Humour is the ability to see what is amusing in a situation. The strength of humour is not necessarily about being funny but more about bringing a ‘lightness’ to your life. This strength can really help in getting along with others and creating connections.
Playfulness is central to humour. It can help us see the absurd and take unnecessary seriousness out of things. Humour is as much about being able to poke fun at yourself as well as the world around you.
Humour protects us against stress and problems we face in life and it is linked with positive mental health. It helps us to cope better with distressing situations.
Two men were fishing. The men caught some fine fish. When they were going home, one said to the other, “How are we going to make our way back to that wonderful fishing place again?” The second said, “I thought of that — I marked the boat with chalk!”
“You fool!” said the first. “That’s no good. Supposing next time they give us a different boat?”
What does humour look like? Someone high in this strength jokes a lot, makes playful comments, tells funny stories and enjoys gentle teasing. They can break the seriousness of a moment or bring light to a heavy situation. When humour is used in a group it can break tension and resolve conflict.
Humour can also offer a larger perspective from which to view things. Charlie Chaplin once said that life is a tragedy when viewed up close but a comedy when seen from a distance. Humour can help us see the positive side of negative or boring situations.
Can you recall a time when you expressed this strength? How might you practice humour and playfulness more in your life?
Bring to mind a difficulty you are facing now or that you faced in the past. Then imagine that you are sitting outside of yourself or that it is happening to someone else. How would this problem look from really far away (Say from outer space)? How would this problem look from far away in time (say one hundred years in the future)? Is there anything, even some part of the problem, that you can laugh about? Or perhaps even see that it is not as heavy and serious as you thought.
Life doesn’t always need to be taken so seriously. We can ‘lighten up’ by changing our perspective. Things that seem important now are not that important in the grand scheme of things.
Write down any shift you observe in how you feel when you hold your problem more lightly.