There’s plenty to laugh about, if you’d only let yourself see it

SURELY THIS one should be fun! After all, everybody loves to laugh, right? Funny then, that we should use so little of the material nearest at hand to laugh at – ourselves! If you’ve paid attention to the content of good comedy, or the banter among men in a pub, you’ll know that it’s funniest when it takes our most unconscious social cover-ups – the things we do that we pretend we don’t do – and exposes them.

We pretend to like things we don’t like,
to impress people we don’t even know.

We laugh easily at ourselves when we’re in a group, but single me out – as good comedians often do to the poor bloke in the front row – and I feel uncomfortably exposed; I start to defend. Mostly, my taking myself seriously is about upholding appearances: We pretend to like or believe things that we don’t in fact like or believe; we do this in order to look good for people we don’t like – or often don’t even know. If someone points this out, we’ll fight to defend the appearance rather than let the truth come out. If you can laugh at yourself, you can be more available, more authentic, and ultimately more happy – and more ready to laugh at yourself.