“You grow up the day you have the first real laugh—at yourself.”
— Ethel Barrymore
It’s important to cultivate a sense of humor and not take ourselves too seriously. When we can laugh at the things we’ve done, said, or reacted to, we will lighten up, and breathe joy and celebration into our life. With this type of good energy, we’re more likely to attract other people and partners who share the same positive point of view. Good-natured joking is extremely gratifying and healthy for all concerned, and reminds us of the fact that none of us are perfect, and so, find the humor in our mistakes.
One way to keep the joy flowing is to focus our attention on our blessings, and spend more time talking about solutions instead of problems. It’s definitely beneficial to talk things out, process our feelings, and express whatever is appropriate. However, continuing to rehash problems doesn’t solve them, and merely exacerbates most situations. When we ruminate on what isn’t working, it depletes our needed energy, makes us miserable, and oftentimes we project our frustration onto other people.
Over time, we can also run the risk of getting physically ill, as prolonged stressful thinking causes havoc in the body. Conversely, laughter can cure many of the things that ail us—not to mention the fact that it’s so much fun to experience. The mind-body connection plays a powerful role in our level of overall health, so we don’t want to take that lightly. If you’re not aware of this connection, you may not see that treating your mind with joyful thoughts is helping your physical self as well.
For example, many years ago I had a sudden, severe bout with back spasms. I wasn’t able to walk without extreme pain and didn’t know what was happening. During this time, I found out about a doctor in New York named Dr. John Sarno who’d written a book called Healing Back Pain. It addresses the mind-body connection, a concept that helped me tremendously over the many months I was recovering from this ordeal. (I would recommend this work whether you suffer from back pain or not.)
After reading Dr. Sarno’s book and learning everything I could about the topic, has taught me so much about how our thinking patterns and ways of dealing with stress, can drastically affect the body. Thankfully, I haven’t had a recurrence, but I do have a new appreciation for looking at the humorous, upbeat side of life.
Certainly, not everything is funny, and many matters need serious attention; however, it’s definitely more productive to look at things in a lighthearted way, than in a pessimistic, destructive manner.
Write down ways in which you can laugh at yourself from a position of love and good-natured fun. How do you feel when you do so?