this, anyway,” I would say to myself. “What are you trying to accomplish, here?” My self-doubt nearly got the best of me. There is no rhyme or reason to what brought on this barrage of self-pity, but man, it has been tiring. I won’t bore you with all of the sad details of what my inner monologue has been, but let’s just say it has been burdensome. You know, that feeling like you are walking with a 20-pound sandbag over your shoulders…in mud? Yeah, that one. Try that feeling on for several days. Yuck. And unfortunately, this negative pattern of thinking is a habit of mine. It’s one I’ve battled for a long time. From writing projects to sewing projects to music projects to, well, any project….I tend to be a little critical of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an excellent starter. I start things really well. But then, somewhere along the way, I begin to feel that I’m not doing Thing A or Project B well enough, and I decide to shelve it until I can do it right. Last week I started feeling frustrated because the ideas I had weren’t translating the way I wanted them to. So I nearly shelved it.

But then I got to thinking.

What if I didn’t shelve it? What if I kept on walking through that mud until things got better? What if I actually stuck it out? What if instead of being so critical I decided to practice a little self-acceptance? What if I made a few steps toward being at peace with….myself?

Living here in the desert, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of water being underground. You know those old movies where someone would be stranded somewhere and they would just dig and dig until they found some spring of water? I think peace is kind of like that. It’s not like an emotion, happy or sad. It’s this constant source of nourishment for your soul that is always there for you, even if it is out of sight, or it takes some digging to get to. It is always there.

I heard a song this morning – one of my favorites –  that reminded me of this truth. Each verse is a person calling for help, and in the Chorus, God replies. Read these lyrics. They are beautiful and poetic and teach a powerful lesson.

“Peace Be Still” by James Cleveland

Master, the tempest is raging. 
The billows are tossing high. 
The sky is o’er shadowed with blackness, 
No shelter or help is nigh. 
Carest Thou not that we perish? 
How canst Thou lie asleep, 
When each moment so madly is threatning, 
A grave in the angry deep? 


The winds and the waves 
Shall obey my will, peace be still. 
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea 
Or demons, or men, or whatever it be. 
No water can swallow the ship where lies 
The Master of ocean and earth and skies; 
They shall sweetly obey my will, 
Peace be still, peace be still. 
They all shall sweetly obey my will; 
Peace, peace be still. 

Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today. 
The depths of my sad heart are troubled. 
Oh, waken and save, I pray! 
Torrents of sin and of anguish 
Sweep o’er my sinking soul, 
And I perish! I perish! dear Master. 
Oh, hasten and take control! 


Master, the terror is over, the elements sweetly rest. 
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored, 
And heaven’s within my breast. 
Linger, O blessed Redeemer! 
Leave me alone no more, 
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor 
And rest on the blissful shore.

Peace is constant, even if the storms are raging around us, or, as in my case, if the storm is raging inside of us. And I know the true source of all peace is the Master of Heaven and Earth. The patterns of negative thinking I’ve developed are not from Him. So today, and going forward this week especially, I’m turning the reigns over to the Master. I’m going to honor myself as His daughter. I’m really going to try to master my thoughts and practice some kindness and self-acceptance. It won’t be complete by the end of this week, or even my whole life maybe, but it will be a start. I’m going to try my best to come to terms with this inner battle I’m waging,  and be at peace with myself. It might take some digging to get there, but I’m finally willing to do it.

Wish me luck. I’ll need it!



Peaceful Practices

In my mind, I have always associated peace with order. Chaos and peace are at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, wouldn’t you say? And, having four kids aged 7 and younger, it can get pretty chaotic around here.

So, being the control-freak, errrr, I mean,…Type-A personality that I am, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to create order in my home. And therefore, creating a little peace, too. Whether it’s finding ways to not have to remind my kids 50 times to brush their teeth in the morning, or ways to make sure the house is clean before dinner, I am always, making little plans and tweaking our systems here and there. Basically, I’m trying to fix the root causes of my stressors instead of constantly putting Band-Aids on their symptoms.

olive trees p

So when a dear friend of mine e-mailed and asked me last week how I structure my day, I was weirdly excited. It’s like asking a mad scientist to explain her crazy ideas to you…she might go wild with a passionate response. I took a few minutes to contain myself, and then I sent her the response below. The reason I wanted to share it with you all today is because of the positive response I have received from this friend of mine. Not only has she found it helpful for her and her family, but she has shared it with other friends and neighbors that have found it useful as well. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by your hectic days, and are looking for some ways to restore order and calm, I’m hoping some tidbit here might be helpful for you, too. This list is devised with a young family in mind, but can be adapted for anyone at any stage in life. I think the key is finding what makes you feel happy and peaceful and productive, and then being consistent with it.

Anyways, take a look and let me know what you think!

From: Kimberly Tait

Ok, let’s talk routines, baby! 🙂

I love, love, love getting up early. I think it just sets the tone for having a great day. My mornings are totally sacred to me. Personally, I think that quiet time before the kids get up is what has kept me sane for the past 7 years (well, a little sane, anyways).

On my best days, I wake up at 5:30 and workout before I shower. When that doesn’t happen, if I wake up closer to 6, I just squeeze in about 10-15 minutes of yoga before my shower. Either way, I try to do something active right when I wake up. It helps me feel really alive and ready to take on the day. Then, I shower and get ready by 7. This is really important to me, for some reason. I don’t think it’s vanity so much as it is just wanting to feel clean. I hate feeling dirty. It makes me feel awful, and I’ve actually noticed that I snap at my kids way more when I feel gross and unkempt. Is that weird? So, I take that time from 6 to 7 or so, and that is MY time. 

Once I am showered and the bed is made, then I take the time for my personal prayers. I love that this is kind of the last thing I do during my little quiet “me time” in the mornings. It gets me in the right frame of mind right before I go wake up the kids and the chaos begins. 🙂

So then at 7, I wake up the kids. Takes them about 30 minutes to brush their teeth, get dressed, make their beds, etc. Then at 7:30, we are on to breakfast. No one is allowed to eat breakfast unless they are ready for the day. Like ready, ready. Shoes on and everything. That way we can focus on eating and enjoying that time. Then, after breakfast is cleaned up and lunches are packed it’s family prayer and we leave for school at 8. 

When I come home from dropping the girls off at school, that’s when I have my own breakfast. I let Dallin watch one episode of Sesame Street every morning while I eat my breakfast in peace (is that awful?). That’s when I read my scriptures and then check my e-mail. Usually, by the time I’m done, I have time to clean up the kitchen, get one load of dishes started, and get a load of laundry started…praise be that Sesame Street is one full hour. 🙂 My rule is: one load of dishes and one load of laundry every single morning. Then, voila…. it’s 9:30 am, I’m showered and ready for the day, my kitchen is clean, and my laundry is going, and I am free to take on the world (or, you know…. go to Target). 

So, that’s my morning. It’s a fail-safe plan for me. (**I also should note here that I unload the dishes and fold the laundry in the afternoon while the boys are taking their naps. Dishwasher is always clear and ready to be loaded before dinner). 

As for nights… First off, the kids clean up all the toys before dinner. I give them 15 minutes on the clock, and anything left out goes in my donation bin. No excuses. Ever. The house is totally picked up before we ever sit down to eat. Period. I’m a real stickler on that. Some nights they do great, and some nights they hate me for it, but they know there is no escaping it. 

We usually eat dinner at around 6. After dinner, one kid helps me clean up the kitchen (we take turns by week) while the other gets started in the shower. Once the kitchen is clean, I go upstairs to help the kiddos finish showering and bathing. By 7 everyone is clean and smushy-faced and lotioned up and ready to be snuggled with while we read books. Family scriptures, prayer, one-on-one special time, then bed. 

Then, voila…it’s 8:30 and my kids are in bed, my house is (somewhat) tidy, my kitchen is clean, and I’m ready to take on the world (or, you know…read a book. Or vegetate on the couch. Or go to bed by 9…lol). 

I try not to clean after the kids go to bed (and really, since the kitchen is clean and the toys are picked up, I don’t usually feel like I have to). I just have my one deep-cleaning day on Monday, and then the rest of the week is just maintenance. 

I hope this answers your question. And I hope you haven’t fallen asleep reading this. And I hope you understand that there are days when I get sidetracked with other obligations and the routine goes out the window. But, whenever I stick to this routine, it always, always works for me. Hope that some or all of it works for you, too!

Love you, friend…