We vote soon. So like me, you have enjoyed the onslaught of mailers, robo-calls, political surveys, house signs (thank goodness the pole signs are banned) along with the occasional cleverly disguised letter that looks like you are the chosen recipient out of a million. I received one that said, “are you tired of being told what to believe, how to live and what to think.” “Well,” I thought, “yes I am tired of it,” and who wouldn’t be. But then of course once you open it up it goes on to tell you how you should believe, and live, and think.
How does one have an opinion with out imposition. For me the alarms go off when in person at least I can soon tell how seriously a person is taking themselves. Their affect says, “listen to me as the only person you will ever need to listen.” Inside, I say, “walk away, walk away, before its too late!“ There is something about the too-self-seriousness of a person that makes them impenetrable from others’ thoughts or affect or experience. Certainly I have those tendencies, perhaps we all do. It feels good to have some certainty in our lives, something that clearly defines us, something that gives us a strength, a self-confidence, when all others seem to be more worthy of being taken seriously. When we take ourselves too seriously however, we switch off others, we have nothing to learn from them, they cannot impact us, touch our sensibilities. Taking ourselves too seriously keeps others out, makes you unknowable, even as you imagine you are transparently available.
I wonder if an over-self-serious nature may really be an outcropping of insecurity and fear. It is easier to find self satisfaction than satisfaction with any thing or any one else. It is the most available, the most reliable, the least changeable.
To be able to laugh at oneself, I mean really laugh at our own silliness, our habits, our tendencies is healthy. I don’t mean in a put down, mean-spirited kind of way, but in a “I’m just like everyone else” kind of observation. It is required for the beginning of any healthy relationship. It is crucial in parenting. It is practical for low stress and self-assessment. What if our politicians could laugh at themselves!
If the one who created us in such loving fashion, doesn’t take us too seriously, how can we? When I look in the mirror, I can see that God built in so many quirks and foibles, that there is no way that I can mistake myself for perfection or as exceptional, or solemnly, earnestly complete. I’m really grateful too, because where would be the fun in that. We would end up being deadly earnest, earnestly dead that is, if we took ourselves, our lives, our beliefs, our thoughts too seriously. Where would we find something at which to laugh. Seriously, you and I contain much to laugh at, yet fortunately, we are also much more to love, by the one who knows us best and seriously and wonderfully created us.