Laughter is a shock absorber. It can create a sense of flex and bounce in a harsh and unrelenting world.
When things feel heavy it can feel inappropriate to laugh. But as I learned from my six years working as an undertaker, there is something beautiful about the social glue of laughter for people in the most painful situations. It disarms, it bonds, and it allows us to better access all our feelings.
It doesn’t fix anything, but it gives us something. Something powerful and invaluable.
When Things Get Seriously Heavy
The ability to laugh at/with ourselves can help us immeasurably. To hold our endeavours and any perfectionist tendencies lightly. Not to ridicule or beat ourselves up, but to take ourselves less seriously.
Humour TRULY is one of our core senses.
Like many introverted and sensitive souls, I love diving into deep conversations. But I also feel seriousness weighing heavy at times. Sometimes I just need to let go of any pressure I feel to be serious, insightful, clever, or right, and just enjoy being silly. Having a laugh. Playing.
Laughter is an Adhesive
There’s something about laughter that helps to release the pressure. It helps solidify the story. And it’s a glue that bonds us to one another.
If we can learn to laugh at ourselves, we might give someone else (who needs it), permission to do the same.
I don’t really like being out of my comfort zone.
As a coach, I’m probably not supposed to say that.
Of course, it’s true that when we extend the edges of our comfort/capacity zones, our confidence and competence grows. But still, I struggle with being outside of mine.
One of the most powerful comfort zones we can choose to expand is our comfort with laughter, especially when it comes to taking ourselves less seriously.
When we increase our capacity to laugh at/with ourselves, we can massively extend our comfort with perceived risks, especially when those risks are social (“i.e. I’m going to look like a fool”).
If we spend all our time in a state of earnestness and seriousness, we can find ourselves operating within a constricting spirit of alertness and fear. Fear of getting things wrong. Fear of looking stupid. Or fear of not being the deep or creative one (as highly sensitive people are often encouraged).
I feel more and more drawn towards bringing silliness into the world of sensitivity. And embracing my failures. Not on some road to success. But just as they are.
I’m currently in Finland with my friends Tuula and Timo. We are staying in a mountain village (Äkäslompolo) in Lapland. Before last Wednesday I had never put on a pair of skis. But as much as I didn’t want to, I realised that the only thing stopping me was a fear of looking stupid (I don’t do well on slippery things). I don’t really like not being able to do things in front of other people.
Owning Our Silliness
I knew that deep down I wanted to give it a go and that I would regret it if I left without trying. So I swallowed my pride and Timo took me out to show me the slopes.
It’s not that I particularly want to learn how to ski. I mean, I would love to magically be able to do it, but it’s not something I’m passionate about pursuing. But I did feel compelled to face a few fears and give it a go. I know that I enjoy the feeling I get after I do things that scare me.
Part of making it easier was having a good laugh about it. I spent a LOT of time on my back looking up at the sky. My body ached like hell the next day. But it felt good to laugh at myself, alongside others, and to enjoy doing something I found hard, without taking myself seriously.
I shared a little video on Instagram (it encapsulates my day perfectly) if you want to have a chuckle with (at) me, I don’t mind! Watch it on Instagram.
Over to You
What do you do when it comes to gently laugh with yourself? I’d love to hear in the comments below or send me a message! And if it’s something you struggle with, I’d love to help as I truly do believe it’s one of the most (if not THE most) important parts of deep self-care.