Embarrassed? 3 Steps to Take Right Now
I used to think that sharing my embarrassing qualities was a very bad thing to do.
I used to think that it would make people no longer like me.
I used to think that.
I no longer do.
Because sharing my embarrassing qualities makes me relatable.
Because we all have something about us that embarrasses us--or has the potential to one day embarrass us.
And these embarrassing qualities actually give us a huge advantage.
What Embarrasses Me
Is there something about yourself or your life that embarrasses you?
For me, there are plenty of things. For one, I pick my skin when I'm anxious. I know it's not a good thing to do, but it happens. It's gotten better over the years, but the behavior has its roots in anxiety and OCD. It's something that started happening when I was a teenager. It continues to this day.
There was a point in my life when I never would have shared that kind of information? But now I don't care so much. Why? What changed?
I now know from experience that this kind of information makes me relatable. Whenever I've shared something online that I thought would be too much for others, it was precisely the kind of information that had the biggest impact. It was information that made others want to reach out to me and share their stories.
Social worker and researcher, Brene Brown, has built an entire career on studying shame (Awesome video at the end of this issue). And you know what? Shame in only shame when we don't talk about the "shameful" topics. Once we talk about them, the shame goes away.
What to Do if You're Embarrassed - 3 Steps to Take
- You need to understand why it's embarrassing you. Ask yourself questions. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Questions like, "Where is this pain coming from?" "When did it start?" "Why do I feel the way I do?" "Is there actually any good evidence that I should be embarrassed about this, or is it mainly in my head?"
- Once you have the questions, test them in the real world. Questions start you down a new path. Now it's time to walk it. Test out your questions in the real world. There are, without a doubt, small actions you can take to see if you truly have a reason for deep embarrassment. Take the small, safe actions that can. Start today.
- Then, open up more and more. Life is one long process of opening up to be who you truly are. If something is causing you pain, it's worth figuring out why that is. Of course, you want to approach it in a safe, structured way. There's no need to rip off a bandage when a incremental, thoughtful approach will do just fine. Take small steps that lead to bigger steps.
Remember, feeling embarrassed does not mean you are an embarrassing person. It means you are a person, period.
Embarrassment is just an emotion; it's just a signal that something is going on. It doesn't determine your fate.
We're humans. Social status is important to us. It kept our ancestors alive, but times are no longer how they once were.
Now, sharing what embarrasses you is a strength.
It lets others know that you're a person worth admiring.
And if you're still not sure if you should share what embarrasses you, watch this amazing video featuring Brene Brown.