How We Can Learn From Embarrassment
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When Embarrassment Is life's best professor?

What makes you blush today may pay off tomorrow.

When Embarrassment Is life's best professor?

Okay, let's be real here. Embarrassing situations are actually the worst. You can spin me some philosophical argument about the importance of embarrassment, and I'll listen, but when I trip in front of my crush or employer? Girl I'm running away faster than you can say "cringey".

Getting embarrassed is a physically uncomfortable sensation. Your face gets hot, your stomach clenches and you want to shrink inside yourself. (You also want to get on researching the "Men in Black" memory erasing tech...)

So, we can all agree being embarrassed is about as fun as walking around in wet socks. But the real questions remain:

Why do we avoid embarrassment so steadfastly?

Humans are innately social creatures. Social psychologists have provided answers to why we hone in on these emotions. Embarrassment was a powerful tool in order to enforce social norms as our society was forming. Today, it still exists to help people coexist smoothly as what affects the status quo is received by negative feedback.

We live in a different era, though. We can go against the status quo and call it progress. Yet, we need to make rational, informed decisions before we do. That's where the lessons behind embarrassment come in.

How can we learn from it?

While we're not taking survival notes like our survivors, embarrassment can be a powerful tool. I learned that the hard way when I lived in Spain for a few months. There were a- I kid you not- mountain of moments that I wish I could erase and forget about. But, honestly, the (near constant) cringe moments always taught me something. Weird looks taught me fashion and subway ettiquette and language fails helped my fluency.

My favorite story came from a 3 A.M. study session that literally had me ripping my hair out. One girl commented "Wow, your hair is a disaster," to which i replied "Oh my god I agree, this is rough." The only word I heard was "disaster" so I assumed she meant midterms. When she left, my friend burst out laughing and translated the actual conversation for me.

It seems so minor writing, but honestly it's the little moments that can cause the most shame. If I didn't have the know-how to avoid insulting myself, how was I supposed to master the pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo clause? But this minor setback fueled me to not only improve my listening skills, but get over my fear of asking people for clarifications. My pride in pretending I understood everything perfectly wasn't worth missing the nuances of a conversation.

We can all take our minor faux-pas and turn them into valuable lessons. Instead of letting that gross feeling overwhelm us, we can fuel positive changes in our lives. Once you master this change in mindset, risk taking is so much easier. When you realize you are in control of your reaction to shame, taking initiative seems so much less intimidating.

So, next time they don't say yes to a date, learn from it. Should you pursue people with other qualities, should you tweak your method? Same for the next job you don't get, or the next project that falls through. You. Are. Not. That. Shrinking. Feeling. You are a strong and insightful person with enough self-awareness to turn that cringe into a tool to keep building your beautiful self.

So, if you want to grow, go forth and cause some second-hand embarrassment!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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