You know her Celine. You know her Liza. You know her as well — funny lady Jessica Holmes, star of The Holmes Show and a member of CBC’s Royal Canadian Air Farce, knows how to make us laugh. Even if that means sharing red-faced moments in her book I Love Your Laugh: Finding the Light in My Screwball Life.
Today, Holmes, who’s about to launch a new phase in her life by pursuing her life-coaching certification with a focus on positive psychology, shares her thoughts on happiness and laughter with us.
Q: You share a lot in your book, including some embarrassing moments. Is there happiness in embarrassment?
A: Oh yeah! I had to learn to find the happiness in embarrassment. I like to take chances and say yes in life and the more chances that you take, the more you are going to fall on your face. I had to learn to become really proud of trying hard and failing, and being able to laugh at myself just freed me to try anything.
I did a show at a comedy club with about 400 people in the audience and it was the worst bomb ever of my life. And it was so liberating because afterward I was thrilled to think ‘Oh my gosh. If that’s the worst thing that can ever happen to me as a performer, that was nothing. It wasn’t so bad.’ It felt really good to realize while death is the ultimate rock bottom, anything short of that is fine. You bounce back.
Q: Do you have a particularly happy moment in your life you can share with us?
A: We wanted to keep up with the Joneses and bought a cottage a few years ago. And it was very obvious to us that we are not cottage people: we don’t know how to fix plumbing, we are completely grossed out by bugs, all that stuff.
And so we decided instead to get this rinky dink RV. So we sold the cottage, bought an RV and have learned to embrace the corniness of it. We now go around in flip flops and go to corn husking festivals and things like that. So from a vacation standpoint, true happiness came from realizing that other people’s standards don’t have to be my standards. And I’m thrilled when I’m in the RV because it’s so completely carefree. It’s total country bumpkin but that’s my happiness.
Q: How can our readers help find happiness in their lives?
A: I’m going back to school this summer to learn about positive psychology coaching and in reading up on it, they talk about how circumstances don’t ever bring true happiness. We go back to being happy before those circumstances — that’s why when winning the lottery doesn’t bring true happiness, or changing houses doesn’t do it.
The only way you can actually up your happiness is by doing practises every day that improve positive psychology — things like going for a walk, socializing with your friends, writing down what you’re grateful for, that kind of thing. When I remember, I try to do this. And it’s amazing that the second you start to pay attention to what you’re grateful for, this happiness momentum builds and all of the sudden your eyes are open to all of the things in the world that make you happy that you haven’t really thought of before. It’s not making grand changes — it’s the teeny tiny changes that give us happiness that lasts.
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