How Does Humor Show Up in YOUR Life?

YIKES! It’s just been reflected back to me that I’ve gotten way too serious lately.

Have you noticed? That’s not really me! It’s true that I’m certainly not the “funniest” person I know, but weirdly, when I teach, people tell me I’m really funny. It’s the reality of life or the dynamics of relationships that get so poignant that jokes sometimes just spill out of me. I’ve learned it’s called “observational humor!”

When I was in my 20s and living in Chicago, I started to wonder about my sense of humor. I’d go to a movie, and everyone would laugh at something that I hadn’t found funny at all. And then something would happen that would crack me up, only to realize I’d been the only person in the theatre laughing!

I became curious about humor, and started going to comedy clubs. I remember sitting there, crossing my arms, and saying to the comedians (quietly in my head, of course), “Okay, just try and make me laugh!” Kind of an odd experiment, don’t you think?

I remember horseback riding with my former husband, who didn’t like riding by the way, but wanted to join me in something I was passionate about! Not a good idea from the start, right?

The horses had been in the barn all winter. It was a beautiful spring day, the snow had melted and it was the first day the horses could go out for a run. They were spunky, all right.

Our friend, whose horses they were, took off like a bat out of H – – -.

I had some riding experience, and it was all I could do to control my horse who was wanting to take off in a gallop right away.

I looked to my right, and saw my husband having the same challenge but worse.

He was no longer in his saddle, his head was going forward and lower, lower and lower over the horse’s head, and his butt going higher and higher and higher until, yes, you guessed it. He did a forward somersault over the horse’s head.

Suddenly, I had full control of my horse, turned around and went to him. He was still, lying on his back on the ground. I was scared about what may have happened to him. He started to move, and was able to get up. Fortunately, he was okay except for a broken rib or two. That’s no fun, of course, though it could have been much worse.

We counted our blessings and walked back to the barn.

Why am I writing this story when talking about humor? On the way home, breathing hurt his ribs, every bump in the road hurt his ribs, yet for some reason, my sense of humor came out. It was unintentional, of course. He’d start to laugh but laughter hurt his ribs. And then, I don’t know how or why, but I started to get really funny. Not a fun ride for him, that’s for sure.

How about you? Do YOU have control over your sense of humor?

There are certainly times I wish I could be funny, crack a joke, make myself or someone else laugh, and it just doesn’t happen. And of course, other times like the one above, when I don’t want to be funny but it happens anyway.

Does humor have anything to do with emotional intelligence?

At first glance, no. However, what good are we if we can’t laugh at ourselves? Laughter is healing, disarming and can lighten the atmosphere, especially if there’s been tension.

How does humor show up in your life?

I’d love to hear about it!, so please comment below!


2 thoughts on “How Does Humor Show Up in YOUR Life?”

  1. Pauline Curtin

    Hi Andrea, I met you in Dublin years ago when Martin brought you over for a workshop and again at the IEA Conference in Amsterdam last year. Anyway, I (E Type 4sp) have being doing Stand Up Comedy for about 14 years now but have always (since early childhood) found release in humour. Everytime I tried to write something it turned out to be humorous without even trying. I am at the stage now, where I can go into an open mic night and just riff off the other comedians material by connecting something they say to something in my ‘memory bank’ of humour. This only works if I am totally present and if I lose presence the humour (English spelling) wavers. In fact stuff comes out of my mouth that I had no idea I was going to say. In fact Stand Up has been one massive excercise in ‘being present’ for me. It is also challenging for a Four in terms of envy of younger and more talented comics. Meanwhile I am bringing my one-woman show “Nine Types of Feta” to the IEA Conference in Lisbon in May which is very exciting for me. I would love to hear your talk some time. No doubt we will run into one another along the path. Best of luck. Pauline Curtin p.s. Humor saves my life daily – it is a way of processing all the ‘sludge’ in the world and turning it into something sunny. Even the darkest events in my life have eventually been shined up and presented to an audience to produce laughter. The best kind of alchemy x

    1. Hi Pauline . . .

      Thanks for writing!, and wonderful to re-connect with you. I totally agree about “[spontaneous humor] only works if I am totally present.” I think that’s why I get “funny” when I teach, because I’m totally present at those times. Things come out of my mouth I would never think of saying, that have both truth and humor.

      I agree about this, too — that humor is a great way to process all the “sludge,” personal, relational, political, you name it! Anywhere you put it, humor is an important thing to be able to use! That’s not to diminish the pain someone may feel. Relationally, it works best when accompanied by a dose of compassion first!

      Wish I could be there to hear your “Nine Types of Feta!” Sounds like a blast!
      Looking forward to our paths crossing again.


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