How to Overcome Embarrassment

This is a guest post by Brigitte Zonta.

As a man, shame and embarrassment is one of the most powerful, master emotions you encounter. You have all experienced some cringe worthy moments, said the wrong thing in a group of people, told a really bad joke, been the reason for your friends laughter or even experienced Mr. Boner at the wrong time.

There is a reason why you say I’m “dying of embarrassment” during these times, it’s because while you’re in the middle of an embarrassing episode, dying really does seems like the better option. When you’re embarrassed you feel somewhat uneasy, maybe ashamed, somewhat humiliated and kind of self-conscious. On the surface we don’t normally classify embarrassment as a fear, but it’s important to look at it in this way.
This could be due to one of two things, the fear that you’re not good enough or that you are perceived as week. Most often for men it’s that internal dialogue they have with themselves, I’m not wealthy enough, tough enough, or smart enough. Men are often afraid to make themselves vulnerable for fear of looking weak.

A lot of the time feeling embarrassed has everything to do with something you did that has now become public knowledge, or you’re caught doing something that is socially unacceptable.
These events can often make you feel incredibly uncomfortable and self-conscious. It can be difficult to bear and it plays in your mind over and over. You are now open to judgment, ridicule, rejection and criticism. All of a sudden it seems as though embarrassment is the only emotion you have to deal with.
So what tips can make you better during these times? Or what can you do to prepare yourself for the dreaded slip up?

1- Be strong in your stance as a man.

What does that mean?Well it means you have to be clear about what your values are. When you stand solidly in your values you don’t get knocked down, even when you are getting knocked around. It makes your emotional and psychological muscle strong. If you are to spend your days performing, pleasing and being perfect the only thing you will create is an internal world of resentment, grief, judgment and anger. No human is immune from these moments. Just like a kidney stone, it’s painful but it will pass and then you can relax.

Well it means you have to be clear about what your values are. When you stand solidly in your values you don’t get knocked down, even when you are getting knocked around. It makes your emotional and psychological muscle strong. If you are to spend your days performing, pleasing and being perfect the only thing you will create is an internal world of resentment, grief, judgment and anger. No human is immune from these moments. Just like a kidney stone, it’s painful but it will pass and then you can relax.

2. Stay in the present.

If you were feeling embarrassed, its past tense. It has already taken place; so theoretically, it’s in the past. When you stay present and let the feelings of embarrassment slide like water of a ducks back, it allows you to shake it off and stay in the moment. Now, I know this is hard when you’re feeling the psychological symptoms of embarrassment. That knot twisting gut feeling at play but if you can remember for even a minute here to pull your attention to the present, you will be relieved of the needless torment.

3. Apologizing will keep you in the past…

Sometimes when we do something silly or embarrassing you just intuitively want to say sorry! And sometimes you say sorry way too many times. Apologizing is not going to be your answer to recovering from an embarrassing moment. Apologizing keeps the attention on the embarrassing moment. Say sorry just the once if you feel the need too, but then let it go. When you keep saying sorry, your attention and everyone around you is focused on the past and not the present.

4. Be authentic

If you are an “in the closet” with your emotions and personality type of guy, then the likelihood of you feeling embarrassed is doubled. You can slip up and without realizing show a part of yourself that no one knows. This could create laughter or chatter at your expense. When you show up as you, and you do “you” very well the embarrassing moments are far and few between. Especially that you have given people the opportunity to get to know the real you, so some of your flaws, twirk’s and bad habits are to be expected.

5. Remember past humiliation, did you survive?

Remember all the times you felt like you were going to die with embarrassment and then notice that you’re still here! In reality, the only one that remembers the embarrassing moments forever is you!
People are too worried about their own embarrassing moments to keep tabs on yours. Keep things in perspective.

remember past humiliation

6. Don’t hide!

It’s the first thing you want to do after that embarrassing moment. But hiding will only make it awkward for you later; it keeps you dragging out the situation longer than it needs too. Own it, laugh it off, feel embarrassed and then continue to do what you were doing. Feeling embarrassed is temporary; it will pass if you let it.

7. Make it cocktail party material.

Laugh at it! This one sounds easy in hindsight, but you don’t have many more options. It will make a great cocktail-party conversation and some funny icebreaker material.

Don’t take yourself so seriously, do you think no one on the planet has lived through what you have just experienced. It happens to the best of us. The best way to knock you out of your “sensitivity cave” is to laugh it off with a best mate. It’s like magic, you laugh about it and suddenly you’re not so afflicted by the whole dilemma anymore.

All in all, we will make mistakes, be embarrassed and at some point be the laughing stock of our friends. What you need to learn, are ways to be resilient when these situations come up. The best way to gain emotional muscle during embarrassing times is to keep pushing through those moments. You get better at them! Just like training at the gym, it’s the repetition and pushing past the last rep that gives you the most growth.

Brigitte Zonta is a coaching psychologist and relationship expert based in Sydney. With over ten years experience both nationally and internationally, Brigitte offers her clients the opportunity to consult one on one in Sydney, by phone or online for both national and international clients. You can contact Brigitte at [email protected] or visit her at www.brigittezonta.com and Facebook @brigittezonta1.