Sense of Humor
If you have been reading my blog, you have probably surmised that I use humor in my communication style. Or try to! I find that when I am talking about difficult subjects; addiction, depression and the challenges of daily living, just to name a few, it helps to keep a wrinkle in it. I have found when it comes to living life, a sense of humor is vitally important. Humor is probably the most productive communication tool we have.
Applying humor to everything helps take the pressure off. If you’re like me, you have done a lot of things in your past that you still quietly regret. That crap can haunt you like a ghost if you don’t deal with it. Rather than get overly serious and remorseful over it again and again and again, laugh at what actually happened and be grateful you survived it. That stupid thing in my past will always be that stupid thing in my past. With humor, it doesn’t need to hurt me any further. It helps me keep my perspective. Let me share with you the most important thing that I have learned about a sense of humor:
It’s only funny if it’s funny to the other person.
There are two basic types of humor, satire and sarcasm. Satire is lampooning a situation and seeing the hilariousness of human behavior. It’s good clean fun and good-natured. Sarcasm on the other hand is “dark” humor. It pokes fun at the person and not the situation. It is humor used indiscriminately. The word “sarcasm” comes from antiquity and originally meant “to tear flesh.” That’s what sarcasm does.
My mom, God rest her soul, used to lovingly call me “knot-head.” In 41 years with her, I never told her how hurtful those words were. This term of endearment was funny to her, but wasn’t funny to me and to this day still isn’t. But I even learned how to laugh at that. I am a knot-head! I have done some of the stupidest things that a man has ever done and lived to tell the tale. Maybe she was just assessing me accurately and I was just being oversensitive; who knows? As difficult as it was, this very experience is what taught me that the things people say to you or what they call you doesn’t have to have any influence on how you feel about yourself. Ha! Humor is what allows me to wear this world like a loose garment. Today, just laugh at it, whatever it is. There is something funny about everything.
James A. Francetich is a freelance writer and author. The opinions expressed are solely of the author and do not represent any community based recovery programs, private or public entities or any governmental agencies.