If you are reading this, chances are you could swear you have the worst problems in the world unlike everyone else across the globe. Let’s assume this is true, and your problems are borderline extreme- life is basically playing a game of Russian roulette and you just don’t know when the fatal blow aka breaking point will hit. Well, I’m not that guy selling the miraculous solve-it-all snake oil but I’ve got a handy alleviating work-around much better than worrying and avoiding problems. It is this: don’t take life too seriously, learn how to laugh at yourself!

If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you’re old. — Edgar Watson Howe

Now, watch this rib-cracking short video clip from Kevin Hart’s Laugh At My Pain(2011):

Bet you laughed watching that! Under two minutes, Kevin Hart delivered a breathtaking spin on a major insecurity that plagues a lot of men- busting real quick(lack of sexual stamina). He netted $7.7 million dollars in one night sharing his personal struggles in humouring light. Have you been following stand-up comedy lately? You probably might have realized a transition from one-line punches to story-based routines that centre around the comedian’s insecurities and struggles.

Is your internal critic telling you it’s all made up?. Fine, but if they have made you laugh about the worst of things that could happen to them, you can do the same to your worst of problems.

“But I am not a comedian, and my sense of humour is dross” you might be thinking out loud. Truth is laughing at yourself is a skill you can develop. However, to do this you there must be a critical paradigm shift in how you view your problems and the world at large.

Learn To Put Your Problems In Perspective

“If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart”.

Socrates

While you might want to bask in the somewhat unenvious glory of having the worst of problems, in the grand schemes of things, your problems are not as worse than the starving kid in Sudan nor a grieving Menzgold investor. Life is not perfect. It wasn’t, obviously in the time of Socrates per this quote and it won’t be 2000 years from now when AI takes over the world. It never will be.

Starving kid in Sudan
The starving kid in Sudan. Photo Credit: Time 100 Most Influential Photos

Everyone around the globe is having problems and the only reason you are stuck in your emotionally poisoned self-talk is that you pit your life against the creme-de-creme of people’s lives-which, to be honest, looks devoid of pain and struggle. This disconnects you from reality. If people honestly came clean with their struggles, you will be shocked you might be content with yours.

“But DrC, how does me accepting people have problems just like me help solve my problems?” you might be asking. I will be honest: it doesn’t. It won’t bring back the money you lost in that investment. It won’t bring back dead loved ones. Heck, it won’t change a cheating partner.

But if there is one thing understanding this concept of putting your problems in perspective will do, it’s this: it will shift the spectacle through which you see your problems and empower you with positivity because if everyone around you is dealing with their problems—even those that are worse than yours—then you certainly can too. This should be your reality. Not the emotionally charged bias of believing people have it better than you.

Why Laughing at Yourself Is Incredibly Powerful

Lady laughing so hard
Instagram photo: @obaaelorm

Laughter they say is cheap medicine. It is one of life’s best gifts. Ever laughed so hard you but for a moment forgot all your worries? Right there is the power of laughter and humour- it makes this complicated and despairing life much more tolerable.

A True Life Story

For seven years and nine days, Captain Jerry Coffee was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In his own words, the only reason he and other American prisoners survived the harrowing experience of being tortured alive was their ability to find solace in laughter. It kept them sane and kept them well alive for that long till rescue came!

Laughter sets the spirit free through even the most tragic circumstances. It helps us shake our heads clear, get our feet back under us and restore our sense of balance. Humor is integral to our peace of mind and our ability to go beyond survival.

Captain Jerry coffee

Laughter and humour is key to maintaining sanity and longevity. If it kept a POW alive for 7 long years, it could make a difference in your life. Jerry Coffee found a way- humour in his plight.

DID YOU KNOW?

Laughter is linked to reducing stress and boosting our immune system.

Why obsess over your mistakes? Laugh at it

To be able to find humour in our plight is a sign of mental toughness and resilience. That isn’t to say people who cry are weak. A good cry is perfectly healthy and okay. Balance is key.

We all are prone to making mistakes in life. We sometimes say and do the dumbest things which on reflection makes us want to delete ourselves from the Earth’s surface. However, the joy to it all is that- it is only human to make mistakes. No one is perfect. There is no point in beating yourself up for being human.

When you make mistakes or go through pain, you have two options: cry and bitch over your imperfections and how life wants to screw you up so bad or find humour in those particular situations.

People who find humour in bad situations refuse to dwell on the negativity. They look back and chuckle. In doing so, they acknowledge, accept and celebrate their humanity. They are much happier and radiate positivity! Interestingly, there is research to back this.

In the first-ever study of its kind, researchers Ursula Beermann of the University of California, Berkeley, and Willibald Ruch of the University of Zurich studied 70 psychology students to gauge their ability to laugh at themselves. The findings support what has long been believed: that being able to laugh at oneself is not only a distinct trait, but is also linked with having an upbeat personality and good mood and may be the foundation for a good sense of humour.

Read: First Experimental Investigation Of Laughing At One Self

Want to develop a good sense of humour? Start by learning how to laugh at yourself.

I Will Learn To Laugh At MySelf

Several months ago, while doing my Obs and Gynae rotation, I had a client who came with complaints of vaginal discharge. While removing the speculum I used for the examination, I mistakenly clipped her vaginal wall. She let out one of the loudest screams ever. Fellas, I nearly shit my pants. Few minutes after she left, I was so down. Beating myself over such a rookie mistake. Then, a beam of laughter spread across my face. “Boy! You have a story to tell!”

Today, for the 35th time, I am glad to say I am the first man to bite a woman in her…😺meeooww! Beat that!

You might not bag $7.7million in one night, but you sure will develop a powerful weapon to make life much tolerable. Life is full of ups and downs. Learn how to not take life or yourself too seriously. Laugh at the absurdity of it all. Learn how to laugh at yourself. As the great Charlie Chaplin said:

Charlie Chaplin, learn to laugh at yourself

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