Let us take a dig at every element of feeling embarrassed one by one…
What is Embarrassment?
Embarrassment is the feeling of awkwardness felt publicly or socially. This awkwardness is because of a sudden awakening of self-consciousness when you get the unwanted attention from people. Yes, the element ‘people’ is an obvious element attached to feeling embarrassed. It is not realized by oneself unless others make you realize the awkwardness.
Feeling embarrassed is completely different from feeling ashamed which is a self-realization. Feeling embarrassed is a public bearing while feeling ashamed is a private bearing. Your embarrassment is a fun or a victory moment for others, not for you.
Please do one thing…
Trigger your thinking mode and try to recall an instance when you got embarrassed. Ask yourself whether you would have felt the same if it would have happened when you were alone?
Hmmm…now you are getting closer to unlock the mysteries of feeling embarrassed.
Let us assume an instance:
You are on stage delivering a speech in front of a huge crowd. After your speech is over and just when you are about to step down, your feet stumble and you fall down. It’s an awkward moment for you. But remember, you do not feel embarrassed till now.
Now what happens is that everyone starts laughing at you. As a result of this reaction of people, your conscious mind feels the awkwardness, which starts reflecting in your facial expressions and body language. Finally, you feel embarrassed.
Now, let us assume the same incident when you are rehearsing and no one is around…
In this case, there is no one to judge you. There is no one to joke and laugh at you. And so, your self-consciousness is not aroused. As a result, either you ignore it or you laugh it off…Finally, you don’t feel embarrassed.
A keen observation:
The element ‘people’ is the determining factor in both the assumptions.
But beware, I am not referring to the instances of embarrassment in which you are wrong or guilty. I am pointing out the silly moments which don’t deserve to be a cause of your suffering.
When you are actually wrong and you get caught publically, you will be insulted and humiliated. And remember, humiliation cuts even deeper than the embarrassment.
Guilty instance 1: You cheat on your wife and you get caught.
Guilty instance 2: Your lie gets caught publically.
In both the instances, you actually are the culprit and be ready to face the wrath. The wrath, which will be far more than just an embarrassment. You can call it a humiliation. Maybe, an immediate apology could be an escape from the situation. But I am sorry, I cannot comment much on these situations.
Let us not divert from the topic. We can talk about humiliation, maybe in one of my upcoming articles. As of now, let us focus on the how to stop feeling embarrassed.
My dear friend, I don’t think that people are to be blamed for your embarrassments. They are not waiting for the moments to laugh at you, make fun of you.
But if they witness any hilarious moment, definitely they will laugh. It is just a spontaneous reaction. And exhibiting spontaneous emotions is quite natural. Nothing wrong with it. The same is applicable to you. The only difference is sometimes you are on the giving end and sometimes on the receiving end.
One way of looking at embarrassments is that in a world where a person is becoming a reason for other’s sadness, you are becoming a reason for someone’s laughter, what better…if you could see it this way. Well, not sure… sounds too ideal to be true.
Anyways, one thing is for sure that you can’t control the people’s reactions. But you can definitely control how you get affected by it. Never get carried away by their reactions. Ironically, laughing at oneself prevents you from getting laughed upon by others.
I can understand that everything in an embarrassing situation happens so quickly that you don’t get time for a planned response. But again, that is why we are talking about it so minutely, so that this art can be mastered.
This brings me to one more realization…
If you are feeling embarrassed which is obviously because of people, it means you are more concerned about people’s opinion about you. It subsequently means that you are less concerned about what you feel about yourself. And this is because of one reason…low self-esteem.
Yes, even when people laugh at you, if you are high enough in your self-esteem, your consciousness will be independent of people and situations. You will not dance to the tune set by others. And therefore, you will not allow people to decide your response to a situation.
One in-depth realization… In an awkward situation, people high in their self-esteem feel the same privately as well as publically.
And if it is not happening with you, your self-esteem needs a serious boost.
Final words… everyone faces their moments of awkwardness publically and socially. Don’t punish yourself by thinking about it over and over again. Just laugh it off. Life is too short to get deeply affected by embarrassments.
Amanpreet Singh is the founder of Happy Realization. From the negatives of depression to the positives of meditation, he loves expressing his experiences and the practical life lessons which he calls his Happy Realizations. He is a guest blogger in esteemed publications like Lifehack, Pick the Brain and Dumb Little Man.