I am not sure what it is but many of us take ourselves far too seriously, and this shows in the amount of stress we have in our daily lives.
Often I find people develop the habit of being over serious. I think something happens to some people when they hit adulthood. Life is not all fun and games, but NO fun and NO games! Everything is taken SO literally and everything is QUITE serious—including other people!
I have worked with clients who would take every person, every conversation, every situation in their life SO seriously to the point it was causing them much distress. The truth is most things in life are NOT that serious.
Often to give some perspective to these clients, I employ clients to use the 10/10/10 rule:
-Will this matter in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?
These questions help to give some distance and thus some perspective to whatever it is that is on our mind.
Here’s the thing-serious people are not necessarily suffering depression or unhappy. They simply live their lives with a default position of soberness. A serious person often does not laugh or smile easily. They do not joke around or make light of situations. Often this approach to life can make others uncomfortable especially those who don’t take themselves quite so seriously.
Being too serious can arise from being guarded, anxious, or from living in a scarcity mindset. Being seriousness might give the person the false illusion that they are protecting themselves from disappointment or hurt with their “realistic” expectations and “serious” demeanor. They often see themselves as the adult in the room, the pragmatist–certainly not a dreamer!
Yet when we take ourselves seriously, we take others seriously, too—that’s why their words, opinions, and beliefs can hurt us. You are also likely to misjudge other people’s reaction if you are too serious about everything. A serious attitude makes it difficult to connect with others. When you stop taking everything so seriously, you make more genuine connections that can have a positive influence on your life.
My advice for clients who are struggling with a sense of over seriousness? Get out of your own head. All that overthinking is not worth your sanity. Try to stop taking everything so seriously and witness the difference that makes in your life. Go for whatever you have always wanted, but make sure to have fun in the process.
By learning how to spread some lightness into your life, you can stop being too serious and spend more time enjoying life.
The goal? Live and let live.
If you enjoyed this article and are interested in seeking counseling with me:
Erin Doyle Theodorou, M.Ed, LPC, NCC
Theodorou therapy, LLC
590 Franklin Ave.
Nutley, NJ 07110