Years ago (1994), when I first visited the AHAM Meditation Retreat and Spiritual Training Center in Asheboro, NC a little sign caught my attention: “He who laughs at himself will never cease to be amused.” It was one of those messages that clicked immediately within me as I realized how much truth it contained. And I’m happy to admit that if I’ve been able to laugh at anything, it is myself. I have what you might refer to as a “self-deprecating” sense of humor. I often catch myself doing or saying things that truly tickle my funny bone and I will use such events in my own personal comedy routine. Sometimes people laugh with me and other times they aren’t sure how to take it. But that’s okay…I’m cool with me and telling my little “stories” keeps me real.
For example, back in 1972 as a college student, I attended a formal political event. Back then I was very involved in local and national politics and was invited to a lot of the big time events. On this particular occasion, I was dressed to the nines, head to toe. There was a great band playing but not many people out on the dance floor. I recall that I saw someone across the dance floor with whom I wanted to speak, so in my usual energetic way of walking (infamous in our family), I strode quickly across the dance floor that unbeknownst to me was VERY slippery. Well, I took one step on the dance floor and to my horror ended up sliding on my butt all the way across. I reached the other end, looking around sheepishly realizing that no one but the band saw my little “slip”. They were nice about it and didn’t draw attention to my feat of rear end gymnastics. Recovery was quick as I promptly picked myself up to walk over to the person I wanted to talk to. While initially embarrassed, when I realized no one saw me, I simply went about the remainder of the evening’s festivities never revealing to anyone what had happened.
This is one of many such incidents I’ve experienced. Each one has taught me humility and balance. And over time it has taught me to ease up on myself. It reminds me of the saying, “when you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” In this case, the lesson is that laughing at yourself arms you with a balanced sense of self and makes the harder, unexpected and perhaps more traumatic events of life easier to put in perspective. Let’s face it, life has its moments and if you can laugh at yourself you’ll be able to navigate it with greater ease, wisdom and a relaxed sense of being.
Did I tell you about the time I was teaching an aerobics class and my leotard (that connected with snaps) flipped up in my face? I got a million of ’em!