Are you having a bad day? Is your business struggling? Has life dealt you a bad hand?
I’ll never forget the doctor who came to visit me every day in the intensive care unit while I was on life-support—after my near-fatal tragedy. I was so heavily sedated from so many life-saving open-heart surgeries that I was hallucinating. It took the medical team months to help me safely wean off the pain medications and regain my sense of self-awareness. Every day, this one doctor would ask me the same thing as I lay crying and frustrated—trapped in my hospital bed hooked up to machines.
He would say, “Have you lost your sense of humor?”
This one sentence would make me so angry. Couldn’t the doctor see my life was a living nightmare? Didn’t he understand how helpless I felt unable to talk or communicate my feelings? Didn’t he see that I could not move a single part of my body due to all the wires and devices keeping me alive?
Without fail, each day he returned. He would ask me questions about how my day was, how I was feeling, and I would always respond with tears and frustration. I couldn’t understand how one day I was at the height of my career, running a thriving business, and the next lay fighting for my life in a whole different state from where I lived.
It was surreal, to say the least.
Something shifted over time. I was on life-support for over three months. The more the doctor came to see me, the more my tears turned into a smile on my face each time he asked if I had lost my sense of humor. What used to irritate me, now became the highlight of my day. I knew that no matter what I was experiencing—as the surgeons worked tirelessly to recover my body—that this one doctor could get me laughing again.
I began to see the ridiculousness and the humor in my situation. I saw that I had no control over what happened to me. The laughter reminded me that I do have control over how I feel at any moment. In those moments of laughter, I found peace and happiness. Soon after, I was home and recovering.
Here’s how I still apply this principle in my business and my life and how you can do the same—when life seems dark and unfair.
The first step is acceptance. Yes, accepting your current circumstances can feel impossible at first. You feel justified. You feel hurt. You feel unfairly treated. You must work on this every day. Allow your thoughts to explore your emotions in a safe way, such as through journaling or some form of creative outlet.
Forgive yourself for what you are currently experiencing. Most likely, you have been raised unaware of how you blame external forces for your circumstances. You think you need to forgive a person, situation, or something outside of yourself for how unfairly life has treated you. Blaming external forces is why you are struggling to find relief in the process of forgiveness. You must forgive yourself for all that has unfolded. The power lies within you.
Once you’ve applied the principles of acceptance and forgiveness to any situation, you will inevitably uncover peace. Peace comes from within. It is a state of awareness that you experience once you have released the pressure that has built up from fear, anxiety, anger, and frustration. You will feel a sense of relief in your heart.
Through peace, you can find humor—which doesn’t necessarily mean slap-stick funny. It doesn’t mean any disrespect for what you have experienced or are still going through at the moment. It is a way of removing yourself from the center of the situation. Reducing stress and dismantling your ego from its desire to make your world appear smaller than it is. When your world opens up, the possibilities are endless.
At this stage, you have transitioned from a place of constriction to one of expansiveness. You are no longer overwhelmed by the fear of your situation. You have opened up the gateway for opportunities to come into your life and help you move through your challenge with greater ease. You are free to live your life unapologetically, knowing you are always doing the best you can.
What is it that is frustrating you in this moment? What part of your life or business do you feel helpless? Where are you still holding resentment?
To you, I ask, “Have you lost your sense of humor?”