Learn To Laugh At Yourself

13 08 2013

LightenUpThe best advice I ever received came from an eighty-four year old spitfire named Helen Easterly.  I met her in the summer of 1987.  We worked together amongst the Cree people of Northern Ontario.

Grandma Easterly—as she became known to me after she “adopted” me—had terminal cancer at the time.  Yet, she had more energy than gals sixty years her junior as she worked amongst the Cree children.  She had lived an adventurous life working all over the world as a missionary to kids.  She was vibrant, humorous and kinetic as she stared death in the face.

Some months later, I was about to get married.  Grandma Easterly sent Kath and I a very nice card with this advice:

“Don’t take yourselves too seriously.  Learn to laugh at yourselves.”

I have my share of faults and idiosyncrasies, just like you.  One of them is I tend to be way too serious.  About everything.  (Kath doesn’t have this problem.) Those who know me well are no doubt chuckling, You’re just now figuring that out?

Easy now.  Some of us are slow.

And thick.

So I thought I’d pass on a few tips to help my friends who slip on the same banana peel:

  • Listen to jazz.  Really.  Leonard Bernstein once said, “Jazz is real play.”  When I listen to jazz, I chill out. Always. Music affects the mood more than you can imagine.
  • Realize that you alone can’t fix the world.  You’re one in about seven billion inhabitants on this planet.  Do what you can where you can and then let it be.  If everybody just did a little in their own orbits, things would be a lot better in the world.
  • Exercise.  Free and legal high.  Endorphins.  You will feel better.  Trust me on this.
  • Watch films with Robin Williams or Bill Murray in them.  For tougher cases, break out the Three Stooges.
  • Read Dilbert.  Just do it.
  • Smile.  It’s proven that deliberately smiling makes you feel better, not just those who look at your mug.

Now lighten up!

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