My sister has down syndrome and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. Laura may be younger than me but she has taught me numerous lessons. A few to count are compassion, unconditional love, simplicity, and seeing life through a different lens/perspective.
One lesson that she has taught me, that I truly treasure, is not to take yourself too seriously. You’re only on this earth for an allotted amount of time, so why spend it being stuffed up and caged by worry, pressures and opinions?
Now, by no means am I saying throw caution to the wind. I’m not talking about goofing off at the wrong moments or self-deprecation. There is a difference between not taking yourself too seriously and being unprofessional. I’m writing about having a healthy balance between facing challenges and the reassurance of knowing who you are.
Growing up I could be so overwhelmed by a situation, but all it would take is my sister walking into my room to remind me that everything is going to work out.
Next thing you know, we’re making hideous double chin faces at each other and quoting lines from our favorite movies. She’s the only person who can get me to jump on my bed with underwear on my head. Not exaggerating.
When I’m stressed, I take myself way too seriously. That’s my red flag. I still struggle with this at times. Maybe a few red flags come to mind for you too. Let’s tackle these red flags together by:
1. Not worrying about the opinions of others. We become too “serious” when we can’t get out of our own brains, and we worry about uncontrollable variables. That includes the opinions of others. They’ve already made up their minds about you. What people think about you is out of your control, so why bother making yourself someone you’re not or driving yourself nuts over things you can’t fix. Be who God has created you to be. Haters will always hate. The true fans in your life will be in your corner, no matter what. The opinion of the ONE is what really counts anyway.
2. Being comfortable knowing we are going to make mistakes and that is okay. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. That’s okay. SHOCKING … and the plot thickens! I’m one to put my best efforts into something I believe in, so I get persistency, the drive to succeed, and the desire to tie up loose ends perfectly. But with that being said, try your best and give yourself permission to fail. Here, I’ll help you.
I’ve failed at relationships (friendships and dating).
I’ve fallen into the same bad habits multiple times.
I’ve made the wrong calls while leading others.
I failed my chemistry regents final by 1 point. 64 baby.
I peed my pants in kindergarten. I was painting a picture of my family house on an easel and wouldn’t go to the bathroom till I finished my masterpiece (talk about giving it all to complete a mission). I’ve been messing up since I was in kindergarten for crying out loud!
Failures. They may not be our shining moments but they are necessary to own and grow from. Don’t stay stuck in your muddy setbacks. It will cripple you. So like I said before: keep your head up, give everything you’ve been trusted with your best shot, and leave room to fail. It’s worth the risk.
3. Keeping our outlook positive. When negativity creeps in, it frames your mindset and taints your language, actions, and outlook. Heaviness, whether it be worry, insecurity, etc., will always try to push your head down, keeping you from seeing the silver lining that is ahead. Keep a positive outlook and surround yourself with go-getter, positive people. Since I’m a Christian, I can’t help but see Jesus in every situation. You can take it or leave it, but with Him there is always hope and a silver lining.
4. Loosening up and friggin’ laughing! Yeah, you heard me. Some people just don’t know how to laugh. Now, I’m sensitive to those who don’t know how to laugh because they’ve experienced so much tragedy, but hopefully you know who I’m talking about. Those people who are so uptight they can’t even squeak a fart out of their pants. There, I said it. Spend time with little kids for a day and they’ll show you how to not take yourself too seriously. It’s alright to laugh at yourself as well. One of the greatest joys, greatest reliefs, is laughing. Oh, and not to get all spiritual or anything, but it is BIBLICAL and good medicine for your soul!
5. Being open to growth. Taking yourself too seriously will stunt your progress and efficiency as a leader and an individual. Not being open to advice, differing opinions and perspectives, or having a hard time intermingling with people are some characteristics that provide dead end results. It’s alright to not have all the answers. It doesn’t mean you’re dumb or less than. Not taking ourselves too seriously is actually a pretty vulnerable and noble act. It requires a whole new level of honesty.
Humor and a light spirit are contagious and magnetic. It’s no wonder why. This world needs a lot more of it. Next time you feel yourself uptight, notice your red flag, look at yourself in a mirror, and curl your upper lip till your teeth stick out. Wiggle your eyebrows while you’re at it too. Hopefully you’ll just rest in knowing you’re a good human and your life is too precious to live trapped… and get a good chuckle in too!
What do you guys do to keep yourself in check?