Life is a pretty serious business. Birth, death, love, children, work, health—none of these things are without depth or meaning. Life is risky and sometimes the cards aren’t dealt in our favor. Change and loss are real and nothing to laugh about. But some people manage to deal with even the difficult blows in life with a sense of humor and an attitude of equanimity, at least part of the time. It is easy, and usually necessary, to take life seriously, but taking life too seriously can make things more painful than they must be.
The opposite of taking life seriously is to take whatever life throws at us and make it ours. In most situations, there is an element of the absurd, things that can be seen in the light of the ridiculous sublime, and there are always stories to tell embedded in every life event. Humor is probably the best tool we human beings can use balance out the seriousness of life. Some women have a natural talent for finding the amusing in the belly of the serious. They can describe embarrassing events and see the funny things that occur in situations gone wrong.
Apart from humor and the sense of the absurdity of much of life, being philosophical or taking a spiritual perspective on life can help us stay grounded and have some peace in the wake of a disappointment or even following tragedy. Most often, these tools aren’t even available to us until after a painful situation is over and the initial shock has subsided. Often, we find ourselves grieving some loss or venting our disappointments and this is necessary before we can see things in a different light.
Under less drastic circumstances, for example, dealing with the annoyances of daily life, it is possible to navigate many of these experiences with humor from the beginning. By taking the less serious parts of life less seriously, we distinguish between that which is worth being upset about and that which is simply fodder for our amusement over how random and unexpected life’s twists and turns are in our lives. Let’s discuss what it means to take life less seriously.
- Are you a person who takes life very seriously or who takes things with a lighter touch?
- Share one or more experiences in which you were able to move from frustration and disappointment into a more balanced or humorous perspective.
- Do you find that you have a natural or developed sense of humor about most things that happen in life? Where did you get your sense of humor? Were there friends or relatives who modeled this for you?
- Do you have any meaningful philosophical, religious or spiritual beliefs that help you keep life in perspective and reduce your stress over things that are out of your control?
- What suggestions do you have about movies, books, speakers or techniques you have found that have helped you take life less seriously?