Are you serious?!
We are all capable of taking ourselves and life a bit too seriously at times.
For me, seriousness generally shows up as work-related stress and general self importance. What, I’m far too busy to do that! Go ask someone else!
What’s your flavour on it?
Too afraid to tell people you find them awesome and attractive? Scared it’ll give them some sort of power over you?
Over-analyse stuff, creating dramas out of nothing?
Oops – you did it again.
There are varying shades of seriousness syndrome, but the essential effects are the same: feeling angsy, stressed and depressed – when we could be feeling totally enchanted with ourselves and life!
So why is this so common?
And how do we know we have changed the record?
why life seriousness happens
Okay, so taking ourselves and life too seriously is one way that humans are routinely absurd.
So how does it happen?
It happens because of a misperception of self. We perceive things and ourselves to be more important than they or we are. It is understandable.
The workaround is to become grounded and secure. Taking yourself too seriously after that is hard.
So what does it mean to be ‘grounded and secure’?!
Well there is knowing what we value for starters. Also, having clear and honest self perception. Fundamentally, being secure means having self awareness, which lays the foundation for self acceptance, self love and self esteem.
How does not having a secure sense of self look?
A fragile sense of self can take on many guises. The underlying feeling is of not having a home within – a safe internal space that cannot be tossed and turned too much by external factors. The umbrella term for it is ‘insecurity’ but as I say, it looks so many different ways. We are all a little insecure.
How do we develop a stronger sense of self?
In addition, I would just say that identify what is stopping you from being secure. Here are some common ones:
- Limiting stories and beliefs.
- Not accepting ourselves the way we are and not (which paradoxically, stops us from creating positive changes).
- Possibly being entitled (it stops us from taking responsibility, which you cannot develop a strong sense of self without.
- Not being honest with ourselves.
- Valuing external forms of validation, over internally driven agendas.
Building a more secure sense of self can take time and perseverance, especially if your starting place is low. But daily actions compounded over time add up to greater confidence, resilience and fortitude.
The best things I have done to become a more whole and complete person?
Self-awareness (of course). And:
- building confidence through doing the things I set out to do (i.e. being self validating).
- quitting overthinking. Practicing mindfulness and acceptance instead.
- living a a sane lifestyle (one that reflects my values.)
3 things might happen if you quit taking yourself seriously
Stopping taking yourself too seriously starts with noticing that you’re doing it. After that, it is just a question of practice.
Here are some thing that lie on the other side:
1. You’ll be friendlier and more open
Being open with others (not in a way where you ‘bleed’ all of your problems on them!) is a characteristic of a person that doesn’t take themselves overly seriously.
Underneath being overly private and secretive is a desire to control situations and what others think of you. It is hallmark of a worldview that says ‘the world is a scary place, and you knowing this about me takes away my power’.
Similarly the desire to project a certain image of yourself onto others – for example one of beauty, brilliance or competence – is another way of trying to control their impressions (which unfortunately doesn’t work).
When you lose your attachment to what others think of you, you become a lot more natural. This is also a lot more fun and happier.
2. You’ll be more present (and therefore happier and more productive)
What is overthinking and worrying a symptom of? Yes that’s right; taking ourselves too seriously!
As I have written about before, overthinking – second guessing ourselves and others – is insidious. We can all train ourselves out of it though.
What happens if we don’t do this?
For one thing, we can create problems that aren’t there. Relationship problems. Work problems. Life problems.
Avoid the rabbit hole.
If we have spoken or behaved out of turn (according to our own values), then we need only apologize and move on. Simple.
Sometimes, we will be misunderstood despite our best intentions. And on those days, I guess it is a case of letting go and letting god.
3. You’ll get a lot bolder with asking for what you want
Maybe it’s just me. But this is the best benefit of quitting life seriousness.
You’ll become brazen and unabashedly self-expressed! Seriously, the second we stop taking ourselves so seriously, our capacity for connection with others magnifies.
In order to be confident in asking for what we want or expressing how we feel, we have to know we won’t fall apart if we don’t get a response we like. Which – if we are taking emotional risks – can sometimes happen.
Rejection is among the top fear that humans have. However, as I never get bored of saying, rejection is really a lie when you think about it, because it can only happen when you put yourself up for rejection.
Which is optional.
Taking ourselves and our lives too seriously is a recipe for a boring, miserable and – um – serious existence. Let’s say no.
Start with noticing what you are taking so seriously – and why?! Maybe bringing your attention to it will be enough for you to stop. Or maybe you have some fears or limiting stories to bring your awareness too.
As hopefully illustrated, there is a lot of fun to be had on the other side of those.