We All Feel Embarrassed! The Pros and Cons of Feeling Embarrassed (French version available)
By Tiffany Chang
We’ve all felt embarrassed at some point in our lives. From giving a person an incorrect answer to tripping and falling down, these are all things people would typically feel embarrassed about.
While it’s not always a fun experience, there are both positive as well as negative outcomes from feelings of embarrassment. Some pros and cons include:
You Could Learn to Laugh At Yourself
Sometimes you just need to learn how to laugh things off. Evidently, you can’t go back and change what transpired, so have a laugh and move on from there. If people start laughing at you, join them. It may help mitigate or even counteract your embarrassment and be an effective coping mechanism.
Humility is Essential When Building Character
Once and a while, we need to remind ourselves that nobody’s perfect. That dread you feel when you’ve made a mistake while presenting in front of, say, your classmates, can be productive if you look at the experience from a more introspective standpoint. Maybe you could see it as a good lesson and, in the event where you have to perform something similar again, you’ll know what to do differently the next time.
Say to yourself: “I don’t like how this experience made me feel. What can I do to hopefully prevent feeling embarrassed going forward?”
It Can Initiate Opportunities to Relate With Others
Often times, you’re in the same boat as a lot of other people. If someone else had something similar happen to them, it could provide some relief because they know that they aren’t alone. People bond over their shared experiences whether it be positive or negative, which may result in a favourable outcome.
Feeling Embarrassed Might Cause Overthinking
Of course, moving on with a more positive attitude about the situation is easier said than done. It’s extremely difficult not to think: “would’ve… could’ve… should’ve…” We tend to berate ourselves for our shortcomings and mentally replay the incident(s) over and over again. Even if we do see it as a learning experience(s), we may start obsessing over the event to try and ensure that it will never happen again.
Overall, embarrassment could reinforce pre-existing/create new insecurities and frankly, be outright anxiety-inducing, which could therefore affect our mental health.
At Times, Embarrassment Hinders Us From Seizing Opportunities
Embarrassing experiences can be very discouraging and in some cases, make us hesitate to take advantage of potentially beneficial opportunities. Why would we risk embarrassment when we have the power to avoid it altogether?
Living life in fear of what might happen may inhibit us from living fuller lives and having more fulfilling experiences. It could become habitual, depending on how much we’ve been psychologically impacted by the embarrassing incident. Staying in our comfort zones tends to be an attractive option.
On the whole, feeling embarrassed remains inevitable. Obviously it has its downsides, but embarrassment could definitely help you grow as a person. You must embrace the negative in order to reap the positive. If you exercise some resilience while taking active steps to figure out how to handle your embarrassment, you’re on the right track.
Walden University. “The Pros and Cons of Comfort Zones.” The Pros and Cons of Comfort Zones | Walden University