How to Get Over Being Embarrassed: 10 Pro Tips
Embarrassment is a common emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives. However, is it completely beyond our control? Can we learn how to get over being embarrassed?
Whether it’s tripping and falling in front of a crowd or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, embarrassment can strike anytime, anywhere.
The good news is that there are ways to regain your courage and transform that embarrassment into confidence. In this article, we’ll explore ten pro tips on how to get over being embarrassed and reclaim your sense of self-worth. So, buckle up and get ready to emerge stronger than ever before!
What is Embarrassment?
Embarrassment is an emotional state associated with mild to severe levels of discomfort, and is usually triggered by actions that lead to an individual feeling foolish or caught off guard. This self-conscious emotion arises out of the perceived scrutiny or judgement of others, often causing a desire to hide or disappear.
What’s intriguing about embarrassment is that, while it is often viewed negatively, it serves a number of important social functions. Studies suggest that exhibiting embarrassment can actually increase others’ perception of your trustworthiness.
It’s a powerful social tool that signals your recognition of a social faux pas and your commitment to group norms. Also, contrary to popular belief, not everyone experiences embarrassment in the same way or to the same degree. It can be influenced by myriad factors such as cultural norms, individual personality traits, and the specific context in which the situation occurs.
Why is Embarrassment So Uncomfortable?
Embarrassment is particularly uncomfortable because it involves a public exposure of our mistakes or missteps. This exposure can lead to a perceived loss of social status and self-esteem, as we feel we are being judged negatively by others.
We may worry that others will see us as less competent, less likable, or less worthy as a result of the embarrassing incident. This fear of negative judgement, also known as ‘social anxiety’, is what makes embarrassment so deeply unsettling.
Thus, when we commit a faux pas that threatens this image, we instinctively attempt to avoid the embarrassment in order to preserve our social standing and our self-esteem. This is why we often go to great lengths to avoid potentially embarrassing situations, even if it means missing out on certain opportunities.
It’s a defense mechanism that, while it might protect us from immediate discomfort, can limit our personal growth in the long run.
Examples of Embarrassment
While the causes of embarrassment may vary from person to person, some common examples include:
- Tripping in Public: This is one of the most common examples of an embarrassing moment. Tripping over your own feet or an unseen object in a crowded place can quickly attract attention and cause a blush of embarrassment.
- Spilling Food or Drink: Spilling your coffee on your shirt during an important meeting, or dropping your dinner plate at a party can be mortifying.
- Forgetting Names: Forgetting someone’s name, especially someone you’ve met more than once, can be a highly embarrassing situation.
- Unintentionally Offending Someone: We all occasionally put our foot in our mouth and say something that unintentionally offends or hurts someone else. The realization can be a definite cause of embarrassment.
- Public Speaking Fails: Stumbling over your words, forgetting your lines, or freezing up during a public presentation can induce feelings of embarrassment.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: Wardrobe malfunctions can be very embarrassing, especially when they happen in public.
- Answering Incorrectly in Class or at Work: Giving a wrong answer confidently when called upon in a class or a meeting can lead to embarrassment.
- Email or Text Mishaps: Sending a message to the wrong person or accidentally hitting ‘reply all’ on a private email can be a source of deep embarrassment.
- Accidental Noise: From a loud stomach growl in a quiet room to an unexpected sneeze during a solemn event, our bodies can sometimes betray us with embarrassing noises.
- Being the Center of a Joke: Getting teased or pranked, especially in front of others, can lead to feeling embarrassed.
These are just a few examples of common embarrassing situations that we’ve all likely experienced at some point in our lives. But the good news is, there are ways to cope with and overcome these feelings.
Should We Feel Ashamed After Being Embarrassed?
Shame and embarrassment, although closely related, are two distinct emotions. While both involve a perceived loss of respect or esteem from others, they differ in their intensity and scope.
Embarrassment is usually a response to a minor social faux pas, a small mistake or awkward moment that momentarily disrupts our positive self-image. It’s a fleeting emotion, typically fading as the memory of the incident fades.
On the other hand, shame is a far more intense and enduring emotion. It stems from actions or behaviors that we believe reflect badly on our character as a whole. Unlike embarrassment, which is tied to specific incidents, shame can pervade our entire self-perception, making us feel fundamentally flawed or unworthy.
It’s important to differentiate between these emotions because their implications for our wellbeing are significantly different. While both can be uncomfortable, the transitory nature of embarrassment often makes it easier to cope with.
How to Get Over Being Embarrassed
Overcoming embarrassment is a process that takes time and effort. However, with practice, you can learn to handle these awkward moments with grace and resilience. Here are ten pro tips for getting over being embarrassed:
- Accept it: It’s natural to feel embarrassed, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Acknowledge the emotion and allow yourself to experience it without judgement.
- Look at the big picture: Your embarrassing moment may seem like a big deal to you. However, it’s likely not as significant to others. They’ve all had their fair share of awkward moments too!
- Practice self-compassion: Instead of criticizing yourself, practice self-compassion and remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes.
- Laugh it off: Sometimes, the best way to get over an embarrassing moment is to laugh at yourself. It shows that you can handle the situation with grace and humor.
- Reframe the experience:Try to reframe it as a learning opportunity instead of a shameful experience.
- Focus on the present: When we’re feeling embarrassed, our minds tend to replay the moment over and over again. Instead, try to focus on your surroundings and be present in the here and now.
- Improve your self-talk: Pay attention to how you talk to yourself after an embarrassing moment. Practice using more positive and encouraging language.
- Learn from it: Use the experience as a learning opportunity. What could you have done differently? How can you avoid similar situations in the future?
- Seek support: Don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support and validation. Talking about your feelings can help put things into perspective.
- Move on: Lastly, remember that everyone makes mistakes and embarrassing moments are a natural part of life. Don’t let one incident define you or hold you back from future experiences. Take a deep breath and move on with confidence.
Remember, feeling embarrassed is a universal experience and nothing to be ashamed of. With these tips in mind, you can learn to handle these moments with resilience and self-compassion.
Embarrassment and Self-Esteem
Embarrassment and self-esteem share a complex and often reciprocal relationship. Embarrassing situations can impact our self-esteem depending on how we perceive and internalize them.
When such incidents are viewed as reflections of our abilities or worth, they can chip away at our self-esteem. This, in turn, can make us feel less competent or valuable. Conversely, our level of self-esteem can influence how we experience embarrassment.
People with high self-esteem may be more resilient to the discomfort of embarrassment. They view such incidents as isolated events that do not define their worth. In my book, Life After Low Self-Esteem, I discuss practical strategies for boosting self-esteem and building resilience to embarrassing moments.