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(The Care Guy)
20 Commandments 4: Humour
Posted on 7:21am Monday 21st May 2012
20 commandments 4: Thou shalt have a well-chosen and well-timed sense of humour
Humour is something of a minefield in human society. When we get it right humour can make us popular and open doors to a variety of social interactions. Cleverly used it can help us to make a point or to avoid being side-tracked and ignored. Humour can ‘oil the wheels’ of interaction and can ease the tensest situation.
But when we get it wrong…..
Humour can easily be misunderstood. People can feel devalued if your jokes are mistimed or involve the wrong subject. If the person thinks you’re laughing at them you could damage not only your relationship with that person but also their faith in mental health workers generally. There is a dangerous side to humour in mental health care.
But that doesn’t mean we should avoid humour. Properly used it can be one of the most therapeutic tools we have. Just be careful not to misuse it.
One of the most fundamental aspects of good mental health is the ability to laugh at yourself – it’s a sign that we don’t take ourselves so seriously.
But we don’t get people to laugh at themselves by laughing at them. Remember that laughing ‘with’ someone only works if the other person actually joins in.
The best way to encourage another person to learn to laugh at themselves is to laugh at ourselves. We model the activity – we don’t inflict it upon our clients.
If you’re going to laugh at anyone, laugh at yourself.
This has the added advantage of making you approachable and paradoxically will gain you much more respect than if you were to pretend that you never made any mistakes.
Based on the work of ‘Margreeth H.’