Using humour to speak a truth

I really don’t enjoy it when people make fun of others. Even more so when they back it up with “Just kidding” or “It was just a joke!”

My grandmother often used to say “Many a truth is said in jest” and over the years I began to understand what she meant. She also used to say…”When you find a good man, shoot him before he turns rotten” and unfortunately she did have a good reason to say this. But let’s not go there.

Back to the ‘truthful jokes’. What often lies beneath these little jabs is something that needs to be said. These unspoken truths can be hurtful, and over time, damaging to one’s psyche. Especially if that person has a tendency towards low self-esteem or self-worth.

What may seem funny to one person, may not feel so good to someone else. And when paired with a “just kidding’, the receiver of the message has no way of defending themselves or answering back. To do so makes it sound like they are unable to take a ‘joke’ or are ‘too serious’.

This makes these sometimes nasty little jokes even more hurtful and damaging. Words have an energetic charge. What do you think happens to the negative energy fired st someone with words? It must be released somehow. Either as a charged response to someone else somewhere down the track, or turned back on the self. Perhaps resulting in self harm, disease, negative self talk or some other self destructive behaviour.

So what lies beneath these comments. “Hey wait on!”, you may say. “I was only joking!” My question remains…Is it ever okay to say hurtful things even in jest? And is it OK to use humour to disguise what it is people are really wanting to say?

It is a disguise. These comments are often (not always) a way of saying what some people really want to say, or lashing out behind a thin veil of humour, because they have no capacity to have a difficult discussion about how they really feel, or what’s really going on.

It may be that the person is just having a bad day. Or perhaps has been the brunt of this kind of behaviour themselves, so it seems normal to them.

There is a time and a place for jokes. You can even lovingly tell someone they are a ‘short ass’ or a ‘bean pole’. We just have be very conscious when we do use this kind of humour, as the recipient may not be all that okay with it themselves.

If you’re receiving these kinds of jokes, and it’s unwanted or you feel attacked and can’t defend yourself, here are some responses that may help you release that negative charge you may feel inside:

“Can you please repeat that? I didn’t quite hear you?”
“Are you trying to hurt my feelings?” “It won’t work…but I just wanted to be clear on your message”
“What are you trying to say”
“Have I offended you somehow?”
“What an odd comment?” “Are we Ok?”
“Thanks for sharing that”
“That’s nice”

You don’t have to accept any kind of negative communication. You don’t have to take jokes that are at your expense, in silence. You have every right to question what someone has said and if you feel that you can’t let it go and feel hurt, reach out to someone. Talk with a friend, a professional or a loved one. No one deserves to have that much power over you.

Live well. Be brave.