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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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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

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    Craig J Todd

    Freelance Writer helping businesses and people to thrive.

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    Last Updated on February 19, 2019

    Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

    Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

    No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

    People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

    But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

    If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

    Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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    Pain Is Our Guardian

    Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

    In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

    Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

    While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

    Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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    No Pain, No Happiness

    You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

    In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

    In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

    This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

    Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

    Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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    This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

    Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

    Allow Room for the Inevitable

    Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

    Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

    “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

    Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

    The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

    While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

    Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

    Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

    To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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    You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    [1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
    [2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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