I recently watched a movie about a news anchor who shot herself on live television. It made me think of the times I took myself too seriously. There are some real dangers in not being able to laugh at yourself or your circumstances. They range from the poignant to the life-saving. Here are some observations that came to mind:
1) You risk spiraling out of control.
2) You start seeing yourself as a victim.
3) You begin to alienate others.
4) You become isolated and depressed.
5) You generate a negative view toward those around you.
6) You start having an ungrateful attitude.
7) You become less resilient and are thin-skinned.
8) You are angry all of the time.
9) You become increasingly volatile and agitated.
10) Taking yourself too seriously can be exhausting.
In the film I saw the other night, I recognized times in my life when I could relate to her struggle. I had to wonder if having had the presence of mind to laugh at myself more often I might have avoided doing and saying some very self-destructive things in the past. Getting outside of your head gives us the opportunity to be objective and to hit the pause button on our impulses. Stepping back for a moment and observing ourselves like if we were a third party will give us clarity during those difficult times.
This is not to say that there will be times when laughter is not the best medicine. With that being said, I would argue that 80% of the time we are freaking out over something petty and insignificant in the long run. I do not live in a war-torn part of the world. I am not in the grips of poverty and starvation. I have never done without clothing or food. I have wondered where I would spend the night, but I have always had some sort of a roof over my head. Looking back on the dark days, I can see how short-sided I was. How many of those who made the ultimate choice to end it all might be saying the same thing now?