rebelling against low expectations

How can I stop taking myself so seriously?


RACHEL WRITES: I tend to take myself and every event in my life, as well as others and every event in their lives, with way too much seriousness. This can affect my friendships in a negative way. For example, my friend might confide in me her reasons for being upset about something, and instead of cheering her up, I only find myself solemnly serious. It also stunts my spiritual growth. For example, I am easily disturbed by my minor failings. Anybody have any ideas? Thanks!

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  • Hey, thats a good question; I feel like your describing me! For me when I focus my eyes on eternity (that we live forever with God!) it helps me with perspective for the moment.

    Also get in scripture! There is so much good in it. Like Jame 1:17 That everything good and perfect is from God or Romans 8:31 if God is for us who can be against. My mind is blown away 🙂

    • Thank you! I love Romans 8! And lately, I have been looking to scripture, and you’re right–there’s plenty of gold to be found. 🙂

  • I’m the exact opposite, lol. I treat almost everything in life like it’s a big joke or fun game. I’m almost always smiling and laughing, and unless I’m in church or stuff like that I’m always trying to make people laugh. Sooooooo I don’t have much advice for you.

    But in regards to the fact that you are “easily disturbed by my minor failings”, check out this verse from 2 Corinthians 12:9:

    “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

    Hope this helps! =)

  • Yeah… I don’t know whether this is similar to what you are saying or not but…
    Last week, all the kids on my homeschool blog thing were arguing over something silly, and I went way overboard and got mad and offended, and wouldn’t talk to them any more, and everybody’s just like, “come on, it’s not real life, so don’t make it such a big deal!” But to me, it is a big deal, and I don’t know how to not take everything to be so important when it really isn’t.

  • I understand. I am naturally pretty serious, but I’ve also learned to lighten up. First, learn to laugh at yourself. This starts when you drop the bread on the floor and you roll your eyes and say in your best Darth Vader voice “How stupid.” 🙂 Seriously though, learning to laugh at yourself is a key factor. Then, you have to learn to laugh WITH others. When your friends and family are laughing, you need to laugh too. When your friends are asking for advice, it’s correct to be appropriately solemn, but sometimes it starts with having to help your friends see the lighter side of life. Just telling them, “Hey, it’s ok. Give this situation a few days and see how it turns out. I got your back in this.”
    Hope this helps, Rachel.

    • Yes, thanks Liana! I often do find it hard to laugh at myself about petty things, but with God’s grace I will work to overcome that.

  • Rachel,
    First of all, you need to know that taking things seriously was a strong trait of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Paul and our Lord Jesus Christ. If thinking seriously drives you to pray for the situation, that is a good thing. If it is something temporal, you need to let that go. If it is used to bring attention to yourself, then that is piety. But if you have a deep love for people and their spiritual conditions, God is at work. The hardest thing for a serious thinker is to continually maintain a joyous attitude in spite of the desperate conditions that people are in that dont necessarily bring levity. I would embrace how God has made you. Unless your seriousness leads you away from trusting God, I would consider it a gift.

    This verse of Christ love and lament for people is our example to follow:

    Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

    I pray that your tender heart may increasingly grow in the love, knowledge and wisdom of Christ.

    Ms. Jean

    • Thank you Ms. Jean. You are right in saying that it is hard for me to maintain a joyous attitude! I think God has been trying to teach me what His joy really is. Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

      • Rachel,

        Life is hard, but God is always good in His ways towards us. Stay in study of His Word and always stay repentant and humble.

        Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

        I thank God for young people who are striving for perfection through Christ. You will be blessed mightily.

        Ms. Jean

  • Heheh, yup, I can totally relate to the failed driver’s test. I pretty much killed myself and my instructor, but now, it’s actually kinda funny XD

  • I would say that there nothing wrong with being serious. We need people on this world who now how to take things seriously. =) When it comes to spiritual growth, there is nothing wrong with taking things seriously, so long as it does not block your view of God. It is a good thing to be able to see your own sin for the horrible thing it is. But what I’ve learned recently is that focusing all on my own guilt is just as self-absorbed as thinking there’s nothing wrong with me– one is just more truthful than the other. Seeing the seriousness of my own sin has to drive me to the amazingness of God. When you orient your focus on Him, Who He is, what He’s done, your seriousness will blossom into a healthy fear and love of the Person Who did the most serious thing in the world.

    And as for your friend example, I’d think it’s okay for you to sympathize and be serious. =). Job’s friends did that for 7 days straight, right? And God made different people with different styles of confronting life for His glory. <3

  • Thanks for asking this! I was thinking the same thing…

    While I can’t claim to know exactly how you feel (or, for that matter, how anybody feels), I can definitely identify with what you’re saying. Though (believe it or not) I do have a sense of humour, I am nonetheless a very serious guy, who thinks a bit too hard about small events and interactions with others.

    A typical (and slightly silly) example:

    I’m going for an early morning walk, and I pass a lady walking her dog. I look up and say “Good morning.” (I live in a country town, where this sort of thing actually happens). All pretty straightforward – until I reach the “post-production” stage…

    As I walk away, some very interesting questions begin to fill my mind:

    Did I say it too quickly? Or too loudly?

    Should I have said “G’day” instead? (I live in Australia, where people say that sort of thing.) Or should I have said “Hi”? Or nothing at all?

    Did I overemphasise the “morning” at the expense of the “good”? Or should I have left out the “good” altogether?

    Was I too abrupt? Is it better not to greet people I don’t know?

    Or is it better not to think too hard about every small thing I do?

    How does one avoid overthinking? Is there a method, or is it just determined by personality?

    If so, is it possible to change my personality? Or is the whole concept of changing one’s personality ludicrous, given the fact that we are all created different for a very good purpose?

    How do I know whether what seems natural to me seems natural to others?

    Does it even matter whether it seems natural to others?

    Is it better to think long and hard about how to make others feel comfortable, or just to smash my way through, ignoring the effect – because, after all, my intentions are good, and that’s what matters?

    So, in answer to your question “How can I stop taking myself so seriously?” I would say that you can’t. Some of us are serious thinkers by nature – and, as @tmselden:disqus pointed out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, I believe that such behaviour reaches absurd and unhelpful heights when we start focussing too much on ourselves.

    How do we avoid thinking too much about ourselves? I think the answer is quite simple:

    By spending time with others.

    This, I believe, is one reason why God said that “It is not good for man to be alone.” We need other people – friends who are different from ourselves – to show us that our way is not the only way, that our own little thoughts don’t matter so much, and that it’s not our own wisdom (or lack thereof) that makes us significant or otherwise. We need them just to help us relax – and, of course, to fulfil that most difficult command: “love one another.”

    • Sam, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read this because the example it is so much like my own thought process. I tend to analyze things like that just as meticulously. For example, I have been looking over all my responses in the comments to make sure they seemed appropriate. Should I add a comma? As that exclamation mark really necessary? But do I seem unfriendly without it there? Etc, etc. anyway, thanks for the advice. I do tend to be reclusive. God has given me wonderful friends and family to be with, and God has used and will use all of them in helping my spiritual focus.

  • Try giving these minor things that you should not be worrying about to God. Allow Him to relieve you of that stress. It does take a little work and a lot of praying, but the end result is worth it. I tend to stress about all kinds of silly little things and it just weighs me down. When I give it to God, it feels so good.

  • Looks like you and I are very similar…
    I can be serious, but when I am with my friends and family I can be silly/fun.
    My advice is to just let go and have fun.
    Don’t worry about it or over analyze the situation.
    I think seriousness is good, but we all need to have a laugh or have fun every now and then.
    I like what @madyoungorganist99:disqus said, “Spending time with others.”
    When you hang out with others, we naturally start to let go about how we think about ourselves and start to think about our friends.
    Plus, friends make you laugh. 😛
    I don’t know if this helps or not, I hope it does.

  • I’m a very serious person most of the time, at least that’s what I’m told. I tend to overthink things and get worried about everything! It tends to make some days harder for me because I turn the smallest little problem into great big problem that until I have a solution for it I’ll be unhappy and stressed. One thing that has really helped me in not worrying as much is praying and studying God’s Word more. And I’ve set up little reminders for myself like on my cell phone lock screen I have something that says “Keep Calm And Pray” and that has helped me a lot! Then for my cell phone’s background I have Matthew 6:34 and that has helped too. I think that everyone needs to be serious minded in a way, otherwise you end up with everyone looking at life through rose colored glasses and never seeing things as they are. But I think we all should be able to be lighthearted too and part of that is enjoying the little things in life, laughing at the fact that you just broke an egg on the floor, laughing with small children as they learn and grow in life. Learn to laugh off small mistakes, let yourself relax and just have fun for the sake of having fun, be lazy sometimes and watch an old movie or grab a cup of tea and reread your fav book for the tenth time. And don’t be too hard on yourself life is full of joys, mistakes, wonderful times and harder times take it out of your hands and put it in God’s He has a reason for everything and if you let Him handle things it’ll turn out just fine. I don’t know if what I’ve said helps any but I’ll be praying for you!

    Your sister in Christ,

rebelling against low expectations

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