How serious are you really? It’s not a common question but it is relevant. Because how we think shapes what we think about.
There is, amongst educated people, a predisposition to be serious and staid. It seems to suggest intelligence and competence, which implies the opposite is also true.
If you are being silly or heading towards levity a lot, then you must be a mental lightweight; someone who doesn’t know much about anything. Despite being the life of the party, others won’t even trust you to empty their teapot.
That’s a shame. No, actually it’s a travesty. Because life that’s focused on unsmiling gravity might cut it in the undertaker’s world but it certainly does not a happy life make.
Okay, you could argue that you don’t have to be happy to be, err, ‘happy’. But why would you when it’s far more fun to lighten up and laugh as often as you can?
Personally, I can’t laugh at myself. Like the way I try to kid myself that my pants will fit fine if I can just breathe in enough. Or the times I try to look demure, whilst calmly yet forcefully yanking at the petrol hose to get it to stretch just enough when the pump is too far away. Or, when I do the professional thing, meeting clients and handling important issues, only to discover my fly has been undone for who knows how long.
Who isn’t funny when it all comes down to it? I mean, I defy anyone to prove that they don’t look silly flossing and baring their teeth at themselves in the mirror. Face it; no matter how serious we kid ourselves into being, we remain borderline silly at the same time.
That said, those who practice the uber-polished professional look certainly can be convincing. Yet, though they wouldn’t dream of admitting it, they have flatulence in strange places, occasionally horrendous breath, and very unprofessional thoughts that some would find shocking. Being human prevents any of us from getting too high on our horse because, ultimately, we end up looking ridiculous.
That’s also why vanity looks so stupid. Quite aside from it being really ugly, vanity is seriously infantile in the extreme. Pitting self-obsession against the worth of others inevitably makes the vain incapable of thinking about bigger things. By desperately propping their wobbly ego with expensive tastes and snobbish extremism, the vain are the laughing stock of everyone who knows (though, of course vanity blinds the afflicted to that embarrassing fact).
While it’s good to have a strong sense of personal dignity, having a bloated ego is never pretty and guarantees a life stuck in the superficial. Taking yourself too seriously risks losing our ability to think more widely, and discover new possibilities (because everything has to look important, anything silly has to be omitted). Only trouble is, new ideas do seem silly until they become reality).
So somewhere in life’s comings and goings we need to be aware of our own serious set point and allow ourselves to be wonderfully imperfect – just like everyone else.
Are you too serious? Only you know that. But just as people who never “grow up” miss so much, we could too if we forget to have a giggle about ourselves. Humble honesty keeps us open and capable. While wearing a mask of somber seriousness to impress prevents us from being and enjoying the best.
So go on, accept your own ridiculousness, just as you admire your qualities. Refuse to take yourself too seriously (even when others do). Find time to laugh about the funny things you are inclined to and be thankful that a well-rounded life involves a goodly mix of both seriousness and silliness too.
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