Feeling Like a Fool? The Positive & Negative Roles of the Fool in Your Life

April 1, 2010

It’s April Fool’s Day, a time when people enjoy making a fool of themselves, or love to be fooled.  But, as many of us know, being fooled doesn’t always feel so great.  Sometimes it is, and isn’t fun, to be made a fool of.
In many cultures the fool can be known as the clown and the trickster.  As the clown, the fool invites us to laugh at our troubles, to look on the bright side of life, to lighten up, and not take ourselves too seriously.  The “clown fool” also helps us see our true worth, even when we feel foolish, or fooled, by others. 
As the trickster, the fool reveals to us the ways we lack wisdom making us feel downright stupid. The “trickster fool” has the opposite effect of the “clown fool.”  Instead of feeling better about ourselves, we end up feeling worse.  That is because the “trickster fool” uses the tools primarily of lies and deception, consciously or unconsiously, taking advantage of us somehow.  After an encounter with the “trickster fool” we usually end up feeling deceived, lied to, wounded, bruised, and taken advantage of.  Getting fooled in this way can really hurt.  It may even take years to recover as our energy, trust in others and life, and ability to honor our own wisdom and judgment is seriously depleted. 
So, what are the positive and negative ways to “play the fool” or “cultivate the fool” in your life?  To begin with, if you have fooled somebody in a hurtful, harmful “trickster” way, don’t fool yourself in return.  Pretending as if it was all the person’s fault for being naive and foolish, is only a way of you avoiding responsibility for your own destructive and foolish behaviors.  Be more than the fool.  Take a look at yourself and the hurtful impact you may be having on others, even if unintended.  Wise up, apologize, make amends.  Take time to grow your heart, to empathize with others, to become a more compassionate and wise human being. 
And, what about if you feel like someone has fooled you?  How do you overcome the anger, feeling of betrayal, and hurt?  Once again, be willing to own up to the fool inside you.  Accept the fact that you were naive.  Discern how you were unable or unwilling to see the truth. Be compassionate with yourself for any hurt you sustained.  Then resolve to be less foolish next time around.  Keep your heart open to others, but let your head guide you as well.  As you heal, take time to forgive those who tricked or hurt you.  After all, as stated above, by staying in ignorance, they were only fooling, and hurting themselves, even more than you!
Now, that you have wised up to the “trickster fool,” change course.  Invite the “clown fool” into your life.  Find a safe and healing way to laugh at your own human sorrows and mistakes.  Let others in who will treat you in a loving and playful way, gently or outrageously coaxing a smile and laughter from inside of you.  Let those who really care about you surround you.  Allow them to show you how to play again and get the enjoyment out of life.  There are people out there who do have your best intentions at heart, who are willing to be there for you in life, who will be loving companions and friends, and who know how to use their “fool” energy in a healthy and healing way as they reveal to you the radiant and beautiful human being you are.    
Happy Fools Day to all of you!
Dr. Lisa Love


Copyright © 2010 by Lisa Love. All Rights Reserved.

P.S.  Want some great humor?  Visit the website of one of my favorite “fools” and a good friend of mine, Steve Bhaerman, aka Swami Beyondananda at http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/