Laugh it Off

Mitch Schneider
September 24, 2019

I was laughing so hard my sides ached and I couldn’t catch my breath. I can’t imagine what I looked like trying so hard not to look ridiculous!

I’ve gone back to Yang Family Tai Chi. The short form in one class with an emphasis on the form’s martial heritage: tonight’s class. And, to the long form in the two classes I’ll attend tomorrow night, focused on movement, flexibility and balance.

If someone videotaped the class, I’m sure they would just assume I had never attempted Tai Chi at all. That feeling would have crushed me in the past. The frustration and anger at not being able to meet the standard of performance I have set for myself would have caused me to tighten up, which would have defeated the entire purpose of the exercise. But, that’s not what happened.

Instead of tightening up, I started laughing. And, so did everyone around me, which actually caused me to loosen up!

Laughing at yourself can prove a very valuable — and, necessary — therapy for anything accompanied by the frustration of striving for perfection while trying something new.

Laughing it off helped me cope when I lost my hair during Chemo. Laughing it off helped me walk while dragging my IV stand (I named him Harvey…) back and forth across the 6th floor when I could barely stand. And, it helped me swallow when the pain of swallowing brought me to my knees.

Not taking yourself too seriously allows you the opportunity to fail and fail often: the freedom to keep trying. Not taking yourself too seriously is exactly what you need to do when you want to accomplish serious things!

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