A Simple Way To Stop Feeling Embarrassed
Have you ever had one of those moments when you wished the floor would open up and swallow you because you’re feeling embarrassed? Yes, I’m talking about one of those real cringe-worthy embarrassing situations that’s often accompanied by some combination of blushing, sweating or nervous laughter.
It happens to us all.
On a recent confidence course I was running, I nipped to the cloakroom and realised, to my horror, that I’d had a blob of strawberry jam on my face all morning.
I was certainly feeling embarrassed. I was also conscious that I had to go back into the room and face the group.
I figured I had two choices (after I’d wiped the jam off my face)
1. Go back in the room and mention the jam to the group.
2. Ignore it and pretend it never happened.
Either choice meant my embarrassment wouldn’t be cured but the right choice meant I could take action to mitigate it.
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Because we’re human, feeling embarrassed is a natural reaction to something that others may see as unusual about us. It’s a reflective state of mind you find yourself in when you do something out of the ordinary; you then link this activity to the reaction others may have and the perception they form of you. You can’t help it.
Quite often, the more you think about it the worse the feeling of embarrassment becomes; then your mind spirals out of control.
In fact, you’ll struggle to control this state of mind (and stop embarrassment getting the better of you) if you don’t deal with it immediately.
So my advice is to communicate your thoughts and feelings as soon as you can to whoever has witnessed the situation.
With the jam incident, I went straight back into the training room and confidently explained that I’d just realised I’d had jam on my face all morning.
I faced up to it.
This even helped to lighten the mood. It also stopped anyone feeling embarrassed for me. Why? Because I gave people a chance to empathise with me. What’s more, it helped me personally to move on and not get distracted.
This open, honest and confident approach really is the best way to terminate feelings of embarrassment immediately. For me, it works every time. It even works in formal situations. It also has the added advantage of helping to build rapport (and can even inject a degree of humour to the situation).
I believe this to be ‘truly confident’ behaviour. Ultimately, it comes down to self-acceptance. I am a successful personal development coach and author but I accept and know that I make mistakes. Sometimes these are embarrassing. My way of dealing with this is to accept that this is part of me. No one expects me to be perfect.
And actually, everyone else is the same. They have embarrassing situations too. They will empathise with you if you give them a chance. They understand the situation!
But the truth is that most people don’t have a solution. They let the embarrassment fester, and ultimately, that’s bound to distract them. This is the last thing you want to be happening in situations when you need complete focus on the job in hand or you need to come across with confidence.
So talk about it. Let people know that you realise what’s happened. Physically show that you have the confidence to be able to deal with your embarrassment and not let it affect what you’re doing.
This is self-acceptance. This is true self-confidence.
It’s also a fantastic way to turn an embarrassing situation into an opportunity to show self-confidence and character. There’s a positive in everything if you look for it.
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