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.
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.
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.
6. When you don’t feel like fitting in.
I’m sure you’ve heard of culture shock. 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.
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 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.
|||^||InterNations: What Is Culture Shock?|
|||^||The Huffington Post: It’s Seriously A Good Idea To Laugh At Yourself, Science Confirms|