If there's one thing people are lacking in today's fast-paced, hi-tech world, it's meaningful connections with others. Walk down any city street and you'll witness thousands of people all co-existing together in complete solitude. There's little eye contact, few friendly smiles, and an almost absence of initiating new friendships.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this social dilemma, and it's something we all have the capacity to do. In order to form meaningful connections with others and reconnect with your own life, all you need to do is laugh. Through humor, you can rediscover what is truly important in your life and uncover the unique spiritual connection we all have with our fellow human beings.
The Humor and Spirituality Connection
Good humor (other than ice cream) can be an excellent way to trigger the spiritual connection between people. Positive humor and the act of laughing transcend all language barriers and give people a common ground on which to relate. Young or old, healthy or ill, male or female, each of us has an innate capacity for humor and can use laughter, giggles, or smiles to break down emotional walls and reach out to others.
As you strive to use humor to create more meaningful connections in your own life, keep the following guidelines in mind.
1. Keep It Positive
Positive humor equals a positive state of mind. When your humor is positive, you understand that people need different things at different times in order to be in "good humor." Sometimes we need to laugh, while other times we simply need someone to sit and breathe with us. Positive humor is never hurtful, nor does it degrade a person's spirit. It's always uplifting, and it gives people a temporary release of any negativity they may be harboring.
In reality, laughter is only one of the ways we express our humor. And sometimes, laughter isn't involved at all. For example, if you're attempting to connect with someone who is depressed or ill, using jokes, silly faces, and whoopee cushions would defeat the whole purpose and put the other person in a more negative state of mind. What the person may need is simply someone to sit with them and share a moment of peaceful silence. The goal is to distract a person from the negative emotions and enable them to refocus on positive ones. You can't force someone to laugh; you can only invite them to do so.
2. Be Mindful of the Other Person
To give people what they need to reach a more positive state of mind, you must build rapport with the other person and let him or her know that you understand and that you care. One way to accomplish this is to be mindful of the person's state of mind and health, and to alter your own communication style so you match the other person's. Pace your breath with the other person. Mirror his or her gestures and movements so that you're in synch. Make the volume, tone, and pitch of your voice similar to the other person's. You want the other person to see, hear, and feel you on his or her level so you can form a connection.
3. Listen with Your Heart
As we routinely rush from task to task, we often don't truly listen to what people are saying. Sure, we may physically hear their words, but we often miss the underlying messages in what they say. Those underlying messages often hold the key to making or breaking the human connection.
Listening with your heart brings a level of acceptance to the interaction. It minimizes judgment. The more senses you engage as you listen, the more apt you are to accept the other person for who he or she is without putting any expectations on him or her. This is important, because your expectations and judgments put a box around your thinking and your emotions. When you release your expectations, you have more flexibility in your thinking and in how you react to others. When you expect something, you look only for that one thing. However, when you put your heart into the equation and let go of expectations, your possibilities for meaningful connections are endless.
4. Put a Humorous Spin on Life's Events
Finding humor in a situation is a matter of allowing that little childlike part of yourself to come out and play. Regardless of how you perceive yourself, you do have a childlike essence within. We all do. Some people are just more comfortable letting it show than others. In today's fast-paced, bottom line oriented world, it's easy to understand why the inner child often gets squashed. So many people are filled with sadness, anger, and frustration that those emotions seem to take over. However, if you can put a humorous spin on events, your heart and spirit will soar. So in essence, laughing can help you achieve a greater sense of inner peace. In the midst of that most delicious serenity you'll feel more at ease with yourself and (around) others, and therefore more emotionally available to connect.
Make Your Own Connections Today
Smiling to a stranger, saying "hi" to someone who looks lonely, being patient with the person in front of you in the grocery store line – all these are simple ways to make connections and spread positive humor to others. Remember, humor is not always about jokes and being silly. Sometimes it's about comforting another, "being there" for someone, and offering hope when none seems to exist. These are the things that entice people away from a place of negativity and invite them into a place filled with positive energy. When you can do this for another, you can transcend any existing or perceived barrier and pave the way for a meaningful relationship. You then have the beginnings of a positive connection…with a bonus of warmth and joy.
About the Author:
Jacki Kwan, LCSW-C is the author of
Almost Home: Embracing the Magical Connection Between Positive Humor & Spirituality.
Get your copy at www.hahalogy.com.