I think that a shared laugh is the shortest distance between people.
Recently, I came across a video my daughter shot of my guy and me playing Cards Against Humanity with some friends on New Year's Eve a few years ago. We are all laughing so hard that it's impossible to watch without laughing again. I was so struck by the complete abandon with which we're laughing.
As I was watching it, I wondered where that laughter went, exactly. Doesn't it feel like we're all so much more serious now?
Mostly, I've been trying to concentrate on the things that this Pandemic Experience has given me. I feel pretty lucky. But there are definitely some losses and I'm afraid one of them is my sense of humor. My beloved is always telling me, "Your job is very heavy." And that is true. I carry the weight of some pretty terrible stories with me, even though I try to just be a conduit for healing for the people who come to me for therapy. I know it affects me, though.
But also, I think that the Pandemic (I'm just going to capitalize that every time I write it since that's the way the word appears in my brain) has made us ALL more serious. More suspicious of each other. More defended.
And also, more... self involved. We're more anxious, more likely to exhibit rejection sensitivity, more likely to read a neutral situation as threatening. I thought that was mostly a trauma response but now I think maybe it's just a response to the relentless peddling of perfection as The Goal. I find myself saying some things again and again in my practice. "You have to be perfect just to be okay and since no one is perfect, you are never okay."
Which is exactly what my therapist said to me about thirty years ago.
These days, I like to think of myself as a recovering perfectionist. I work at trying to hold myself to a standard of grace instead. (And I often fail at that, which then leads to me beating myself up over not giving myself a break --which is like the funhouse mirror version of perfectionism. My inner critic is an a**hole.)
So, how do we get our good humor back, then? I think it starts with letting ourselves be seen in all of our imperfection— in all of our quirks and eccentricities. And we laugh at ourselves a little, or a lot, because in some ways, we are loved for the very humanity we display. Maybe we’ll get bonus points if we can laugh about it.
Daily gratitude 11/365: appliances that make my life easier, hot baths, texting with Marty
Daily gratitude 12/365: our housekeeper, warm socks, computers
Daily gratitude 13/365: my parents' love for my kids, time with Jane, therapy