We’ve all experienced embarrassing moments, whether that means tripping down (or up, if you’re more ambitious like me) the stairs, spilling coffee on ourselves, or smiling at our crush with food stuck in between our teeth. There’s a misconception that by the time you hit a certain age and settle into adulthood, then you’ll have it all together. But truthfully, we’ll all continue to have embarrassing moments for as long as we live. If making mistakes and being human is inevitable, then how can you cope with humiliating moments? Psych2Go shares with you 6 effective ways to handle embarrassment:
1. Don’t beat yourself up; it’s okay. ♥
Embarrassment often goes hand in hand with perfectionism. When you feel as though you aren’t meeting up to your own standards and expectations with your performance, it’s easy to fall into the trap of self-criticism. As a result, you may fear your next performance will not go well as you’d like it to based on previous experiences. Don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes and failures. Instead, allow yourself to be imperfect and see your embarrassing moments as learning opportunities to get better. It’s okay to mess up.
2. Focus on the non-emotional details of the moment.
According to Dr. Ekaterina Denkova, the next time your mind decides to replay an embarrassing moment, try to steer your attention to the non-emotional details, such as the color of the shirt you were wearing, the setting, or what the weather was like. This will help you detach from the memory and you won’t remember it as intensely compared to when you focus on the negativity, which can stir up your embarrassed feelings again. When you experience heightened emotions, it makes it harder for you to let go and move on. So, it’s recommended that you concentrate on details that put you in a neutral state.
3. Laugh it off!
According to Dr. Susan Whitbourne, a professor emerita of psychological and brain sciences, the most effective way to handle embarrassment is being able to confront it directly. Although your first instinct may be to run away and hide, this will only prolong your unresolved feelings of embarrassment. That’s why it’s important to stick to the situation until you can alleviate your stress. Whitbourne recommends laughing it off in order to reduce tension. After all, staying in a serious mood will only influence you to hold onto the negativity.
4. See it as a great storytelling opportunity.
Have you ever shared a story starting with the statement, “Hey, remember that time when I . . . ? That was so funny!” More often than not, it’s your embarrassing moments that make the best stories you can share with your friends and family. While they’re happening, they may not be fun, but in retrospect, it’s easier to see how silly they are. The best part is knowing you survived, too! So the next time you want to “die of embarrassment,” think of your top three embarrassing moments and remember that despite those occurrences, you’re still here in one piece.
5. Talk it out with a close friend, lover, or family member who won’t judge you for it.
It’s difficult bottling up your emotions, so talk about your embarrassing moment with someone you trust. Rather than feeling bad about the situation, tell them what’s bothering you. It always helps to get support and another perspective that may encourage you to find some positivity in the negative situation. In fact, the person you confide in may also share a similar embarrassing moment they’ve experienced before! It’s always a relief to know that you’re not alone.
6. Try again.
You might dread going back to the same place and seeing the same people who were there when you embarrassed yourself, but be brave and face them. If you continue to build walls in front of you, the situation will only haunt you longer. Others will also detect the awkwardness you are projecting when you avoid them, which will make it hard for them to forget about it, too. It may not be easy when you initially step in again and establish normalcy, but progress can’t be made without being open to it. Try again. You’ve got this.
Do you have embarrassing moments often? How do you handle them? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
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Borchard, T. (2011, May 12). 10 Ways to Overcome Embarrassment. HuffPost. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
Ishak, R. (2016, April 12). 6 Ways to Move Past an Embarrassing Moment. Bustle. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
Whitbourne, S. K. (2014, December 23). The Best Way to Deal With Embarrassment. Psychology Today. Retrieved February 8, 2018.