We are in week two of our 18-week in-depth series on getting out of survival mode based on my article 18 Steps to Living Better with Chronic Illness! Last week, I talked about step one: being flexible. Step two is developing a sense of humor. Here’s step two from my article:
“If you don’t laugh, well…you know the alternative. I make a joke of things. Makes me feel better. Makes others around me feel better too. But for times when I can’t joke, I can usually count on some friends, family and my dh to say something funny to cheer me up. Life can be hard, even if you don’t struggle with chronic issues. Making your struggle into humor is just plain uplifting. I’m not saying to make light of what you are going through, but I am saying to make light of what you are going through. Now before you ask me for the Jibberish Subtitles, let me explain. I don’t ever say that what I’m going through is easy or fun, but I do point out the funny parts of it. In that way, I’m making it lighter and lifting my spirits.“
Now in order to get practice in seeing the humor in your own struggles and trials, it often helps to see humor in something else first. My default had always been to listen to Praise and Worship music when I was down, but when I was in a deep darkness, I found it difficult to listen. The songs made me cry and, as you may have guessed, crying isn’t usually uplifting (However, see my side note below). I found myself gravitating to the comedy section of Netflix and watching clean stand up comedians on YouTube for HOURS! Find something that makes you giggle, even if it’s watching the same I Love Lucy episode twelve times!
Have you ever been so stressed out that something seemingly just a smidge funny made you laugh uncontrollably for what seemed like hours? Then afterward you felt a bit happier and much calmer? That’s what seeking out humor in your life can do for you. So…after a much-needed giggle fest, I was able to see a bit more humor in my own issues. You’d be surprised at the sense of humor life has when you’re primed to see it!
Another way is to just begin to do silly things with your friends and family. I once went to a large park with sales booths and stores. My sister and I walked around all day together just talking and laughing. One particular store had hats. Weird, odd, silly, pretty…hats. We went about the store trying them all on and taking our pictures both separately and together. It was such fun! A great release and a much-needed giggle in my stressful situation and declining health that I was facing at the time.
Yet another way to get some lighthearted humor in your life is through me! I’m a goofball by nature and I’ve been defunkifying myself for decades! I’ve created over 570 humorous sayings about life-most of which come directly from my own struggles with various health, financial and life issues. I call them JoJoisms. I’ve turned several of them into small PDFs on a particular topic and posted several of them in visual format I call Visual JoJoisms. These have been sprinkled in throughout this post.
Once you have been able to lift your spirits for a short time by finding humor others bring to the table, you are ready to find it on your own. Finding the humor hidden inside trials is something that has two parts:
1. You can never find the humor when your struggle is raw. When you first find yourself in a painful situation or when you first find out about something that adds to a difficult situation, it’s hard to find ANYTHING funny about it. But, if you give yourself a little time, you will be better able to see the humor sitting just below the surface of a frustrating situation. How long a time it takes for something to heal enough to where you can see the funny side of it, depends. Each person is different and each zinger life throws at you is different. Tread lightly at first, but invite yourself to see the humor at various times during your trials.
Side Note: There are times when you just can’t laugh and you really want to cry…need to cry. Do so! Find a sad song or movie and give yourself permission to cry. Afterward, you’ll probably be ready to find something to make you giggle.
2. The more you practice this the easier it gets. I was born a goofball. I’ve always been a goofball and I’ll probably always be a goofball. But I know everyone else has a different gift as well as a different natural approach to life’s struggles. The trick is to work with what you’ve got. The more you see the humor or blessing or gift hidden (albeit sometimes FAR beneath) the struggles, the easier it will be the next time life throws you a curve ball.