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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 April 1, 2019

    How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

    How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

    When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

    But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

    It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

    Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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    Video Summary

    Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

    Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

    In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

    No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

    When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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    You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

    Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

    It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

    So what can we do?

    First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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    To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

    It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

    Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

    Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

    What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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    But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

    Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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