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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

    More by this author

    Craig J Todd

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

    Need Morning Motivation? 30 Morning Routines to Help You Start Afresh 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) 10 Best Wallets for Men and Women (with RFID-Blocking Technology)

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    Last Updated on May 7, 2019

    How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

    How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

    Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

    The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

    The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

    Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

    People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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      They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

      Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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          1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
          2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
          3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
          4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
          5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

          How to Spot a Wolf

            Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

            Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

            A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

            A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

            Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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            Ask Questions, the More the Better

            There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

            When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

            Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

            They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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            Wolves Are Everywhere

            As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

            Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

            Reference

            [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
            [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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