Overcoming Embarrassment

Re-booting is an ongoing process of self-reflection, self-assessment, and self-correction—all of which is a good and valuable activity in which to engage. The downside of such introspection is that we run the risk of becoming almost too self-aware. We become vulnerable to the misperception that our shortcomings are as evident to the world as they are to us, and this overly acute self-consciousness makes us feel embarrassed or ashamed.


Now, I am one of the first people to say that there are plenty of folks in this world who should feel mortified by their antics, but there’s a freedom in their obtrusiveness that I occasionally envy. Heck, I’ve done loads of embarrassing things that I didn’t realize then (or now) were so cringe inducing. Anybody who is or has a parent can sympathize! But blushing awkwardness aside, the point of this post is to encourage you, my fellow re-booters, to do your best to put aside your feelings of discomfiture and be more like our obtuse brethren. Their blithe unawareness (note: this is different from those who are simply self centered SOBs who act selfishly without regard to anyone else) or perhaps their more solid sense of self allows them to take risks, put their foot in their mouth, look silly, or wear dumb shoes without it becoming a Major Event.


I’ve known a lot about feelings of shame in my life—most of it unwarranted and made worse by my own panic at how to handle feelings of awkwardness—but such episodes put me through the wringer and directly impacted my ability to interact with people I liked (a lot) because I told myself I was too awkward or loud or unattractive or just not good enough to relax and enjoy being myself with them. Instead, I would freeze up internally, certain I would make precisely the wrong move whatever I did. No doubt, these people had no clue of the debates raging in my head, but what they did pick up on was a shift in my Chrisanna-ness, and then, it simply wasn’t as much fun to hang out with me as they had initially (and correctly) believed. I did this to myself.


When was the last time you felt something similar?


Over the course of this year, I’ve met a couple of new people where we really clicked. It’s such fun when you meet someone like that, isn’t it? A genuine joy can be found in the promise of a potential new friend. But, part way through our initial interaction, I could feel my self-consciousness descending upon me like an unwelcome, dank mist. All those familiar, doubting, ridiculing voices murmured at me on the sidelines—all because I started to fear I was, somehow, gonna blow it–again. Only this summer, because I am older and wiser and have more deliberate, re-booting experience I employed a different tactic. As a counter force, I told myself to calm down, relax, and stop worrying. I reminded myself that even if I did screw up, it wasn’t a fatal flaw. I mean, we all cherish relationships with people who can be challenging or awkward or, yes, even embarrassing from time to time. And they cherish us through all our antics, too. So, I forced those black thoughts to go away and summoned an artificial confidence that me being just me would not drive these new possible friends screaming from the room. I hate feeling embarrassed and my heart aches when I see others hang their heads because they tell themselves they are awkward or weird or somehow “less good.” In that spirit, I gave myself a dose of the same medicine I would give to them and to you: don’t be scared! It’s ok if you stumble. I like you already.


As a re-booter, with all the introspection that you do and dedicated work to maturing and increasing your total amount of life wisdom, I hope you will also bolster that goofy, ridiculous part of yourself that will never go away. It’s part of what makes you your special self.


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