When I intentionally (or unintentionally) say or do something silly in front of my 7-year-old granddaughter, she gives me that look and exclaims, "Seriously?!?!"
But without the benefit of such instant, honest reminders, our most common error is taking ourselves too seriously. We do this individually (self-centered, egocentric, self-serving, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, narcissistic) and also as members of a group (partisanship, sectarianism, religious exclusivism).
This narrow focus on our 'self' & 'tribe' shows up as: jealousy, gossip, theft, pessimism, cynicism, nihilism, impatience, anger, arguments, shouting, bullying, sabotaging, fighting, racism, sexism, misogyny, ageism, religious intolerance, war, genocide, etc ... in brief, as 'greed, hatred & delusion.'
'Delusion' because these are misguided, dysfunctional expressions of our innocent, universal need for love.
See Chris Germer's 8-minute video: https://www.theawakenetwork.com/chris-germer-shame/
“... most of us seem to experience three stages in the way we relate to others.
Stage 1: … emotional slavery, we believe ourselves responsible for the feelings of others. We think we must constantly strive to keep everyone happy. If they don’t appear happy, we feel responsible & compelled to do something about it. This can easily lead us to see the very people who are closest to us as burdens.
Stage 2: … obnoxious stage, we become aware of the high costs of assuming responsibility for others’ feelings and trying to accommodate them at our own expense. When we notice how much of our lives we’ve missed and how little we have responded to the call of our own soul, we may get angry … we tend toward obnoxious comments like, ‘That’s your problem! I’m not responsible for your feelings!’ when presented with another person’s pain. We are clear what we are not responsible for, but have yet to learn how to be responsible to others in a way that is not emotionally enslaving.
Stage 3: … emotional liberation, we respond to the needs of others out of compassion, never our of fear, guilt, or shame. Our actions are therefore fulfilling to us, as well as to those who receive our efforts. We accept full responsibility for our own intentions & actions, but not for the feelings of others. At this stage, we are aware that we can never meet our own needs at the expense of others. Emotional liberation involves stating clearly what we need in a way that communicates we are equally concerned that the needs of others be fulfilled. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is designed to support us in relating at this level.
Marshall B. Rosenberg. “Nonviolent communication. A language of life.” ed 2. Puddle Dancer Press. 2003.
AND what if all that we experience were just a dream, like ones we experience during sleep? Wouldn't this markedly reduce how seriously we took ourselves & our life? This is exactly what some very wise folks say about reality! Yet to us, this sounds ridiculous because
we've been conditioned from early childhood to be anxious, frightened,
hyper-vigilant perfectionists. Here we have two diametrically opposed
ways of seeing ourselves & life. How we can resolve this quandary is expertly presented in these 2 books:
Robert Wolfe. “Living Nonduality. Enlightenment Teachings of Self-Realization.” Karina Library, 2014.
Robert Wolfe. “Emptiness.” Karina Library, 2020.
“The trouble with the rat race, is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” Lily Tomlin
“Dear ones, you who are trying to learn the miracle of love through the use of reason, I am terribly afraid you will never see the point.” Hafiz
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Joe Klaas
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” Winston S. Churchill