It really isn’t that funny….

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.

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About ynnarie

Lynn Salisbury grew up in the rural town of McGrath, Minnesota. After graduating from McGregor High School in the mid 1980’s, she moved to the Twin Cities. Lynn spent her 20’s and 30’s working like the average person, never imagining the calling that awaited her. But those two decades of working, learning, growing, led to the day a friend challenged Lynn to write. Lynn met that challenge and never looked back. Now she draws from her life’s experiences and creative mind to weave stories. Stories about different worlds, different lives, different perspectives. If you ask her about her life, Lynn will tell you it’s been rather simple and sometimes boring. But if you dig a little deeper you will find that it’s been a bit more exciting than that. Lynn has done everything from designing clothes ranging from prom and wedding dresses to drag queen attire and everything in-between, became a registered, ordained Pagan minister in the state of Minnesota, to creating a group, on a social media site, of fans devoted to her favorite football team that has more members than most medium sized towns. Lynn still lives in the Twin Cities area, enjoying the changing seasons, spending time with family, working, and writing. She will admit she hasn’t found her genre niche yet, and she secretly hopes she never does, leaving the possibilities wide open for any type of story that formulates in her head, mixed with a bit of muse inspiration, to spill out into the written word. She writes what she would want to read, having taken to heart a piece of advice she once heard. And she feels blessed and grateful for the chance to share her stories with the world. As the mother of three amazing, beautiful and strong daughters, Lynn knows that even when the world seems the darkest, they are her light. And she never forgets what an honor and privilege it is to be their mother. “If you haven’t had your ‘a-ha’ moment today, you haven’t been paying attention.” – Lynn Salisbury
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