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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Laugh Now, Cry Later

 

In my youth, there were two common phrases I’d often hear from multiple people which had the same meaning. “Smile now, cry later” and “laugh now, cry later” were meant to suggest that one could enjoy the present moment and endure consequences at a later time.

 

For instance, when attending house parties in adolescence and observing substance use/abuse by other teens, these sayings were trotted out to excuse poor decisions in the moment (e.g., alcohol consumption) which led to unpleasant consequences at a later time (i.e., hangover).

 

These dictums were often represented by the comedy and tragedy masks of theatre. For instance, the masks may represent the consequences of hallucinogen use/abuse. As an example, psilocybin mushrooms may produce joy or fear.

 

Wise from her experience in life, which apparently included substance use/abuse, my late stepmom also had an expression that served as a response to the “laugh now, cry later” axiom. She stated, “The same thing’ll make you laugh’ll make you cry.”

 

As an example, alcohol intake—though perhaps enjoyable at one moment—could be the very thing that would cause one to feel ill. Whether pertaining to the perspectives of society or regarding wisdom of my stepmom, I think about these aphorisms through a separate lens.

 

Viewing the adages through the perspective of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I think of the ABC model. Per this psychotherapeutic viewpoint, when an Action occurs and a person Believes something about the occurrence, it’s the assumption and not the event itself that causes a Consequence.

 

This Belief-Consequence (B-C) connection can be unhelpful, helpful, or neutral. To better understand the “laugh now, cry later” aspect of the B-C connection, consider the following examples:

 

Example 1 –

Your longtime friend suddenly stops answering your calls and responding to your texts (Action). You unhelpfully Believe, “I can’t stand the thought of our friendship ending, because it would be awful to lose this person!” As a result of your unproductive attitude, you experience fear (Consequence).

 

Example 2 –

Your longtime friend suddenly stops answering your calls and responding to your texts (Action). You helpfully Believe, “Although I don’t want to lose this friendship, people often drift apart. Therefore, I can tolerate the process of giving my friend space.” As a result of your productive attitude, you experience acceptance (Consequence).

 

Example 3 –

Your longtime friend suddenly stops answering your calls and responding to your texts (Action). You neutrally Believe, “I have no idea what’s going on, so I’ll give it some time and see how this turns out.” As a result of your impartial attitude, you experience curiosity (Consequence).

 

Notice that in each of these examples, the Action didn’t change. This is because the same thing that will make you laugh, or which will make you cry, doesn’t stem from the event. In this regard, the laugh/cry element is correlated with, though not caused by, the Action.

 

From an REBT perspective, the Belief in each of the examples is what caused the Consequence. Therefore, the B-C connection is what’ll make you laugh or what’ll make you cry, per the wisdom of my late stepmom.

 

Herein, I’ve given physical world examples of cause and effect (i.e., substance use/abuse). As well, I’ve provided psychological influence of cause and effect (i.e., B-C connection).

 

While one may enjoy the present moment and endure consequences at a later time, I hope to have demonstrated that the assumptions we use are what make a significant difference regarding this matter. So, what’s it going be? Do you want to laugh now, cry later, or remain neutral?

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 



 

References:

 

Hollings, D. (2023, September 13). Acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/acceptance

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2022, December 2). Low frustration tolerance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/low-frustration-tolerance

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-abc-model

Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-b-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2023, February 16). Tna. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/tna

Hollings, D. (2022, November 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat

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