Anyone and everyone has, at some point in their life,
felt really embarrassed about something. According to research, embarrassment really is a trigger and because of this, it can be very powerful. If someone knows just how they can knock you off your pedestal or soap box, they can use it to their advantage. Embarrassment is an emotion that can be debilitating. Especially because once it sets in, you pretty much have to wait for it to work its way out of your system. In many cases, this means sort of talking yourself back away from the ledge of embarrassment.
"Embarrassment can be anxiety provoking, but it is also a very helpful self-corrective tool," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist, relationship coach, and creator of
Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, tells Bustle. "Most of the time it is based on our own standards, expectations, insecurities, and past hurt. Once we address the source, we can reduce the amount of embarrassment we feel."
Because embarrassment is an emotion, as Silva points out, it is something over which we have control. Although we may not be able to stop the action or words that
cause the embarrassment, we can at least take that feeling, work with it, and wiggle our way out of it once we realize the "why" and "how" of it.
Here are seven mental tips to calm you down when embarrassment hits.
"When you try your hardest to live up to other people’s expectations of you, you fail you," says Silva. "The next time you feel embarrassed by other people’s perception of you, ask yourself 'am I not deserving of my own happiness?'"
While there's no denying that failure is part of life, it can still be embarrassing to fail at anything. But failure, as Silva points out, is often steeped in the
expectations of others. Once you understand that and put your expectations for yourself first, you can put that embarrassment into perspective and handle it better.
Remind Yourself That Failure Can Be A Good Thing
As much as it might be embarrassing,
failure is a good thing. All successful people have failed at things, both big and small. So if it's not the expectations of others that have caused your embarrassment but, instead, the expectations you have for yourself, remember that without failure, you can't grow and learn.
"Sometimes embarrassment has to do with your own fear of failure and perfectionism," says Silva. "Ironically, perfection depends entirely on the
standards you set and on the expectations you have of yourself."
According to Silva, not only do you grow and learn from those failures, but it's these, along with all your other mistakes, that create self-confidence. Every time you're embarrassed, you're one step closer to mastering the art of true confidence.
Try Putting The Blame On Your Insecurities
Although no one ever said passing the buck was a good thing, if you can see that your embarrassment is the result of your insecurities, you can have a greater understanding of how to wrangle those things back in.
"Sometimes embarrassment has to do with our insecurities," says Silva. "Ironically, while trying to avoid triggering those insecurities is when they manifest the most. I advise my clients to create a list of what those insecurities are and read them out loud to someone else for feedback. This will help you minimize the unexpected blow to your ego and self-esteem."
It may seem like extra work, but
when you make a list of your insecurities it forces you to write things down and look those insecurities square in the face.
Practice "Embarrassing" Scenarios
"Take that same list and begin preparing scenarios to prevent feeling embarrassed in the future," says Silva. "Most of the time, this exercise helps you work through the fragile self-esteem you developed because of the insecurity."
It may seem silly, but think about this way: If someone can easily embarrass you by saying a certain something, the more you hear it, the more you're forced into being exposed to it, the more indifferent you'll feel. Like anything, you build up a tolerance and practice will get you there.
Try To Pinpoint The Source
Because the source of embarrassment can really come from anywhere, Silva suggests
examining past hurtful events that may have led to this feeling.
"Sometimes we let our past hurt interfere with our present or future," says Silva. "Ask yourself: What motivated my behavior? Was it past hurt? Did I intentionally want to hurt myself again?"
Realize You Might Be Projecting
"Embarrassment has nothing to do with other people making you feel self-conscious; it’s
your own inner voice that is creating it," says Silva.
It's in these cases that you need to flip the switch and quit projecting. Ultimately, people are too concerned with their own lives to even give an eff about the fact that you just fumbled.
"If your inner dialogue is to prevent embarrassment instead of being happy or excel, change your inner dialogue to reflect your desired outcome," says Silva.
Think About The Other Person(s) In The Equation
What you might
find embarrassing about yourself, the other people you're with might find charming or delightful. If you haven't changed that inner dialogue yet, you're not going to be able to see things from anyone else's perspective than your own.
"The next time you feel embarrassed think about what the other person is feeling," says Silva. "For some, what makes you feel embarrassed actually inspires and excites or
challenges and motivates another person. Your embarrassing situation is their fuel. It wouldn’t prevent them from their happiness."
To feel embarrassed is human nature. In some cases it's avoidable, while in other cases, it isn't. But if you have the tools to talk yourself out of feeling that emotion, then you can reduce how often you're faced with it.