" Seeing the funny sides of situations and of oneself doesn’t sound very serious, but it is integral to wisdom, because it’s a sign that one is able to put a benevolent finger on the gap between what we want to happen and what life can actually provide; what we dream of being and what we actually are, what we hope other people will be like and what they are actually like. Like anger, humour springs from disappointment, but it’s disappointment optimally channelled. It’s one of the best things we can do with our sadness."
Here lies perhaps the dark reason behind many of our doings: that frustrating gap between reality and our expectations. Since disappointment is inevitable, we have no other option than to try to live with it, right?
Getting angry is an understandable response but does not contribute to our quality of life.
A much better way to tackle downers, indeed Alain, is humour.
But the cheerful approach is rarely congenital. I believe that humour can be considered an advanced skill. It takes dedication and practice to be positive and light-hearted, to note the funny side of situations.
I also believe this virtue has/can to be learned.
"Politeness has a bad name. We often assume it’s about being ‘fake’ (which is meant to be bad) as opposed to ‘really ourselves’ (which is meant to be good). However, given what we’re really like deep down, we should spare others too much exposure to our deeper selves. We need to learn ‘manners’, which aren’t evil – they are the necessary internal rules of civilisation. Politeness is very linked to tolerance, the capacity to live alongside people whom one will never agree with, but at the same time, can’t avoid." says Alain de Botton.
At convent school we had the subject 'manners' or 'etiquette', where we learned how to greet someone, which terms to use, how to show respect and how to be a pleasant companion. We were also made to understand that coarse language was under all circumstances unacceptable. In short, we acquired 'people skills', a supertool for the build-up of personality.
" If you are better than the average, you behave better" was the motto.
Poor Facebook generation. They have no idea...
Putting energy in others may feel as a sacrifice because we won't get inmediate return.
But should we expect something back? Of course not!
According to my (rich!) experience one always gets largely
compensated in life.
It's like a boomerang: what you give, you get back double.
This is what Alain de Botton says:
"We’re hardwired to seek our own advantage but also have a miraculous ability, very occasionally, to forego our own satisfactions in the name of someone or something else. We won’t ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don’t keep up with the art of sacrifice."
(according to Alain de Botton): Patience
"We should grow calmer and more forgiving by getting more realistic about how things actually tend to go."
I also think it helps a lot if you don't expect so much from others.
We are only human and we all try hard and fail often learning to live with our imperfections.
Irritation is just a waste of energy.
The capacity to connect imaginatively with the sufferings and unique experiences of another person. The courage to become someone else and look back at oneself with honesty.
(Alain de Botton)