Dealing with the Excruciating Emotion of Embarrassment

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We’ve all been there. The word was out before you had time to assess how it sounded. You’re lying sprawled out on the ground in the most undignified of positions after missing the last step. You’re mind draws a blank in front of a room of judgemental eyes. You just want to leave….immediately. You just want to jump onto your bed face down and have the mattress clamp shut on you, so that you never have to face them again. You’re utterly, excruciatingly embarrassed :/

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I am unfortunately all too familiar with the feeling of embarrassment. The feeling of squirming and cringing in your bed at night, as the memory of the traumatic, humiliating event is replayed over and over in your head. And although eventually we might be able to look back and laugh, the journey to that point can be pretty torturous.

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Today I want to share with you some tips for overcoming that horrible feeling that can haunt you for longer than you’d like. And in order to demonstrate to you my extensive experience in this area I will impart to you some of my most embarrassing moments as there have been too many! If you want to spare yourself from these traumatic tales and jump straight to the tips then click here:

But if you want to amuse yourself at my expense by reading the following story time then enjoy!

1) First year at university. Sitting in a tutorial which is a small group teaching method so there were around 5 of us and the lecturer. The lecturer asks me to come up to the white board to write out my answer but the straps of my bag are caught on the legs of my chair and as I get up my foot gets caught in my bag strap, and with one leg striding forward while the other is fixed stationary to my chair I fall splat onto my hands and knees, bum bang in the air in front of all their faces. MORTIFYING!!!!

What made this already humiliating situation even worse was the fact that the only person to laugh and make light of it…..was me. The other students just sat there expressionless while the lecturer fussed over whether I was alright. I then proceeded to try to detach my leg from the trap I had made for myself, before carrying on with presenting my answer on the board as if nothing had happened.

2) Concert Band rehearsal. The boys beside me start trying to bottle-flip a ridiculously large bottle. They are each taking turns and I start retracting internally as I realise that sooner or later they’re going to ask me to have a go. I try to act cool and am ready to land this bottle…but of course it doesn’t go as planned. Not that it wasn’t a decent attempt, in fact I was closer to landing it than any of the others had been so I’ll give myself credit where credit is due. BUT the bottle hits the saxophone player in front of me who just so happens to be a PhD student who is a demonstrator in my chemistry labs! Again…MORTIFYING.

3) The following is from from my diary entry on 30/08/2017 after my first day back at school for my final year of A levels:

“So basically I have the quietest voice ever (apart from when I’m having a screaming match with my parents it seems) so I’ve always dreaded roll calls/registers. Today my whole year group was in the assembly hall and our head of sixth form decided to do a full year group roll call. So it comes to me and of course he doesn’t hear me. I go on “here”ing, trying my best to think of ice and anything cold to keep my face from turning beetroot, but I kind of fade away and give up due to the embarrassment of the whole situation. Plus every time I say, “here!” he is simultaneously saying, “Emma? Emma? Where’s Emma??” adding another factor to this communication dysfunction, and then to top it off my whole year breaks into chorus yelling, “SHE’S HERE!!!!” Humiliation station has been reached.”

4) GCSE art class. The A level work is being stacked up around the classroom floor waiting to be moved to the sports hall where the A level artwork exhibition will be held. And again me being me, trips over a a huge painted canvas (thankfully dry!) and lands flat, sprawled out on top of the canvas and all heads of my class are immediately looking down on me in utter shock, probably trying desperately to hold back their laughter….again absolutely mortifying!!!

Tips For Getting Over a Case of Embarrassment

But let’s not dwell and move onto how I finally stopped crying to my Mum or into my pillow about these instances:

1) Talk to a good friend about it and hopefully they can help you to see the funny side! “A problem shared is a problem halved,” as they say. Sharing it with a good friend can help you laugh at it and often they can remind you that the situation probably didn’t appear so bad to others as it did to you i.e. others probably didn’t take so much notice as you think they did.

2) Don’t take yourself too seriously i.e. learn to laugh at yourself. My all time favourite video to watch in moments where I’m taking life way too seriously and need to take a chill pill is TIME magazine’s interview with RuPaul in which he talks about his healthy approach to life saying,

“Don’t take life too seriously. There are things you should take seriously like loving yourself and allowing other people to love you…but most of the other things are really not that serious.”


“…remember your mission statement which is Experience it. Don’t take it too seriously. And it’ll be over before you know it. And what people say usually that has nothing to do with you, it has everything to do with them.”


And for the best life motto…

“Breathe. Laugh. And repeat.”


And I would highly recommend you check out the video just to see RuPaul demonstrating this ‘breathe, laugh, repeat’ life “tool” as his laugh will definitely put a smile on your face.

3) Just hold on to the fact that with time, that awful moment will get moved further and further to the back of the witnesses’ minds until it’s eventually forgotten. And in your mind too! Repeat with me, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS!”

Emma 🙂

Published by shestooblessed4stress

University student chatting and exploring all things mental health :)

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