Noodle* on this…
Life is too important to be taken seriously. ~ Oscar Wilde
Synonyms for important include heavy, momentous, crucial, critical and urgent, just to list a few. So, shouldn’t we take life seriously? It is not something to laugh at. It is profound. But, according to Oscar Wilde, life is important and yet it should not be taken seriously! What was he saying?
This statement is not necessarily a paradox as many scholars would have us believe. Rather, Mr. Wilde suggests the importance of comparison and contrast. You remember compare and contrast exercises from school don’t you? At some time during your educational life, you wrote a required essay that compared and contrasted two things, such as apples and oranges. It is a basic exercise in developing critical thinking skills, which in turn, help us cope with life and solve problems.
How can we appreciate the seriousness of life, if we cannot appreciate the humor, joy, and beauty of it? Humor, laughter, joy and delight help us cope with the “hard stuff” of life. They help us stay sane in the midst of conflict and chaos. They help us put things in perspective. According to psychologist Gina Bancera, Ph.D,* “humor addresses the same issues as fear, not to dismiss them but to strengthen our ability to confront them and then laugh them away.… Laughter is an act of courage.”
Laugh at Life – An Example
Recently, I had what can best be described as a “life and death” discussion with my dear friend Emily. For hours afterwards, I replayed the discussion in my head and worried about it. Then, as I was getting ready for bed, I turned on some classical music as I do most nights. That night, it was a full orchestral version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, one of my favorite pieces. Rather than being played by a string quartet or a chamber orchestra as is traditional, it was played by the full London Orchestra, including tubas and trumpets. The first thing I noticed about this version was that the tubas were playing the bassline of the piece. I was delighted to hear them oompahing throughout the piece and I laughed as I listened to the music.
The laughter reduced my stress and helped me shift my thoughts to all the times, Emily and I had laughed together, sometimes over the most ridiculous things. I am still sad and I continue to wonder what life will be like without Emily. But the sadness is eased by the lovely, happy memories of the times we spent together.
Basically, I compared and contrasted Emily’s “life and death” news with her joy and laughter. I know now that no matter what happens, she will always live in my heart and when I think of here I will laugh, or at the very least, smile.
So when life is getting you down, don’t wallow in it, do the courageous thing. Laugh at it!
Your Noodle Challenge
Think about a difficult situation that is making your miserable or angry. Find one thing in it that you can laugh about. now, gather your courage and laugh about it! Share your experience with us in the Comment section below
Riddle Me This…
Question: Why don’t dogs make good dancers?
Answer: Because they have two left feet.
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brain-storm.
*Baarreca, Gina, “Laughing at the Scary Stuff: Humor and Fear,” Psychology Today, April 1, 2013, retrieved July 21, 2017
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