Hello! Welcome back to my blog. ❤ Today I’ll be tackling (maybe hehe) another topic for my psychological first aid series. This is where I write about the hard stuff we struggle with, and how we can find simple ways to make the tough times more manageable.
Embarrassing experiences is a tender topic for me at the moment, because I just had one today! I went on a run to the store this morning to finish getting supplies for my little sister’s birthday party. I needed to get some balloons, but there weren’t any workers in that area of the store, so I began looking around for someone who could help me. The first person I spotted was an employee I had seen on the greeting card aisle, so I asked her for help… but it turned out she wasn’t a worker!
That was very awkward for me. It was an honest mistake, as I thought I’d seen her stocking an aisle, when actually she was shopping. lol and her clothes really looked like what an employee would wear. Either way, I apologized and tried to regain my composure. It took a minute, but I did recover and felt better as I got the balloons, checked out, and went home. 🙂
I wrote the above paragraphs in late January, after experiencing that embarrassing moment. It was raw, real time, real discomfort, but it also felt good to write in a way. I didn’t come home and work on a post about some hobby of mine; I made my blogging life relevant that day, and I really appreciate when I’m able to do that.
So I’m obviously no expert on what to do when embarrassing stuff comes up, but I have experienced this awkward feeling in my life multiple times, and I like to work on things in a constructive way! I hope that we can both learn about getting through and bouncing back from awkward stuff like this, because emotional resilience is pretty awesome stuff.
Oh first, make sure you read the other posts in this psychological first aid series!
getting through embarrassing experiences
I have concluded early on that there are three types of embarrassments:
- the one that occurs with/around someone that you see all the time
- the one that happens with someone you’ll never see again
- the one you experience only with yourself
All three of these take slightly different approaches to overcoming the awkwardness.
So here are some prime examples of the 3 Types of Embarrassments (why does this post seem so crude 😂)
Everyday Life People: you bake a cake for your family that you’re really excited about, and your family’s looking forward to eating it after dinner. You cut the pieces and hand one out to everyone, and to the group’s horror, you simultaneously discover that you used a cup of salt instead of sugar. Embarrassing.
Never-See-‘Em-Again People: you’re grocery shopping and leave your cart to go grab some string cheese. You retrieve the food and trick-shot the package into your cart… but it’s not actually your cart. It’s the cart of an elderly woman. (I had this happen before.) Embarrassing.
Only-You-Know Embarrassments: you’re out clothes shopping and select some articles to try on, cheerfully entering the dressing room as you go. After trying everything on, as you’re leaving, you notice a sign you missed coming in that says ‘five items only.’ You’d tried on seven. Only you know. Embarrassing.
Awkwardness of all types is just not fun at all. It does something to your ego, makes you self-conscious and feel like a momentary loser. But it really is just that: a moment. It’s one snippet of your life that wasn’t a joy to live through. But you did live through it!
When you do something embarrassing around everyday life people, the awesome thing about that is that you’re going to have many more experiences with these people. You’ll keep cooking and baking, have other successes and losses, and they’re not only going to be thinking about the salt cake when they see you. You may feel bad about it for a while, but unless they’re an unkind kind of person, they’re going to move on.
Oftentimes, we project our own embarrassment and shame into the minds of other people.
This is called… fortune-telling. That’s one of the terms, anyway. We’ll think because we remember the horrible way that experience made us feel, that others in the room remember as well.
When you’ve done something awkward in front of a complete stranger, regardless of how they respond to it, the likelihood of your running into them again is slim to none. That’s a huge relief. Because you’re not around them to then think about it again, it’s easier in a way to let go.
Of course this post doesn’t really prepare us for the people in our lives that will heckle us for our mistakes. Like, I know a select individual who brings up a mistake I made every time I see her. Every time she talks about it, I have to turn around what she’s doing in my mind because at this point, the mistake’s not funny. Bringing it back up is a reflection of her sense of ‘humor,’ which is quite lacking if you ask me. I’ve decided not to let it bother me because if it hurt my feelings every time, she’d be winning. Every time it’s mentioned now, I let it slide off because she’s just gonna keep being like that.
Now when it comes to embarrassing stuff only we know about, it’s a matter of seeing that embarrassment often stems from how WE feel about the incident. I’ll think something is so embarrassing because someone else/a group of people know about it, but then some stuff that was a mistake only I’m aware of feels pretty bad, too. Learning about how to forgive yourself, move on, and accept mistakes is something I’m still learning about and that I’d love to get really good at. That would be a huge accomplishment in my book.
This post didn’t turn out to be a how-to guide by any means, but it was really great to talk about. I hope it helped you in some small way! People don’t open up about embarrassing experiences much, but that does not mean you’re the only one who’s done awkward stuff. Like, I threw cheese in an old woman’s cart. Not many people can say that 😂 #ownit
Let me know if you have any other self-improvement topic ideas for this series! I’d love to hear them.