Have I said already how much I love being a clown? Apart from the fun of performing, dressing up, shopping, and making people laugh, I really like the philosophy behind therapeutic clowning. It's being gentle AND strong, and being vulnerable without being a doormat. I'm not sure about circus clowns, who I seem to recall getting quite boisterous with each other, but as a hospital clown, an important part of our clown characters is a certain purity and innocence that will not allow us to hurt anyone's feelings, even each others.
So when I came across the following bit of writing, it struck me that it sums up so nicely what a good clown is. We need more red noses in this world.
"People who feel good about themselves do not exploit others and are not available for exploitation. People who feel good about themselves, far from exhausting or trying the patience of their acquaintances, exhibit a veritable feast of exciting, appealing characteristics that other human beings tend to find irresistible. People who are self-accepting
.. do not exploit others for their gratification
.. have energy
.. are more creative than people who hold themselves in low esteem
.. are tolerant of the changing moods of others
.. learn to live with what they cannot change
.. exude enthusiasm
.. project confidence
.. exult in the successes of their friends without feeling competitive or threatened
.. are sensitive to the needs of others
.. take appropriate risks
.. risk failure in order to find out what they have the right stuff for
.. often have an intriguing sense of depth or mystery about them
.. do not pretend to have all the answers
.. are realistically optimistic
.. do not ridicule the helpless or humiliate the weak
.. tend to make people they spend time with feel good about themselves
.. enjoy helping others and working to develop a sense of community
.. have a sense of purpose and develop the sense of a special mission in life
.. are able to turn their mistakes into lessons and begin anew.
Don't kid yourself; even people who exhibit most, if not all, of the above characteristics suffer periods of despair, disappointment and depression. Bad things do happen to good people, even those with a healthy sense of self-worth. But such people rebound."
- from "Why Love is not Enough" by Sol Gordon, PhD.