Sunday, March 14, 2010

Laughter as an Escape

Everyone has had moments with friends and family where conversation becomes tense. We may be talking about someone we know with a health problem, a friend's recent breakup, or arguing in a confrontation. Whatever the reason may be, our breath becomes constricted and uneasiness takes hold. It is hard to stay in an uncomfortable place. Who enjoys talking about the death or heartache of a loved one? Who wants to argue with a good friend? I've found myself stray from these conversations, where I try to bring up a different topic or tell a funny story, all in the hopes of enabling others to laugh. I think this can be beneficial at certain circumstances. We may require relief from emotional exertion and over analysis. By changing the subject and bringing a warm and humorous attitude to a discussion, a person can help create a moment of release where one is desperately needed. But I've come to realize that occasionally moving on through laughter doesn't always allow us to 'move on.' In some instances, we navigate a course in search of a safer place, farther away from the anxiousness. However, I think sometimes we travel down this avenue on a path of fear.

How could it be harmful to bring laughter to a conversation in order to feel more comfortable, relaxed, and in control? It’s not. However, I believe there can be times when it is not necessary to heal and alleviate discomfort through laughter. I think turning to laughter in such a case might prohibit someone from growing, changing, and gaining new experiences. For me, this makes sense in my mind, but when such a situation arises, it can be difficult to follow through and stay in the uncomfortability.  I believe that by understanding this mechanism better, and noticing how I sometimes do use laughter to diffuse a situation or camouflage my feelings, I will increase the chance of breaking the pattern. The next time around, I might do the very same thing, and that's okay. However, since I know the processes behind it, and acknowledge my fears, I think I will eventually be able to take a new step. Of course, that is if I choose to do so, given the situation.

I've recently found that it can be exciting to gain new experiences even if they might be unpleasant. In a way, it is reaching towards another level of maturity. I think being afraid of a feeling and taking action to avoid it, does not protect me from it. Instead, it gives it more power, and prevents me from learning and living a dynamic life.  Therefore, by staying more in these moments of fear, acknowledging and experiencing them, even if I don’t ultimately change my routine of escape, I am exploring a deeper understanding of myself, and opening the door for growth. I see it as taking on new directions as I participate in life’s journey of discovery.


  1. Wow--I know that I've said this to you personally. However, I am continually inspired by your insights and your ability to articulate them in such a profound way.

  2. Thanks Diane! I'm glad you liked it!