When was the last time you felt embarrassed? Was it recently? What kind of setting was it in?
I’ve been thinking lately about embarrassment. Where does that fall in the range of emotions? Is it an emotional offspring? Or is it its own separate category? Maybe it falls under fear . . . or what about anger? I’ve read in some places that it is a byproduct of other emotions, but I’ve also read that it’s not.
So what is it?
Interestingly, as the fates would have it (or in other words, kindly from the hand of God), as I was driving the other day, I remembered a moment in my life where I felt very embarrassed. Here’s the low-down:
I was in college at the time that I asked a friend to go to a Christmas concert with me. He and I knew each other through High School wrestling—he was a wrestler, I was a stats girl.
We doubled with my roommate and her guy-friend as well.
I was really entertained by the concert, but about half-way through it, I realized it was not my date’s preference of music. He had a fake smile plastered on his face–bless his heart for trying to hide it.
I leaned over and commented on the song, and with his response, I sensed in my whole being, an overwhelming wave of embarrassment. I was being nice, and he was nice in response, but I could read the insincerity, and I was embarrassed.
PROBLEM: Sometimes, we just feel embarrassed.
It had quickly turned into one of those awful, awkward dates where time crawls. (Like that blind date I went on once . . . . ohhhh mannnn.)
Until finally, it was over.
That was our first. And last date ever.
This was a small moment of my life, almost twenty years ago, and yet it was at the front of my mind the other day as I was driving.
I decided it was a good time to take a look at embarrassment and see what I could discover.
I thought about why I had felt embarrassed. What triggered that feeling? I replayed that moment in my head–I had made a comment, and then received an unguarded look which I interpreted as “Woah. You are weird.”
I see now, that in that split second that I read his expression of “You are weird,” I began to doubt myself. “Am I weird? Do other people think I’m weird too? Here I am, thinking I am accepted, but I’ve been fooling myself! People actually think I’m weird! And if I’m weird, then that means there’s something wrong with me. And if there’s something wrong with me, then that means I’m not perfect. And if I’m not perfect, then that means I’m unlovable. And if I’m unlovable, then that means I have no worth.”
Yeah. That was the whole trail of my thoughts.
Suddenly, in my present moment of time, I could see that at the root of all this embarrassment, I had fear—fear that all of these [illogical yet deeply rooted] beliefs were true. As I look at it now, I can see how many faulty, limiting beliefs I was holding on to in that moment, and even until today, that I didn’t even know were there. These are subconscious beliefs that I have been living by for the majority of my life!
And you want to know the incredible thing that was happening???
This fear at the very bottom of it was telling me—it’s time to get rid of those beliefs. They’re holding you back. They’re limiting you. You don’t need them anymore. There’s more of you to unlock. It’s time to let them go.
I LOVE that our emotions are messengers telling us something we need to do! Our emotions know us so deeply that the things they tell us to do are always for our good. And because I knew all of this, I could see that my fear of not having any worth and my fear of not being worthy of love was now doing its job: it was giving me a message that I needed to do something. I now had the opportunity to find out what it was I was supposed to do.
Part of fear’s message is that there is a choice that needs to be made. So I asked my inner self, “What are the options to my choices? What choice needs to be made?”
I often see fear as a path of two choices. Usually, the path on the left is the easier path that doesn’t require any energy or effort, but it’s a miserable path because it’s the one I slip onto by default. The other path is the higher path, the one that requires my focus, a conscious choice, and sometimes some work and grit. This path always brings a better me, and peace along with it.
My fear was alerting me that my choices in this situation were to either continue living with the faulty beliefs that I was not worthy of love, nor did I have any worth because I was imperfect, or to break free from them and trust that who I am, my likes, my interests, my quirks, my idiosyncrasies, my gifts, my strengths, my weaknesses, including my imperfections, are okay. That they are enough. And even if my date (or anyone else) thinks I’m weird, God doesn’t. He thinks I’m okay. And He’s cheering me on.
Trusting is scary and hard—it’s not seeing the future, not having any scientific proof, and it’s not using the logical brain.
But, given my choices, I decided to choose it.
SOLUTION: If we can discover what emotion lies at the root of the embarrassment, then we can work through that emotion by discovering its message and acting on it!
This realization and choosing of the paths did not “cure” me from other moments of embarrassment. In fact, I investigated another experience that I’ll post about soon—with a very different outcome. But now, when I feel embarrassed, I can evaluate the situation and if it’s similar to this experience, I can reassure myself of the choice I’ve already made. Because, well, I’m worth the effort, whether I feel my old date thinks I am or not.
And so are you!
Have you felt embarrassed lately?
Or maybe in the past and it’s coming to mind now? What’s at the root of your’s?
Let’s figure it out!
Take a moment to ground yourself. Breathe deeply. Imagine light and energy flowing from the heavens down through the top of your head, through your body, and out through your toes into the ground, like tree roots. Take a few more deep breaths.
Now recall that moment of embarrassment. Replay it from a distance. Watch yourself. What are you learning? What are you observing about the other people involved?
Follow your trail of thought. Where does it lead you? Anger? Fear? Sadness?
. . .
. . .
Did you get somewhere?
That’s good progress! Now click on the appropriate tag for that emotion and walk through those steps to discover what limiting, faulty beliefs you are ready to let go of.
Leave a comment below telling me what emotion was at the root of your embarrassment. Don’t be embarrassed to do so! It’s okay to share. Emotions are our friends—there’s nothing wrong admitting that we have them. They are here to help us progress and break free from the unseen chains that hold us down.
You can do it! You were born with this power. Take the steps. Make the moves. Change your life!