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A Detailed Breakdown of the 6 Types of Facepalmed Moments We All Have Experienced

A Detailed Breakdown of the 6 Types of Facepalmed Moments We All Have Experienced

Imagine you’ve been chosen for a part in your local amateur theatre production of “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.

Weeks of rehearsals leave you ready to take to the stage. On opening night, the curtain rises as you wait eagerly in the wings for your moment to walk into the spotlight.

As you step purposely towards the center of the stage, disaster strikes… You’ve miscalculated the height of the stage riser, and in the space of a second, you’ve fallen flat on your face – right in front of the audience!

Embarrassment is one word for it. Humiliation is another.

We can’t avoid an embarrassing moment, so deal with it.

Embarrassing situations can actually change how we behave in the years ahead.

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As an example, if you were an inferior sports player at school, you’ve probably learned to avoid competitive sports as an adult. This would be especially true if your school ‘friends’ had mocked your sporting ability. (Kids can be cruel!)

Clearly, embarrassment can be a major factor in how we conduct and live our lives.

Given that you’ll always encounter embarrassing situations, it makes complete sense to learn how to cope with these situations. The first step in doing this, is to understand the different types of embarrassment that we all come across in our day-to-day lives.

Yes, there really are 6 different types of embarrassment.

You’ve probably not given embarrassment a lot of thought. In fact, you’ve probably tried to forget all about it!

However, if you’re going to deal with embarrassment, then it’s important to understand the different types of it.

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1. When your privacy is violated.

Having your privacy violated can be a terrible thing. For example, imagine if your personal photos were stolen by hackers and posted publicly for all to see. Your reputation could be tarnished, and you may lose face among your friends and family.

2. When you don’t know something.

I’m sure you wouldn’t be tempted to do this, but… Many people exaggerate their skills, knowledge and experience on their resume. When writing, they may be comfortable with ‘spinning’ their words. However, a tough interview can quickly reveal their lies and deception. Shame, guilt and embarrassment are all easy to spot on the human face.

3. When you’re being criticized.

Do you remember the first time you asked someone out on a date? No doubt, you spent weeks building up the courage to speak to the person of your dreams. When the perfect time arrived, you pushed yourself beyond all limits and asked your crush if they’d like to go out with you. Unfortunately for you… they appeared to smirk, before saying: “No thanks!” A devastatingly embarrassing situation for you. (And one that you may not have ever fully recovered from.)

4. When you do something awkward.

I used to work in a trendy office that overlooked the River Thames in London. We were lucky enough to have our own patio right down to the water’s edge. It was paradise. However… one day my manager was talking on his cell phone while strolling around the patio. Caught up in his phone conversation, he walked too close to the patio edge. I remember looking across at him, right at the moment he fell into the river! His phone was lost, and he was completely soaked. I’m not sure that he ever managed to live that moment down.

5. When your image is not what you want.

Have you noticed how everyone seems to be obsessed with aging? By this, I’m referring to our futile attempts to hold back the hands of time. It seems to start with teenage girls. In most cases, they seem to never want to grow up. Post-teenage years, and you’ve reached the stage where virtually everyone is trying to stay young forever. I won’t name names, but I’ve several male friends who due to being embarrassed about their hair going gray – now regularly dye their hair. Of course, there are much more extreme actions than this. Think of the growing popularity of plastic surgery.

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6. When you don’t feel like fitting in.

I’m sure you’ve heard of culture shock.[1] This happens to the majority of people who move to live abroad. While the first few weeks may be okay. After that, they start to find themselves caught up in frustrating and embarrassing situations caused by the new culture they’ve immersed themselves in. As an example. some cultures require women to cover themselves at the beach. Other countries are much more relaxed, with some even allowing nudity.

If we all feel embarrassed anyway, why not turn it to our advantage?

Have you considered that embarrassment could be a positive thing?

It’s true. With the right reactions on your part, embarrassing situations can definitely be turned to your advantage.

Let’s look now at a few ways that you can do this.

Downplay the Moment

Do you remember President Obama attempting to enter the White House (while being filmed by dozens of rolling cameras) only to find himself locked out of his usual entrance. For sure, a highly embarrassing situation for him. However, he didn’t let the situation phase him. Instead, he coolly walked a few meters to the next doorway – which was unlocked. You can use this trick too. Rather than turning an embarrassing situation into something even worse. Play it cool.

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Change the Channel

You’ve accidentally offended one of your friends by making an inappropriate joke. What can you do to fix this? Well, an apology is certainly a good idea in this case. However, it’s important to move the situation on as quickly as possible. You can do this, by changing the conversation to something completely different. Just make sure that it’s something that your friend is genuinely interested in.

Stop Replaying the Embarrassment

If only I hadn’t done that. If only I hadn’t said that. If only, if only, if only… Stop! By replaying embarrassing situations, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Mistakes happen, but that doesn’t mean we need to torture ourselves by endless repeating them in our minds. Instead, always try to focus on the now, or on a positive goal. The other trick to stop your mind replaying embarrassing moments, is to keep your mind busy with productive thoughts.

Laugh at Yourself

A 2011 study[2] found that having the ability to laugh at yourself was a sign of an optimistic personality. It makes sense, as pessimistic people seldom seem to laugh at themselves (they’re too busy being miserable!). When it comes to handling embarrassing situations like tripping in public, then being able to laugh at yourself will serve you well. Not only will others respond positively to your behavior – but you’ll also feel much less embarrassed.

Just Go Ahead and Blush

Embarrassment has physical side effects such as blushing. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you blush when you realize you’ve made a mistake, others will immediately see that you’re a warm-hearted and emotional person. These are positive traits, that will endear people to you. For example, imagine that you’ve accidentally short-changed a cashier at a local store. You were on your way out of the store, when you heard them say… “Excuse me, but you haven’t paid the right amount.” If you look embarrassed, and you blush strongly, then the cashier will know immediately that you’ve made an honest mistake.

So, now you know the different types of embarrassment, and how best to deal with them.

Use this knowledge, and start making your life happier and more successful.

Reference

More by this author

Craig J Todd

Freelance Writer helping businesses and people to thrive.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2]Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3]Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4]Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5]Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6]The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7]Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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