How Your Sense of Humor Works

How Can I Improve My Sense of Humor?

People ask me fairly often whether I think they have a good or a bad sense of humor. I tell them that there is no such thing.  Everyone has a unique sense of humor. It’s a matter of access. Access can be improved. Improving your sense of humor means cultivating access to what is already present. The secret is that a sense of humor can’t be acquired because it’s innate: what is being sought is already present.

It’s not something you get, it’s something you allow.

Imagine for a moment that you you are with close friends who love you, while watching a perfect sunset, drinking your favorite drink. It’s probably easy to laugh and relax.

Now imagine another scenario: you are stuck in traffic, late for an important meeting that you don’t really want to go to, and you are disappointed that someone in your life was mean to you.  This is a stressful scenario and it is in times of stress that you really need your sense of humor.

Your sense of humor is your most important inner resource in times of stress.  It’s not always possible, or even desirable, to laugh in a stressful situation.  But your sense of humor can always help you see what is really happening.  It will help you be less reactive, less distrustful and more self-confident and self-reliant.

When we look for a mate most of us say we want someone with a good sense of humor. Does that mean we want someone who jokes all the time? No, it means we want someone who has the inner resilience and broad perspective that a sense of humor brings when times get tough. That’s when it really counts.

Your sense of humor is a perspective of appreciation. It is a way of seeing and perceiving that is unmistakable.

Improving your sense of humor requires improving access to your true self.  Assemble your inner allies: take care of yourself, exercise, meditate, pray, spend time in nature, spend time with real friends and good books, do things that make you glad to be alive. “Know thyself”, your inner wisdom and resilience: that’s where your sense of humor dwells.

The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter. – Mark Twain 

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