Learn to laugh at yourself – it’s a sign of maturity!
I found a fun quote from Ethel Barrymore, a great-great aunt of Drew Barrymore. She was an actor from 1895 to 1957 and part of a family who made their life on the stage. She said,
“You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.”
~ Ethel Barrymore
When did you first learn to laugh at yourself?
I’m guessing that learning to laugh at yourself isn’t a one-time event. I think we grow into the ability.
Eventually, we all learn that nobody is really looking at us, even if we think they are. And that we’re not all that important, and the actions we take (on the whole) may or may not be wise and won’t usually make everyone happy or unhappy.
None of us are that important or famous that we shouldn’t be able to see our faults or mistakes and laugh along with others. No one is perfect. Not even us!
What makes you most often laugh about yourself?
I laugh at my own “boring-ness”. I find it easy to put children to sleep (especially the grandboy) because I’m not very exciting. And I laugh when people notice how often I say, “I’m sorry”. It’s a Canadian thing.
Have you ever seen Ethel Barrymore? Here’s a compilation of some of her stage/movie roles – she began acting at 14 after her mother died of tuberculosis and her career spanned 60 years. Her parents were actors, and her brothers were John and Lionel Barrymore. Today her family is represented by Drew Barrymore.
Below you can watch a video with Ethel Barrymore in 1952 on “What’s My Line?” a TV show that had guests guessing the identity and profession of individuals. I cued the video to begin when she came on the episode at minute 16:45, but you might find it fun to watch the whole episode! If you can’t see the YouTube video below, click HERE to go directly to YouTube.
It’s not as though we won’t experience pain just because we’re optimistic people… every person on this planet will suffer in some way, at some time. This hurt that could be physical, mental or spiritual will afflict all of us.
It’s not going to be possible to be cheery all the time. How can an optimistic person deal with these afflictions that cause an ache?
You can treat pain with the love of God.
C.S. Lewis’ book, “The Problem of Pain“, explores the question, “If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?”. I’ve underlined a great number of phrases as I’ve read the book, and the quote below is especially poignant for me:
“When pain is to be born,
a little courage
helps more than much knowledge,
a little human sympathy
more than much courage,
and the least tincture of the love of God
more than all.”
So, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis — just a little bit of the Love of God when dealing with pain is more effective than anything else.
Where do you go to feel the Love of God?
I can feel God’s love in many ways – including
reading His Word,
pondering and praying in solitude,
when I listen to praise and worship music,
hearing the Word from the altar at church,
when receiving communion – the body and blood of Jesus and hearing the absolution,
when I pray with Rob, and with friends,
and when I honestly force myself to list all the blessings God has provided for me. Being thankful helps me feel God’s Love.
How about you – where do you feel the Love of God?
Plant kindness. What grows from being kind to others is beautiful and nourishing.
Kind or Critical?
In case you were wondering, criticism is not kind. Criticism is like a poisonous weed.
I’m imagining criticism – that deliberate judgment of others – is like hogweed. Hogweed’s sap burns and scars.
If you try and mow or weed-whack a hogweed plant, it’ll just send up new growth. Isn’t that exactly like being judgmental? Start criticizing one action or aspect of a person’s character, and you’ll quickly find other points to criticize… And hogweed might appear to be Queen Anne’s Lace or Angelica, just like criticism can be disguised as helpful advice, but it’s not. Get involved in criticism and it’ll burn. And scar. You.
Plant a Garden of Kindness
Now, imagine a garden filled with beautiful flowers, fruit, and vegetables. It’s nourishing for the soul and body.
That’s just like kindness – when we watch others be kind, isn’t it a joy to behold? When we, ourselves, are beneficiaries of a kindness, isn’t it nourishing to every part of our life? And, when we are the authors of an act of kindness, isn’t it something we rejoice over with the other person?
Make this a day to sow seeds of kindness.
(Toss those critical thoughts/words on the burn pile!)