Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

June 12, 2011

Life is more fun when we don’t take ourselves too seriously

Some people take themselves too seriously. They talk incessantly, as though everybody is dying to hear what they have to say. They are totally focused on themselves. They have one theme: me, me, me, and me.

            Sometimes, in a sober moment, I realize that I am one of those people. I can easily slip into self-centeredness. When I realize that I have become absorbed with myself, it helps to remember that I am not the center of the universe. Then I make a conscious effort to stop taking myself so seriously, try to enjoy other people and become a better listener.  Soon life is more fun.  

To realize that the world does not revolve around you does not diminish you. You are still a person of worth. You are unique, in some ways an unrepeatable miracle of God. You have value to at least a few people and there are things you alone can do to make the world a better place.  

            It might help to have a good laugh about your uniqueness. Your friends are probably glad there is no one else like you.  They would not enjoy having to put up with two of you. Learning to laugh at yourself will help you be more fun to live with. Nobody enjoys being around someone who struts like a peacock. But people feel comfortable in the presence of someone with a healthy sense of humor.                         The humorless life is filled with tension, friction, anxiety, and restlessness. Those who live with such people are thirsty for laughter. They are always looking for an oasis – a caring, smiling person who is genuinely interested in other people, someone who can listen quietly.  

The challenge is to simply enjoy being the person God made you. Throw away visions of grandeur and accept the truth about yourself. Be thankful for what you have and stop wishing you had the stuff, and the gifts, that other people have.

Rejoice that though you are not the smartest kid on the block, you are smarter than a rock. When you do something dumb, laugh at yourself. Be satisfied with the brains you have. There is a good chance you have not worn them out yet. Use what you have instead of wishing you had more.

Take a good look in the mirror. If that does not give you a good laugh, you may be brain-dead. So what if you are not handsome or beautiful; just be thankful you don’t look any worse. Decide to enjoy the way you look. After all, what you see is all you’ve got, so enjoy it. You don’t have the money to get another face – and it might turn out to look worse than the one you are wearing now.

Stop cold getting uptight about the behavior of other people. You have a full-time job trying to control your own behavior. Laugh when someone else makes a stupid mistake. And remember it has not been two days since you made a blunder yourself. Laugh with people, not at them. It can be good therapy for the soul.

As for mistakes, be real. If you don’t think you make at least one a week, then you had better see your doctor. You may be truly sick. Learn to do more than giggle and smile; throw your head back and enjoy a belly laugh now and then. It will do you good.

My mentor and friend Ken Callahan likes to talk about the origin of “Rule 63.” In the early days of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), Bill and Bob met with a hundred recovering alcoholics to develop a charter for the organization. Eagerly, almost addictively, the group formulated rule after rule until they had 62 rules and regulations.

Suddenly they realized what they had done. "Their compulsiveness and addictiveness had run rampant in yet another way," Ken said. So, with good humor amid healthy laughter, they created Rule 63: "We will not take ourselves too seriously." Wisely they scrapped the other rules and began the movement without the excess baggage of all those rules. The great success of AA teaches us how helpful “Rule 63” can be in all our lives.

If you are "the Boss" where you work, Rule 63 will help you become a better leader. People will enjoy you more. However, if you constantly have to remind everyone that you are "the Boss," you are in real trouble and no doubt too tense for your own good.

Observe the strings on a guitar or violin. They must be tightened in order to play well, but they will break if they remain tight all the time. Loosen up, be a real person, laugh a little, and lead by example.

There is wonderful freedom in not taking yourself too seriously. Hard work becomes drudgery unless it is mixed with humor. But when the balance is right, life is enjoyable and other people delight in being around "fun" people. Even if they don’t, you will enjoy your own life a lot more. + + +