Do you laugh at yourself? Or, do you take yourself too seriously? Laughter can be THE best medicine. A good sense of humor can strengthen your relationship with yourself and others.
If you’ve ever been to therapy, you know some sessions are hard. Other sessions not so much; perhaps less heavy, less intense. Let me share a story with you of how one couple turned a difficult session into a breakthrough with humor.
I had been seeing this couple for a few months. They had lots of conflict and worked hard on their relationship. During our session, I shared a thought of mine. Suddenly, I noticed a smirk on the one partner’s face. I looked at him and said, “I see you smirking! What are you thinking right now?”
Then, he just started laughing. He repeated the thought I had just shared with them, verbatim, and sarcastically called it “therapy gold, a real master’s level summary.” When he reflected my statement back to me, I realized how funny it was, as did his spouse. I kid you not when I share that all three of us – him, his spouse, and me – broke out into hysterical laughter.
It was the kind of laughter that brings tears to your eyes. The kind of laughter where you have a hard time regaining your composure. It took all of us a while to get back to business, and we laughed about it for multiple sessions. But, it reminded us of the power of humor and how it can transform a difficult moment, conversation or conflict into a different kind of experience.
Therapy Isn’t Always Hard
There are two reasons why I’m telling you this story.
- Humor strengthens your relationship with anyone, including during therapy. What an amazing gift, when you have that kind of rapport and trust with your therapist – so much so that you can lightly poke fun at them; everyone can laugh about it and all parties have a good time. For me, humor is symbolic of the quality of our relationship.
- Therapy isn’t always intense or hard. Depending on the session, what we’re talking about, and the level of humor you practice in your life, there can be funny moments. I have experienced intense humor and hard laughter in my office. Sometimes clients are poking fun at their own idiosyncrasies; sometimes they are poking fun at me.
Stories like this also remind me of the role of humor in my own marriage. My husband and I have the ability to laugh at ourselves. And, that’s really how humor starts. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then you’re most likely too hard on yourself. Lack of humor robs you of the playfulness that life has to offer. You’ll miss out on how humor transforms and strengthens your relationship. Because laughter is like a relief of pressure in an already pressured world.
How Humor Strengthens Your Relationship
When’s the last time you laughed? (I’m talking about doubled-over, cheeks-hurting, tears-popping-out-your-eyes laughter.) Humor not only strengthens your relationship, it’s just plain good for you! Here are six (somewhat unexpected) health benefits of laughter:
- It burns calories! Laughter is actually like exercise.
- It strengthens your core. Laughter literally works your midsection.
- It increases your heart rate, which increases circulation in your body.
- It decreases stress. When you decrease stress, you increase your immune system.
- It can lower blood sugar. Lower blood sugar boosts your mood.
- It improves your quality of life. Laughter truly helps you see the world differently.
Love. Live. Laughter.
So, I ask again – Do you laugh at yourself?
I promise that humor strengthens your relationship with your partner. If you laugh jokingly and mutually (that’s key), then you won’t take yourself so seriously and you will be more tolerant. Humor and laughter are part of what brings harmony and aliveness to our relationships.
Ready to share love, life, and laughter with your partner? Here’s where to start…