Advertising
Advertising

Why Feeling Embarrassed Is a Gift but Not a Burden

Why Feeling Embarrassed Is a Gift but Not a Burden

Embarrassment can strike at any time.

It might be a glass of wine you’ve knocked over, accidentally scratching someone’s iPhone, or even standing on the paw of a friend’s dog!

Careless mistakes like these, can rapidly induce high levels of personal embarrassment.

However…

Embarrassment is a natural response. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

    That’s right. It’s perfectly natural to feel and look embarrassed when you’ve made a blunder.[1]

    Think of it like this: Embarrassment is a non-verbal way of saying that you’re sorry. It also clearly indicates to other people that you don’t normally make this mistake, and you’re certainly not comfortable with it.

    Advertising

    Furthermore, researchers have found that people who are prone to feeling and expressing embarrassment are regarded by others as trustworthy. They’re also more likely to be forgiven for any incident/mistake, than someone who shows no signs of embarrassment.[2]

    It’s fair to say that embarrassment makes us feel bad. However, this feeling can act as a prompter, so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes. In other words, embarrassment can be an effective learning tool.

    Embarrassment shows people that you care.

    As mentioned above, embarrassment can be a valuable tool in learning how to avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly.

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Rita Mae Brown

    Embarrassment can also indicate your emotional openness.

    For example, if you blush easily, this immediately indicates to other people that you’re a sensitive person. And given the choice between dealing with a cold-hearted person, or a sensitive person, I’m sure you can guess who the vast majority of us would choose.

    Personal interactions are vitally important in this world. So, rather than trying to hide your blushes, recognize them as a healthy response to embarrassing situations.

    Advertising

    So, why not make embarrassment your advantage?

    Are you ready to learn the secrets of transmuting embarrassment into its positive counterpart?

    As you’ll see… it’s like turning lead into gold.

    1. When you stay cool in awkward moments, you’re impressive.

    You’ve just started a new job as a manager at a local convenience store. And you’re keen to build a good impression with your staff. Unfortunately for you, the customer from hell has just walked through the door!

    They approach you and immediately begin to aggressively complain about the store, the staff – and even you. It’s a scenario that could easily see you crumble, and lose face with your new staff.

    Luckily, you manage to keep your cool (at least on the outside), and you deal confidently and decisively with the complainer. Your new team are impressed by your calmness and ability to quickly react to a difficult situation.

    2. When you laugh at your mistakes, you look confident.

    Needing a break from your home, you’ve chosen to take your family to Starbucks for some drinks. Your order a couple of lattes, a frappucino and an iced tea. The drinks are prepared and placed on a tray for you to take them to your table.

    As you make your way across the café, you accidentally catch one of your feet on a table leg. The collision is enough to throw you off balance – and for the drinks to slide off the tray and onto the floor!

    Advertising

    It’s an embarrassing situation, for sure.

    Fortunately, you have a well-developed sense of humor, and you’re able to see the funny side in the incident. Instead of getting angry by the event, you’re able to laugh it off. It’s an attractive trait, and one that will likely lead you to getting the drinks replaced for free!

    3. When you’re blushing, you build social bonds.

    You’re no social butterfly, but you’ve agreed to go along to a friend’s housewarming party. Before arriving, you start to feel apprehensive about meeting new people.

    Your friend greets you at their door, asks you to come in, and then (to your horror) starts introducing you to a dozen or more people that you’ve never seen before. Your natural shyness is easy to spot, as your face is blushing, and you’re struggling to keep eye contact with everyone you’re introduced to.

    Now, you may regard your behavior as a bad thing, but to the people meeting you, they’re likely to see you in a favorable light. For example, they’ll probably see you as a sensitive and sympathetic person.

    And one other thing… Researchers have found that ‘blushers’ are better at relationships – as they have higher levels of monogamy and trustworthiness.[3]

    4. When you’re very aware of the first-time of something, you do better.

    You’ve just passed your driving test, and for the first time, you’ll be able to drive on your own (without the aid of an instructor). You’re uneasy and nervous about taking your first solo drive. In this tense mental and emotional state, you’ll have heightened senses which will lead to you take extra care and caution.

    Advertising

    It’s a similar situation when you start a new job. You’re likely to go out of your way to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes – or make a fool out of yourself on your first day. Use this ‘first-time awareness’ to keep you clear from embarrassing situations, or at least to deal quickly and effectively with these situations.

    Just remember that this state should not be your norm. In day-to-day life, you should be relaxed and composed.

    5. When you accepting and enjoy the inevitable, you have a better time.

    It’s your 30th birthday, and your partner has booked a surprise visit to a comedy show.

    While you love comedy, you hate attention.

    As the show moves into full gear, you have a gut feeling that the next comedian is going to pick on you. And he does! He’s heard it’s your birthday, and now he has a whole list of jokes to go through – each of them mocking you relentlessly. You’d love to walk out, but hey, you’re supposed to be having fun!

    The trick to dealing with this embarrassing situation is to accept that it’s happening, and there’s little point fighting against it. Once you shift into this mental state, suddenly the situation won’t seem as bad – and won’t appear to last as long.

    I hope that I’ve been able to give you a fresh perspective on embarrassment.

    You don’t need to be afraid of it. Instead, you can use it as a positive weapon in all of your interpersonal relationships.

    Reference

    [1] Independent: Why Embarrassment Is a Healthy Emotion
    [2] Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Flustered and Faithful: Embarrassment as a Signal of Prosociality
    [3] WikiHow: How to Avoid Blushing

    More by this author

    Craig J Todd

    UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

    30 Refreshing Routines to Boost Your Morning Motivation Characteristics of Critical Thinking (And How to Think Critically) How to Connect With Someone Deeper Within a Short Time One Item That Is Often Absent in Resumes but Extremely Important: Soft Skills What to Do When You Hate Your Job (for Both Who Choose to Stay and Quit)

    Trending in Psychology

    1 Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult? 2 Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality 3 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 4 4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting 5 How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 20, 2020

    Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

    Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

    Hope is not a strategy when it comes to change. Commitment is what is needed to make real change happen. Can people change? Absolutely, but exchanging your excuses for commitment is necessary to get started.

    Human nature leans toward habits, which can become ingrained over the years, but that doesn’t mean habits can be undone.

    The good news is that your personality and behaviors can be changed, but it is up to you. Below are some tips to help you get started with change.

    1. Figure out What You Need to Change

    If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of something you would like to change. That’s great! The first step toward change is acknowledging that you have something you need to change.

    Look at the repeated problems in your life, the issues that seem to come up time and time again. Do you keep gravitating toward the wrong relationships, but you blame the people you are choosing, rather than looking at your problem in the selection process?

    Do you jump from one job to another, yet blame co-workers and bosses, rather than look at what you may be doing to cause problems and dissatisfaction on the job?

    We are creatures of habit, so look at the negative patterns in your life. Then, look inside to see what’s causing these repeated life problems to occur. If you can’t figure it out on your own, consider going to a counselor for better understanding. Once you recognize the area that requires change, you can move to the next step.

    2. Believe That Change Is Indeed Possible

    There are people out there who believe that personality is unchangeable. When confronted with their problem, such as constant negativity, they lash back with “that’s just who I am.” It may be who you are, but does it need to be?

    Change in personality and behaviors is possible. Nobody stays the same from one year to the next, let alone across a decade, so why not move change in the direction that is best for you? Be proactive about the change you want in your life, including the belief that change can occur.

    Advertising

    Look for success stories and people who have changed and done what you so deeply desire to do. Seeing that others have been where you have are and have accomplished the change you desire will help you in your process to accomplish that change.

    3. List the Benefits of This Change

    In order for people to change, they need to buy into the premise that the change is necessary for their betterment. For example, maybe your goal is to be more productive at work. There are many benefits that could come from this, including:

    • Getting more done in a shorter amount of time.
    • Having more time for your family.
    • Getting a promotion
    • Being liked and appreciated by your boss.
    • Being part of the success of the company.

    One of the best ways to help yourself stick to the commitment of change is to make a list of the benefits that the change will bring in your life. Make one list of the benefits for your life and another for your loved ones. Recognizing the full spectrum of benefits, including how your change will affect those closest to you, will help you stick with the process of change.

    When you have moments of weakness, or fail on a particular day or time, then getting back on track becomes easier when you review your list on a regular basis. Posting your “benefits of change” list somewhere where you see it often, such as a bathroom mirror, will help you be reminded of why you are doing what you are doing.

    4. Make a Real Commitment to Change

    Make a commitment to the time frame needed for the change to happen. If you want to lose 50 lbs., then set out a realistic plan of a few pounds per week and a timeline that reflects those goals.

    It will take you a lot longer than a month, but setting realistic goals will help you stick to your commitment. Change happens one day at a time. It is not immediate, but over the course of time because of your dedication and commitment to the process.

    It also helps if you make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.[1]

    People can change using SMART goals

      An example of this would be a person who wants to become an active runner so they can tackle a half marathon. The first step would be to research what other people have done for training plans to achieve this goal.

      Advertising

      Runners World lays out specifics for a beginner to train for a half marathon: “Target the Long Run: Every other week, increase your long run by 1.5 miles until you’re run/walking 13 to 14 miles. On alternate weeks, keep your long run to no longer than three miles. Your longest long run should fall two weeks before your half-marathon. Plan to take about 15 weeks to prepare for the big day.”[2]

      These kinds of specificities will help you create a personalized plan that is achievable and time-bound.

      You can learn more about writing SMART goals here.

      5. Create a Plan of Attack

      You need a set of steps outlined to succeed. This is why 12-step programs are so successful. You can’t simply walk into a meeting and be cured and changed. You need to mentally process the change in order for the change to be lasting and effective.

      Create a plan for your change. Be realistic and investigate what other people have done to change.

      For example, if you are dealing with anxiety and want to change that, then seek out therapy methods to address your problem. Stick with the therapy plan until your change process is complete. Simply hoping the anxiety will someday go away is not a plan.

      6. Commit to Action

      It is wonderful to set a goal for change and to write it down, but if you don’t act, then your mental commitment means nothing. There is no actual commitment unless action follows. To best kick start our change, the key is to act now[3].

      For example, if you committed to lose 50lbs, then now is the time to go join a gym, hire a trainer, and walk into a weight loss clinic to get support. We can make up our mind to be determined to change, but if action does not follow soon thereafter, then you will likely fail.

      If you wait until later that week, you will get caught up in doing your daily routine, things for works, taking care of others, or whatever it may be; there will be distractions that will derail you from taking action later. There is no better time to take action than when you make the decision to change.

      Advertising

      For example, if you decide you want to finally write that book that is in your mind, but you don’t have a working laptop, then go and get a laptop today. Then, set aside an hour each day after work (and on your calendar) so that you can write. Instead of going out with friends after work, you are committing to achieve this goal, and you have time set aside to make that goal happen.

      7. Find a Support System

      When people want to change, finding a support system is key. A great way to find support is through group therapy or support groups. If you have a substance abuse issue, for example, you can find groups that specialize is supporting you through recovery and change.

      If you prefer to find support in the comfort of your own home, then you can look for online support forums and Facebook groups that deal with whatever change you are looking to pursue.

      Your ability to be successful in change is dependent on your ability to dive in; support systems help you with the initial dive and staying committed thereafter. and will help you stay committed to the process. Don’t underestimate the power you have by partnering with others who are seeking the same change.

      8. Get Uncomfortable

      Change should be uncomfortable. You are entering new territory and stepping out of your comfort zone. Your mind and past habits will be resistant to the change, as it is uncomfortable and difficult.

      If you give up because of the discomfort, then you are destined to fail in your pursuit of change. Embrace the discomfort associated with change and recognize that it puts you one step closer to accomplishing your goals.

      9. Stick to the Plan

      When people decide to change, sticking to it is difficult. If you get derailed from your plan, don’t berate yourself. Instead, allow yourself some margin of error and then get back on track.

      You can’t expect to go on a diet without splurging sometimes. The key is “sometimes.” The sooner you get back on track, the more successful you will be in accomplishing your change goals.

      Other researchers on the topic of change believe this process is about dedication and commitment to the change desired in our day to day lives, as Douglas LaBier from the Huffington Post so aptly stated:[4]

      Advertising

      “Change occurs from awareness of what aspects of our personality we want to develop, and working hard to “practice” them in daily life.”

      Here are some tips on sticking to a plan:

      Engage in Self-Reflection

      Reflect on things that have derailed you in the past and problem solve them before they happen.

      Jot down those things that tend to get you off track. Now, list ways to combat the derailments before they happen. For example, if you are wanting to lose weight but you work late hours, then commit to morning workouts.

      If you know that in the past you would continually hit the snooze button and subsequently miss the workouts, then hire a trainer for early morning workouts. You are less likely to miss your workout if you have real money attached to it and someone counting on you to show up. You could also schedule morning workouts with a friend, so you know there is someone showing up and you don’t want to let them down.

      Brainstorm solutions for your past derailments so that this time around you are ready to stick to the plan and the commitment you have made to change.

      Define Your Commitment

      Commitment is a daily mental and physical plight when it comes to change. If your commitment is to lose weight, then be specific about how you are going to achieve your change. For example, you decide you are going to stick to 1,800 calories a day and a 1-hour workout every day.

      Then, write those goals down and chart your daily progress. Hold yourself accountable.

      Final Thoughts

      Can people change? Hopefully, by now, you believe that they can. If you have a sense of commitment and persistence, change is possible with any life experience.

      Start small, create specific goals, and don’t wait to get started. You’ll be amazed how far change will take you.

      More on How to Make Changes in Your Life

      Featured photo credit: Jurica Koletić via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next