When we sit back in our lounge chairs and watch Seinfeld, sometimes the situations that occur are familiar to us. They may have even been traumatic when they happened to us. For example, breaking up with a boyfriend. It’s often because we relate so well to the situation, that we find it so funny.
Can stepping back and viewing our tragedies as comedies help us cope with them?
Looking at a situation that occurred with the objective eyes of a comedian – trying to make it funny, can help us gain distance and perspective. Could it have been any worse? What if it had been? Exaggerate it to the extreme. This can help make it seem amusing.
Of course, sometimes our emotions are still raw and sensitive around certain topics.
But telling someone else about it, often people find themselves even accidentally making it seem less serious than it may have seemed at the time.
Can you compare it to something else that’s similar but different?
For example, say you are still upset about the time you got the sack from a job. When you take your old clothes to the donation box, do you tell them that although they worked hard to protect your body, they are just not a good fit now given your current body culture? Do you tell them they have been made redundant? Do you tell them they’ve got the sack and that you intend to replace them with a cheaper and more fashionable model?
If you are having trouble even telling someone about it, have your tried singing it in an operatic voice?
Sometimes even making the saying of it sound a bit silly or ludicrous can help lesson the effect of the words themselves. This can help you start to see it as “just a story”. And like any story you read, it doesn’t have to affect the rest of your life. It’s just a story.
You don’t have to wait to look back on this and laugh, you can work on doing that now
If it is something that happened that you are embarrassed about, seeing it from a humorous side can help remove the shame of it. Learning to laugh at things is a skill like any other that can be learned and gained through practice. And you don’t have to be a stand-up comedian to start trying to do this.
How have others come to laugh at it?
Read some memoirs. Sometimes comedians are especially skilled at looking back at their lives and seeing the humor in the situations and hurdles they faced. For example, you may like to read “The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish or Trevor Noah’s book “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” or my favorite “Is It Just Me?” by Miranda Hart.
It can help to imagine your life as a movie or sitcom. Who would play your role? What would be the plot twists? What would be the happy ending? Sometimes writing it down can help.
So watch some comedy. It may help you gain a new perspective on your own life as well.