A List of some uncomfortable emotions
This article is based solely on opinion and experience. I have decided to not ponder on what I am about to write and not worry about editing it over and over again until I think it is worth posting. So, please forgive any dissonance or disorganization.
My best pieces or word choice come to me at the most inconvenient times, when I neither have a laptop with me, pen and paper, or an audio recorder. So today, I recorded my thoughts on my phone and am about to transcribe them here. It is going to take a lot of willpower to not go back on what I am typing and revise, and edit, and change my thoughts. But I will try.
The first emotion I am going to write about today is embarrassment. I am going to more refer to embarrassment in terms of what we think we have done wrong or embarrassment from something we have been conditioned to feel weird or awkward about because of past experiences.
It’s important to be comfortable with embarrassment, to know where that feeling comes from. Usually we repress it and we try to avoid doing things that we think are going to embarrass us. Why? Is it because of something we experienced at a younger age or we were laughed at or someone made us feel bad for something that just happened. Embarrassment is usually because you made a mistake according to others, you made a mistake in front of others according to you, and you feel silly or feel stupid.
It’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes.
I often feel that things I used to feel embarrassed about I was conditioned to feel embarrassed about. How? Kids in school laughed or scoffed at something, movies, grown-ups. But where did they get this idea? Most things we think are embarrassing are internalized because of years of conditioning from societal and familial values, norms, and behaviours. It just is so … we were taught that certain things are not appropriate, that we just made a big mishap, did something dumb or careless, and for some reason, some of us think that we are the only ones who ever do this or that or who this happens to.
I am a thinker. If you look at the “about me” section of the Ban the Shame website, you will read that I am a self-proclaimed over-thinker. Thus, it is only ordinary for me to think and ask myself these questions, “Wait. Why did that embarrass me? Why did I feel ashamed, embarrassed, awkward, exposed? Is it just me? Ugh. Why did I turn so red?”
I began to realize that I personally felt embarrassment because I cared about what people around me were thinking or thought about what happened or what they would say. I was embarrassed because I was taught that it was something I should feel embarrassed about.
I made a stupid, careless mistake.
I began to realize that I could change how I felt or how I reacted to a particular “embarrassing” situation. The more forgiving I was to myself in the moment, the less likely I was to feel ashamed or silly. I actually don’t think that certain scenarios are a big deal, but because others witness them, I fall into the trap of really caring what they will think or say about me.
I began to tell myself that I am unique and different, and thus some silly or clumsy things are part of who I am. I began to accept that some silliness or “mistakes” or “mishaps” that are considered “embarrassing” are just me being me. And if others don’t appreciate or realize the beauty in diversity…then who cares.
I accept and love who I am.
I also began to ask myself the questions: Who made these “rules”? By whose standards am I living? What have I learned from a young age from people around me that I can un-learn? Are there any “shoulds” involved here? For example, are there things we “should” feel embarrassed about? Personally, I have tried my best to cut “should” out from my vocabulary because it implies there are standards….but whose? So when I realized I didn’t “have” to feel embarrassed about certain things and that I could change my reaction, rejecting society’s or people’s opinions or perspectives, I was finally living by my own standards.
I also asked myself: What can feeling embarrassment really say about how I feel and think about myself? I realized it was self-consciousness, insecurity, lack of confidence, fear that others are listening and watching what I am doing and commenting in their minds. It was and can be a reflection of my inner most feelings about me: you’re silly, you’re weird, you’re awkward.
So I decided that I needed to work on that. I just tripped over that garbage can on my way into the conference room. So what. Everyone trips. A couple of people are on the dance floor and I love to dance. But everyone will be watching me and it’s embarrassing. So what. I go out there sober, people, and I have fun. I just spilled some ketchup on my blouse, and I am out all day with this blouse on. Who cares. People spill stuff on themselves all the time. I am sure we all have at one point in our lives!
I don’t know how to do this “simple” thing…again…by whose standards? It’s fine. You’re not born knowing how to do everything and it is unfair for others to think you should know how to do something. You do things how you were taught or what way works best for you.
I don’t know that piece of information. That must mean I am not educated enough, I am stupid, and I don’t know about the right things. Wrong. You are who you are. You know what you know. You’re a product of your environment and access, or lack thereof, of resources. You make your own choices about where to go and what to do, and you learn different things on that trajectory than what others learn on their trajectories in life. Life and life experiences teach us and not all the same things. I am pretty sure we don’t have total control over that.
So, all in all, I have become comfortable with being uncomfortable with…embarrassment. As I always write, “I am not perfect.” Therapy helped and still helps a lot, as well as the insight and honesty of family and friends.
I do think I think too much. But I am glad sometimes that I do because it allows me to self-reflect and question norms, standards, and beliefs about myself and others. I have become a lot more comfortable, confident, and secure in who I am. Although there are some things I am still self-conscious about, it definitely does not compare to the discomfort I experienced in years past.
I have put into daily practice and try to live with the assertion that it does not matter what I may do, what I might say, and what might happen that is silly or “embarrassing.” None of that has any effect on my worth and significance. Further, my mishaps may not be mishaps at all if I live by my own standards. Those moments say nothing about who I am, and they do not affect my intelligence, attractiveness, or effectiveness. There is freedom in really believing this!
If you ever feel like you’ve done something silly or begin to worry about what others might say or think…say “SO WHAT”.
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Shame and humiliation contributed a great deal to my depression. When I started a webpage and began writing, I said I would share my journey through life in relation to my emotional, mental, and spiritual health, and this post addresses some of that. Shame broke me down and I felt broken, worthless, unworthy, useless, and ashamed. Humiliation played a part, too. Although I don't share details of personal stories in this post, I do share what helped me overcome shame. It IS possible to overcome shame and there is hope for finding love for life and ourselves again. #difficult emotions #emotionalwellness #mentalhealth #shame #humiliation #overcome #depression #depressionsupport #anxiety #broken #ashamed #hope
What do you think?
Do you agree or disagree with the author? Do you have any comments or challenges to this piece? There are times when things are cringe-worthy; YouTube shows plenty of these moments. Do you have any advice for people who experience these moments and how to get over that? To you, what is most “embarrassing” and who ever said that was so?Why do you think you react and feel that way?