Laughter is the best medicine. You need to be able to laugh at yourself. Lighten up and laugh a bit. Live, Laugh, Love. If I didn’t laugh I would cry.
All those sound like great sound bites. All of those seem harmless, even to the point of being a life mantra.
But why do we laugh?
Almost all laughter is in reaction to something uncomfortable or painful. And even though laughter may release the tension of an uncomfortable situation maybe we should look at the root of the problem instead of just laughing about it. Just think of these situations…
Someone trips and falls… (most people will laugh first and ask if they are okay afterwards)
Blonde jokes… (or any joke for that matter… makes fun of someone at their expense)
Little kid throws a ball and accidentally hits a man in the groin… (laughter, even though everyone knows how much it hurts)
ANY man get hurt/hit in the groin… (always seems to prompt laughter)
ANY “home video”… (especially the ones on that horrendous show “Funniest Home Videos” where they pay people to show their most embarrassing home videos for other’s amusement)
I could go on and on and I’m sure you could too.
What do all these have in common? Laughter at someone else’s expense.
When we make fun of, laugh at, find humor in, someone else’s tragedy, embarrassment, mistakes, et al, what we are really doing is degrading the person.
What does it say about us as humans when we laugh at someone first (and don’t believe for a moment that they are laughing WITH you, there is no such thing unless two people are laughing together AT someone) and then worry about if they are okay? Where is our empathy? Where is our compassion? Where is our concern?
Why do we take pleasure and laugh at tragedy? And happily so when it’s someone else’s?
I don’t laugh much. Some have told me I have no sense of humor. I do, actually. I just don’t find it funny to laugh at someone else’s low moments. I find it tragic and sad that we readily laugh at humanity’s failings without taking the time to help our fellow man. TV, movies, comedy, et al, make lots and lots of money at the expense of our humanity, our empathy, our tragedy. And we, as humans, accept that. We laugh and think to ourselves “I’m so glad that wasn’t me!”
I don’t think humanity will ever get over laughing at each other. It’s a sad thought that we would rather laugh and make fun of others as long as it’s not US. Because, whether we want to believe it or not, laughter isn’t the best medicine. Happiness, contentment, love, compassion, empathy IS. Knowing we are safe making mistakes without ridicule. Knowing that someone isn’t going to laugh at our tragedies makes us feel okay in making those mistakes in life. Knowing that our embarrassing moments won’t be captured for all to see and be used at our expense for other’s humor allows us to venture into unknown territory in life and know that failing is okay because others will be there to help, not laugh.
Laughing at others allows us complacency to take it to the next step. It allows the empathetic and compassionate nature to dissolve and the cruel mocking nature to take over. It keeps the best parts of our emotions from coming through and allows the degrading, controlling nature to prevail. When we laugh at someone else’s failures we keep them from trying again for fear of being laughed at again. It’s our passive aggressive way of controlling people.
Bullies know this and use it. They know that laughing at someone’s tragedy keeps them down, keeps them complacent, keeps them under control. They know that humiliation is a form of torture. And they know it works. They know it hurts. And they take pleasure in it. Which, in turn, means we are all bullies in some way when we laugh at our fellow humans. We take pleasure in their pain. We don’t like it when it happens to us but we don’t seem to remember that when we do it to someone else. We forget what it feels like to be on the other side, or worse, ignore the fact that if it were US being mocked, laughed at, bullied, we wouldn’t find it funny at all.
And that’s the truth behind laughter. And it’s wrong.
The next time you laugh at someone stop and think about WHY you are laughing. Does it make you feel better that YOU were not the one to be laughed at? Does it make you feel better about yourself that you weren’t the one making the mistake? Do you feel superior because it was THEM? Do you think they deserved said tragedy and therefore deserved to be laughed at and mocked? Do you feel better when you degrade another human being?
I truly believe when the world takes that turn from celebrating tragedy to being more understanding, tolerant, compassionate, empathetic, loving, that laughter will die. But happiness will thrive.
It is better to smile at someone’s success than laugh at someone’s tragedy. Even your own.