Our lives don’t always go according to plan.
There are moments when things flourish, and there are others when icky things happen. Usually, when things go wrong, we find it difficult to snap out of it. Although we want to make it through the unfortunate situations, the black cloud that hovers over our heads often makes us forget about the blue sky that resides above it.
We all have our own ways of dealing with difficult situations. Praying might be one of the practices we do that keeps us hopeful about the future. Although praying is a form of a religious practice, it’s very secular at its core.
Praying is a form of connection with what’s earthly and what’s spiritual. It’s a way of communicating with what’s bigger than us. Since the real nature of praying is secular, it’s not necessary to recite repetitive words or to address them to a certain deity.
The purpose of praying is to verbalize what’s inside us and send it to what’s outside of us. Oftentimes, I pray when things go wrong. However, my praying practices have taken different shapes throughout the years. My prayers are now comprised of fewer words and more essence.
One of the most beneficial (and funny) prayers that I’ve addressed to the universe when I am struggling is:
Universe, make me laugh at myself.
Sounds like a simple, silly prayer, right? Well, here’s what I’ve come to understand lately. Our life is a set of good and bad experiences. When something goes great, something bad inevitably happens again—and vice versa.
Nevertheless, when we experience the good cycle, we almost entirely forget the bad cycle. We shift all our energy into holding on to the good. On the other hand, when we experience the bad cycle, we intensely yearn for the good cycle and only want to experience it again.
This is quite normal. Nonetheless, the way we look at the good when we experience the bad is a little skewed. We commonly see the good from desperate eyes and an impatient spirit.
It wasn’t long before I realized that how we look at the good cycle (when we’re in a bad one) makes all the difference in the world. We shouldn’t perceive the good cycles that pass in our lives as a faraway shore which our ship might never reach (or that’s extremely impatient to reach).
When things go wrong, recalling the good cycles should give us hope and be an affirmation that the bad cycle will soon finish—as nothing is permanent.
However, here’s a fact we tend to miss: when things fall into place again (doesn’t matter after how much time—it could be after weeks, months, or years), we all look at the bad cycle we were in and laugh at ourselves. This happens to me all the time. Whenever a bad cycle finishes, and I enter the good one, I look back and wonder why I spent so much time being worried and distressed.
I look back and laugh so hard at myself, because I didn’t trust that things eventually work out. Funnily enough, most of the time, I realize that what I wanted to happen wasn’t truly what I desired or needed in my life. I have thanked the universe so many times for not listening to the wishes I made while in the throes of a rough patch.
Hence my prayer: when I’m in the midst of chaos, I sincerely ask the universe to make me laugh at myself.
What does this really mean, though?
For one thing, it’s a way of trusting the universe. Bad cycles are a part of life—part of a chain that will also lead to the good.
Asking the universe to make us laugh at ourselves means that we can be hopeful. It’s a way of saying: “Okay, what’s happening in my life right now is happening ‘for’ me, not ‘to’ me.”
Consequently, we relax and shift our focus onto what’s happening in the present moment. We don’t know what’s coming next, but one thing we know for sure is that we’re all heading to wherever we’re meant to be.
Most importantly, asking for this laughter is to believe that the pain we’re going through is transient. “This, too, shall pass.”
We could be going through a breakup, family issues, problems at work, or we might simply be having a bad hair day. No matter how trivial or serious a problem is, remember that in days (or maybe, years), you will be laughing at yourself.
Think back, and recall all the times you worried about something…and watch your present reaction. Notice your chuckle and feel the gratitude in your chest.
It’s all is for the best, I promise.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Unsplash/Brooke Cagle
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Travis May
Social editor: Waylon Lewis