If we’re both lucky and wise, we discover some values around which to pour concrete and anchor down. We drop anchor on a belief, or a lover, or a quest. You can find us moored there for a while.

Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously—No One Else Does

Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously - Like this sailboat, you are in motion and changing.
Photo by Kristel Hayes on Unsplash

# 67 on my 99 Life Tips–A List is: Do not take yourself too seriously. You aren’t the same you as you were at five, or perhaps at twenty-five. You are fluid and dynamic. Today’s “you” may vanish tomorrow, just as a stormy, wind-tossed ocean may tomorrow be as smooth as glass.

Learn to laugh at yourself

The ability to laugh at oneself is a life skill to cultivate. It’s tied to the realization, often hard won, that you are fallible and sometimes weak but still resilient and worthy of love. You are a work in progress. The edits aren’t all in. So don’t take this present draft, this iteration, too seriously. 

The capacity for change is one of the enduring and ennobling traits of this life. From birth, we change and morph and develop and grow. Our beliefs vacillate, our energies fluctuate, faced with defects we compensate, and all of this admixture forms a distillate; the current self occupying today. 

So, for the semblance of stability, if we’re both lucky and wise, we discover some values around which to pour concrete and anchor down. We drop anchor on a belief, or a lover, or a quest. You can find us moored there for a while. 

As sure as the wind changes, our course can change, too. We can hoist the anchor, scrape the barnacles, unfurl the mainsail, and ride the wind. You may not see me here tomorrow. It’s possible tomorrow’s version may be different altogether—other than the wrapper. If I haven’t spoken to you in 5 years, I’ll wager you’re a different person. The physical resemblance might prove vaguely familiar, but internally you will have changed. There is plenteous truth in the trope:

“We are always in the process of becoming. Self-identity is a fusion of our prior decisions and our current thoughts.”

~ Kilroy J. Oldster: Dead Toad Scrolls


Think of the applications in your life. Your age, your health, your knowledge, your experience; all are in flux. What’s your longest running good habit? Which version of you should we take seriously? Which is the real you?

Nothing in life is static

Now, lest I wax too poetic, or else get too serious in a ditty contrived to convince you not to take yourself too seriously, let me encourage you with those words of wisdom that have come to us through the years:

This too shall pass.

~ Anonymous

I hated hearing that during a struggle. Because in the middle of one you’re consumed. It’s serious business. Sometimes you can’t see your way out or to the other side. But friend, there is a way out, and there is another side. And either way, like it or not, the quote is true, and the struggles we face turn us into different versions of ourselves. I find it helpful to remember neither good fortune nor bad lasts forever, as it says so poignantly in the Grateful Dead’s Stella Blue: 

“There’s nothing you can hold for very long.”

~ Grateful Dead: Stella Blue

Since our layover on this plane of existence is so brief, let’s not get too bogged down in the mire and minutiae of personal insults and minor snubs. Better to smile, shrug, and move on. Exemplify resilience. On the other hand, when you’re riding high in April, remember not to gloat, May is coming.

So, let’s laugh more than we cry and love more than we hate and like good boy-scouts, let’s leave things better than we found them. Do not take yourself too seriously. After all, no one is going to remember all the great things you do for yourself, nor all the high-minded opinions you espoused. They’ll remember what you did for them and how you made them feel. Take others seriously and you’ll do a lot more good, receive lots more love, and have a lot more fun.

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