the importance of sincerityLife is a silly business. It is often ridiculous. The stupidest seeming, most hilarious pieces of film and literature are often the ones that are most true to reality.

It’s easy to laugh at life. It’s easy to take a circumstance that could be tragic or awful, and find it amusing. To find something in it that, while not being any less horrific, is insane enough that you can only react to it by laughing.

It’s a survival mechanism. When the world is happy and bright, you laugh, because you’re enjoying the fun and the goodness. When the world is dark and miserable, you laugh, because you need to find some joy to keep going. The human mind finds whatever it can to lighten up a terrible situation and it clings to it.

And it keeps us sane.

Our default setting is to seek out what makes us happy. We need to see the world as a positive place in order to be able to process the fact that sometimes things go horribly wrong.

It helps us to reconcile with the tragedies of life. It’s the reaction that understands that worrying solves nothing and that, if there is no action we can take to fix things, we are better off finding the bright side and moving on.

But sometimes, we need to be able to push aside that instinct and face life directly. We need to be able to be serious when there is no way of laughing our way out of a misfortune.

We need to learn to be honest with ourselves and with the people around us who are affected by our decisions. If we try to shrug off our more serious issues with the same kind of nonchalance with which we chuckle at the occasional slip up, we end up in worse shape than we ever could have imagined.

In order to deal with the world’s problems, you have to honest with yourself about how serious your issues are. You have to be able to ignore the funny side, sometimes. You have to be able to face the pain and the problems if you ever want them to go away. If you ever want to be able to genuinely laugh about things, instead of forcing yourself to find something bearable in every issue.

To treat your life with an inadequate amount of seriousness and sincerity belittles its importance. To laugh at all of it, while it might make things a bit less scary, solves nothing. It treats the issues as meaningless and underestimates the world’s ability to really screw people over.

Life, like people, deserves your honesty.

It needs it if you ever expect to change your circumstances. Pretending that everything is fine does not make it fine. There is only so much that can be laughed off.

And not everything can be laughed off indefinitely.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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