Fantasy Art The Big Laughter Mushroom by David S. Soriano
In life there are things you and I can control like our thoughts, our view of ourselves, how we treat others , our level of integrity and honesty, how we respond to what the world throws at us and how we feel. At the same time, there are numerous things that we cannot control like change, actions of other people and predicting our future. You get back some of your control in your life when you focus on what you can control. Trying to control the inevitable, causes a lot of stress in our lives.My father used to tell me that the best way of reducing the control of the inevitable over your life is to prepare for it. If I wanted people to respect me, I had to prepare for it by respecting myself and those around me.In our twenties, we feel like the Caterpillar road construction machine: strong, full of energy and ready to take on almost anything and flatten it.In the thirties we are more competitive and would want to dominate.In our forties, we still try to perfect the competitive game. Being serious and important people.Then the half mark, 50, strikes and the majority of us are forced to shift our mindset from Competing to Connection. Feeling the urge to connect with your spouse, children and friends at a deeper level. It dawns on us that developing close human relationships gives us a sense of personal meaning in life.From that age, loving and respectful relationship with the spouse and children combined with a tight networks of friends tend to prove more enhancing than having a lot of money. We try hard not to lose this closeness with the most important people in our lives. We learn to trust ourselves, to give ourselves permission to learn from other people in our quest to become better parents, spouses and friends.This is when learning to laugh at yourself also becomes an integral part of your daily life.No human being is perfect; perfection is for God only. Each human being is unique with strengths and weaknesses. Since we are infallible, we all make mistakes and take wrong decisions in life.One way of reducing the stress on yourself for having made a mistake, is to acknowledge the mistake made, talk about it and even laugh at it. It reduces the control of the mistake over your life and fosters resilience.
“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.’’- Elsie Maxwell.
“Be able to laugh at yourself, you’ll live longer and happier.’’- Unknown
“As long as you can laugh at yourself, you’ll never cease to be amused.’’ – Unknown
Laughing at your own mistakes reflects that you are self –aware, you are modest about your yourself and your abilities. The Behavioural Scientists consider laughing at yourself as “self-directed laughter without putting yourself down’’. It is not healthy if it is motivated by self-demeaning damages.The ability to laugh at yourself has several benefits to you:It helps you to remain humble and stimulates a positive outlook in life.When you laugh at yourself, you immunise yourself against any insults hurled at you.It helps you to deal with criticism in future.As you grow older you find that laughing at yourself more contributes to your mental wellbeing.It reflects that you have insight in your problem and self –acceptance hence reducing the stress on you.Generally, laughter releases the “feel- good hormones”- Dopamine, Serotonin, endorphins and Oxytocin from the base of the brain. These natural pain killers ease pain in the body, reduce stress and make us feel good. Studies done by the behavioural scientists have shown that the effect of these cocktail of hormones on the individual is like the combined effect of exercise, meditation and having sex at the same time.
Other benefits of healthy laughing at yourself include the presentation of the real” you” to people: with your strengths and flaws, limitations and vulnerabilities. This is essential in forging -meaningful and genuine integral relationships.It also allows the people around you to relate to you and improve themselves where they can.
Proverb 27:17 says: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
The same behavioural scientists have come up with some tips on how to learn to laugh at yourself.They include:
- Accept yourself – no one is perfect. Some things like the colour of your skin, your height cannot be changed, just live comfortably with them. You can even exploit what you cannot change like a high pitched voice and earn something from it in voiceovers or Audio books.
2.Separate yourself from your performance. Who you are has very little to do with your performance at work, home or in your community. The People with disabilities have a very good motto: Disability is not Inability. You are not defined by one mistake at work or in the community. Laughing at yourself is about laughing about one mistake you once made not laughing at who you are as a person.
3.Be humble- only humble people can accept and own the mistakes they once made. You can be humble by practising mindfulness.Sometimes you may have to lower your expectations depending on the situation you find yourself in.
4.Stopping to control the uncontrollable in your life.
5.Not being afraid to ask for help.Trying to listen more than you speak- Max Ehrmann in his prose poem, Desiderata, of the 1920s said that the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.
6.Not to take things for granted.
7. Always using the magic words: Thank You.
Many times in my life, I have used humour to point out my flaws and to acknowledge the many ways in which I am not perfect. As we find humour in the mistakes we make, we have to be mindful of others to avoid hurting them.At the same time, we have to avoid becoming our own worst critic. After all, everyone has an inner critic – the negative voice in your head telling you that you are not good enough,you don’t deserve this or that. No matter how good you are, the self- critic voice in you always shows up.
Along with learning to laugh at yourself, you need optimism and hope to keep you moving forward. If your glass is half-full then the onus is on you to fill it to overflowing.In a world full of wars, conflicts, famine, job losses and confusion and yet closely connected through the internet, we need more optimism to devote more time and energy to finding trust, companionship and community with others- more human. It all start with each individual by learning to deal with her/his negative circumstances or self-doubt.
“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.’’- Joe Namath
The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic lockdown gave us plenty of time to reflect on our lives and to laugh at the mistakes we had made along the journey of life. Let us now move into the future more confident, focused and committed not forgetting that each generation has to live fully in its own time.
Has this post inspired you to keep believing in yourself while gaining confidence in laughing at your mistakes without pulling yourself down?