STONE ELEVEN CONTINUED
Laugh: I choose laughter as the notes of my song. This temporal life is a journey to be enjoyed. I look for the comedy in situations, and I learn to laugh at my own comedy of errors.
Instruction: Make the quick choice.
In most of the everyday circumstances that come our way, we can choose to see the humor in the situation, or we can choose to see hurt and pain. Many times our egos step up to inform us that we were wronged, that we have a right to be upset, mad, hurt, or injured, and we should retaliate and lash out at the person or circumstances. When we pause to consider the situation, we might be able to see the humor in the ordeal. Perhaps a misunderstanding created the event. Maybe the other person was joking or teasing, and we took them seriously. In many of these situations, given a little time, we are able to see the silliness that evolved, and we are able to laugh at the way things were blown out of proportion. It would be nice if we could circumvent the whole episode by making a decision to handle it differently. By looking for the humor first, instead of seeing it in retrospect, we can avoid a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts.
I had a friend in college who taught me this concept by example. One day, we were in the lobby of one of the college’s dorm rooms, and we heard a couple of girls laughing. My insecurity — and my ego — kicked in, and I felt sure the girls were laughing at me. There was no rationality for my thinking, but my insecurities had determined that the girls were laughing at something about me — my appearance, my speech, my looks, or perhaps my social skills. Immediately, I felt disdain for them, because I just knew they were thinking poorly of me. I was ready to walk away as quickly as possible and write them off as mean and cruel people who I wanted nothing to do with. My friend, however, was much more secure with himself, and instead of getting upset, he approached the situation with a calmness that I admired. He smiled, turned to the girls, and asked, “Are you laughing at me?” I was surprised. I don’t recall exactly what happened after that, but the girls either said “No” and then explained what they were laughing at, or, and I think this was the case, they might have said, “Yes” and then explained why they were laughing at my friend. What I remember for sure is that my friend laughed with them. I determined that I wanted to learn to respond like my friend; to see the humor in situations that, in the past, I would have been upset about. I also decided I would learn to be able to laugh at myself. Most of the time, I succeed at being able to see the humor more quickly than I did in the past, and that has made my life more peaceful and enjoyable. Often, we take ourselves and our lives too seriously. Let’s loosen up, laugh, and love.
Today’s Assignment is to consider the possibility that laughter is a choice you make. But, why shouldn’t it be your choice? Like many things in life, you are, or should be, the captain of your ship and the one who plots your course. You can choose to face life with a smile, a light step, and a willingness to see the humor in life. For me, that’s an easy decision.
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