You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself. Ethel Barrymore
One of the toughest tests of life is ironically handling a test set by ourselves; our ability to laugh at ourselves. All of us enjoy the spectacle of a person being ribbed or the making a fool of himself/ herself or someone unwittingly becoming the butt of jokes but if we are that person at the receiving end, do we have it in us to take the joke with a smile and a foolish grin at best. Nothing embarrasses us as much as slipping on a banana peel; the awkwardness hurts, the physical pain hurts and the unwitting tittering of onlooker’s sears us the most. Usually we get up dust ourselves and avoid any form of any eye contact and sulk away. However if we take umbrage, then most times when we are embarrassed we attempt to stifle our anger but let our resentment at our tormentors remain unabated and we seek recourse in loud reprimands, retorts or taunts. However we usually fail in our attempts to redeem the situation and instead get sucked in the quick sand of spats.
On the other hand with experience and wisdom of hind sight, when we temper ourselves to see the funny side of our own vulnerability, we join in the hearty laughter and bohemia even if we are at the receiving end of the joke. The ability to laugh at ourselves is not something that we are inborn with but something one cultivates. Human beings have a natural ego, which is what gets triggered if we see ourselves as the butt of the jokes. Obviously it also triggers other emotions like anger, resentment, frustration etc. and the cumulative effect of all these is our propensity to run amuck against our tormentors. This is a futile exercise partly because we are very often outnumbered but mainly because we have lost control of ourselves and whatever our reactions the reality remains unchanged. When we have experienced this painful reality, it dawns on us that since we can’t fight them we might as well join them. Once we reconcile to this reality, we enjoy the joke as much as the others and often the matter is settled in laughter and gaiety.
When we are able to laugh at ourselves we grow up simply because we allow others the luxury of a hearty laugh by taking a dig at our own imperfections. In that moment we also hone our funny bone, learn to tickle ourselves and allow others to get tickled because of us. We grow more when we reconcile to the fact that our imperfections may be a laughing matter for others and in our magnanimity allow them that luxury. We really peak when we are able to control our irritation, annoyance and negative feelings and channelize the energies towards ourselves in a positive way. Finally, in being able to laugh at ourselves, we reach the pinnacle of self growth when we have a large set of people lapping up our dose of humor most of it self depreciating but in reality holding a mirror to our audience without them realizing it.
Remember: A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life. William Arthur Ward
- Visit a fair where there is a stall that has the mirrors that distort your image. Have loads of fun seeing yourself in the most unusual and ungainly manner. Some of those images may remain etched in your memory simply because you can’t imagine yourself in that distorted image.
- Enthusiastically participate in a fancy fete/ outlandish carnival dress competition/ a theme party/ dress up for a Halloween party. Alternatively experiment with clothes you have never ever tried and wear it to a party or gathering ( ensure the clothes are appropriate to the occasion although the style may be something u have never tried on before.)
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