Posted by: thestruggle4akhirah | October 3, 2009

Why My Laugh Gets Me in Trouble

Bismillah

I have this tendency to laugh or giggle in moments that are not necessarily happy, moments that should be serious. For example, I may be in a serious conversation, but giggle at the end of my phrases. For the first time ever I became aware of this when I was doing my coaching certification.  The other day I had a chance to become even more deeply aware of this trait and to discover what was underneath.

Many people suppress emotions without realizing it and as a result wear the face of many masks, but rarely allow their actions and expressions to match up their true and deepest emotions.

The result of doing this can lead to an endless list of issues. It could mean never learning how to open up and truly experience joy. It can create marital discord as one spouse or both are never able to articulate all of their deepest emotions leading to either a lack of intimacy or built up resentment. No matter which way you put it, not allowing ourselves to feel, truly feel, is cutting off an opportunity to be fully present in our moment. The message we send to ourselves internally is “Whatever I am feeling is wrong, and it must be stopped.” How we got that message is a different story, but through the years we have trained ourselves to force a response different then the real emotions present.

As I sat across from a teacher who teaches and heals in this amazing combination of holistic practice within the Sunnah, he asked me to slow down, to get in touch with the different physical sensations in my body, like my breathing and the placement of my hands.

I kept giggling quietly, feeling I could not stop. I apologized, telling him “I’m sorry, I can’t stop.”

With the same directness I usually dish out on my own coaching calls, he said “Yes you can. What would happen if you did not laugh?”

I paused, and said I am not sure. At that moment, almost at the same time his question came out of his mouth, I began to formulate the answer.

“You would cry.” he said confidently, yet softly.

And at that moment, I did indeed feel like crying.  Crying because I had come to explore something, to search for answers, and there was a sense of relief, of being understood and validated.

But I would not and could not cry. Because then I would be vulnerable.

I have coached countless sisters who have been in my shoes exactly. I have realized in my own self and hundreds of others that being vulnerable is one of the greatest risks we will ever take, and one of the most essential to living fully authentic and present in each moment.

Yet we are afraid to be vulnerable because somewhere in our lives we were hurt for “wearing our heart on our sleeves,” and as a result we changed.

Choosing to keep our feelings hidden, though, will bring about far greater consequences. Not just in our relationships, but even in our connection with Allah, ‘azawjel.

Allah knows, sees, and hears everything, and even with Him, we are afraid to share the contents of our heart, and make du’a from the deepest corners of our hearts.

How to Create Awareness of Your Emotions

1) If you happen to giggle and laugh to in strange moments – focus inwards and ask yourself “If I wasn’t laughing right now, what would I feel?”

2) When you are in a happy moment, ask yourself “Am I truly expressing my joy and happiness to its fullest level right now?”

3) When sad or hurt ask yourself “Am I letting someone close to me know exactly how I am feeling with no extra layers in between ?” so that you provide for them an opportunity to fix, support, love, or change.

No doubt, there is a balance that must be discovered between ourselves and people of what we will share of our innermost emotions. Yet at the same time we must learn that if any of our relationships are not where we want them to be, whether its with our children, spouses, parents, or friends, the very people we hold dear and the very people who should be a safe place to be vulnerable, then we must first look to ourselves to see how many masks we are wearing.

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Responses

  1. Jazaky Allahu khayr for this Megan, every time I will see you laughing Ill think back to this post. 😀
    just kidding!

  2. I figured I’d have to make some follow up post that said that not EVERY time I am laughing its because I’m nervous or something..

    this could get interesting considering I’m a smiley/giggly person anyhow 😀

  3. Oh My God, I thought I was the weirdo! Sometimes I even laugh at times of death.. But the thing is, I consciously do it knowing that if I don’t laugh, I will cry – and I am too embarassed to cry..I had to explain that to some people. I even laugh when I would talk about traumatic experiences.

    When I do cry or feel like I may be close to, I feel like I might loose my composition, and so laughing, in a way, puts me back into control and lets me keep my feelings intact and not so exposed for the world to see..

  4. P.S. But I dont think it would cause so much of a problem in relationships, alhamdulilah. I can express myself and do so even openly and not worry so much about the consequences of opening up, but its a controlling-myself-thing and not-wanting-awkward-situations to crop up sorta thing..

  5. JazakiAllah khayr…very amazing insight mashaAllah!

  6. Bismillah

    Thanks for your reply Sister Amani & Suwila.

    My comment about relationships seems a bit far fetched in the example, I agree. My point was that not learning how to share and communicate our true emotions CAN lead to issues in a relationship. When people cut themselves off from sharing and expressing joy, happiness, disappointment, or even anger – anything we hide and cover creates a barrier between ourselves and the person we want to be close with. It’s not to say one should not have discipline in HOW they are shared, for example, in anger or saddness.

  7. Oh, I see – yeah I totally agree with you. JazakiAllah khair for the clarification :^)

  8. I remember once at a sisters gathering, I allowed vulnerability in sharing just how broke I was while growing up and the sense of shame and inferiority that comes with it. A sister with this habit practically laughed in my face, stating that she found it incredulous that none of my family in my (urban) area had cars. I wasn’t looking for sympathy, mind you, but I admit that I felt like I had been slapped in the face by her giggle and then her commentary, which added insult to injury. I choose not to treat her any differently because of her response, i.e. to forgive, but it didn’t come easily at all.

    My take is that the laughing tic – for those who suffer – is more than a coping mechanism that keeps that person from connecting to others. It is also a response that, depending on the situation, is very offensive and can drive people away.

    Something to hold onto is the teaching to give fellow believers 70 excuses. The degree to which we can all practice this with each other determines the grace with which we can treat each other.

  9. Reblogged this on InspiringCharacter.WordPress.Com and commented:
    Manage your Emotions!


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