Laugh at yourself.
I gotta admit it. I HATED being laughed at. As a kid, the name Charles was open heyday for mockery. How can you make fun of Stephen (my older brother)? Not much to work with there. But Charles? Prince Charles, Charlie Brown, Chuckie Cheese, Chunky Chucky, Up Chuck, Chuckie, the list can kind of get creative, as can kids. I remember being in my parents living room, surrounded by siblings and friends, being called “Charlie Brown, he’s a clown.” That fact that I was a natural fighter didn’t help. Or my pudginess in 6th grade. Or my temper. The irritation lasted into marriage, into my early professional career as a public speaker. Then one day, I discovered a marvelous truth. No one can make fun of you for what you make fun of yourself for. Ok, so that last sentence is a grammatical nightmare, but the truth is there. And if they do make fun of you, the crowd gets less enjoyment when you agree. One of my staff members who liked to tease told me recently “its so hard to make fun of you because you make fun of yourself.” Yup. Here’s how to do it. Someone begins making fun of you. You feel that little insecurity creeping in. Don’t just fake laugh, “One up” them. “You know what’s worse? When I do that, and I’ve forgotten my deodorant. I start to sweat and it stinks.” Run with the story, and take the reins. Now, you are in control of the conversation. Everyone loves someone who doesn’t take them selves too seriously. Laugh at yourself. Thanks to one of my readers for proving that yes, you can mess up Stephen.
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