Friday, October 26, 2012

The Big Girl's Guide to Managing and Overcoming Embarrassment

The Big Girl Chronicles:  The Big Girl’s Guide to Managing and Overcoming Embarrassment

I am the queen of embarrassment.  Whereas some people have a few moments they can recall where they were made shame, I seem to have made it a way of life.  "The Big Girl's Most Memorable Embarrassing Moments."  Depending upon what degree of embarrassment you experience, the result can seem impossible to live down.  Add to that a witness or two, and that embarrassing moment could become a staple in time that will never be forgotten.  If you’ve found yourself in an embarrassing situation and can’t seem to get past it, don’t continue to beat yourself up about it.  Try applying some of these thoughts to help you manage your feelings about what’s happened.

Try to think about it logically.

Giving the wrong answer in a crowded room has been something we’ve learned at an early age to fear.  How many of us remember that feeling from our school years?  You thought you knew the answer.  You were sure it was the correct answer.  But once you were told you were wrong you were rewarded with laughs and jeers.  This can be considered one of the earliest lessons on embarrassment that we’ve learned to try to avoid altogether by not answering at all.  But wait.  Isn’t the whole point of going to school to learn what you don’t know?  Few people have figured that out, I guess.  So we’ve carried the need to always be right into adulthood.  If this has happened to you as it has me, let me tell you that it’s ok to give an incorrect answer.  More than likely someone else was thinking something similar to your response as well, or something equally as wrong.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  It’s all a part of the learning process.

Remove yourself from the situation. 

It seems embarrassment has such a foothold on some that you feel singled out.  No one else has ever given a wrong answer, or fallen or whatever it is that has put you to shame.  And that simply isn’t true.  I know the shame of embarrassment can seemingly place the burden of shame on your shoulders, but shake it off.  Everyone has had to endure an embarrassing situation.  Yours just happened to have been at that precise moment.

Get over yourself. 

Sometimes we can take ourselves so seriously that we seem to think we are exempt from a little playful teasing.  Learning to laugh with others at something you’ve done can be therapeutic and lessen the feigned severity of the situation.  And as cliché as it sounds, one day you really will look back on the experience and laugh.

Do damage control.

Unfortunately, there are some embarrassing situations that won’t easily be overcome.  To help manage those instances, be assured that no matter what happened you weren’t the first and you won’t be the last.  If there’s anything that you can possibly to do rectify yourself and lessen the severity of the situation, do that.  But most of all, learn from it so that it doesn’t happen again.     

Embarrassing situations are inevitable, but aren’t always to be taken lightly.  Some have been embarrassed to the extent that they can’t see ever moving on.  If your embarrassment has been so devastating that you can’t cope, please seek the help of a mental health professional or someone who can help you through the pain.  If you’ve had an embarrassing situation that hasn’t been quite that severe, consider it a minor inconvenience that you can add to the stories you’ll share with your girlfriends and grandchildren.   

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