What if April 1 was more than a day to do pranks on others; what if it was a reminder to laugh at ourselves? How many people deal with the pressure to be perfect? That can be a big burden that proves unsatisfying even when we get close to the "goal." When people take themselves so seriously, they shut down a vital part of themselves. April Fools' Day provides the perfect opportunity to lighten up! Here are three ways:
Laughing at yourself is downright liberating. There is a lot to be amused about if you are open to see certain situations through that lens. Have you even been in a restaurant and were amused by the fabulous people-watching? You may have imagined what stories were playing out in the lives of the couple or the group across the way. What if you could look at yourself from that perspective, in terms of the "story" you are living? If you catch yourself in a repeated pattern, instead of berating yourself, consider both self-compassion and amusement. The human adventure offers many moments that are flat-out hilarious; I crack myself up all the time. Instead of quantifying all the goals you are reaching, how about looking at the smiles you have along the way?
Try Something Out of Your Comfort Zone
Did you ever really want to let loose on the dance floor, but were afraid of what you would look like to others? Do you have a singer, painter, writer, inventor, explorer inside of you longing to bust out? Now's your chance! Put that "critic mind" to rest, and try something new, something slightly scary, something that makes you feel alive. In the words of Charlie Chaplin, "Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself." This is actually an invitation to stretch into a part of you that's longing to be expressed. If not now, when?
Discover the Power of Vulnerability:
It takes a strong person to show vulnerability. It takes a courageous person to allow themselves to be really seen. The interesting thing is that by being authentic, "by telling the story of who you are with your whole heart," instead of alienating us from others, it actually brings us closer. Rather than shaming us and destroying connection, it becomes the glue. Can you let go of who you think you "should be in order to be who you are?"
Yet, most people would agree that vulnerability can be daunting. By trying to control every facet of our lives, we attempt to numb our perceived weaknesses, and those nasty emotions like fear, grief, and shame. The interesting thing is that we cannot stifle the negative emotions without affecting the positive ones, too. By denying the painful parts, this also puts a damper on the emotions that we long for, like joy, gratitude and happiness. In the words of Brené Brown, "Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it is also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging and love." She found that people who are strong enough to express vulnerability know that what makes them vulnerable also makes them beautiful, such as the willingness to say "I love you" first.
So, on this April Fools' Day, let caution to the wind. You are enough just as you are. Dare to be vulnerable, and laugh at the tender and amusing moments we all share in this undulating dance of our humanity.
What makes you feel vulnerable? And what makes you lighten up? What is the best April Fool's you've ever had and why?
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