Photo by your host Bamboo Forest
Embarrassment is an emotion that is highly toxic and highly unnecessary. Who needs it and who wants it?
Today we’re going to be talking about embarrassment: the cause of it, whether it’s really worth it or not, and what we can do about it.
Is Embarrassment Worth It?
Could embarrassment prevent you from asking a cute girl or guy out?
Could embarrassment coerce you into staying in an uncomfortable, inconvenient, or unfavorable circumstance simply because it would require a proactive move to free yourself from it?
Could embarrassment discourage you from doing what’s right, simply because it would be uncomfortable doing so?
What do all of the above have in common? Simple. Embarrassment can cause you to miss out on the opportunities of life. And this is why, it must be conquered.
Choosing not to act on the basis of preventing embarrassment can cause tremendous regret. But, you will never feel regret for having felt embarrassed. This is the great irony.
Embarrassment has never and will never cause regret. Doing something you believe in while embarassed will always give you great reward and satisfaction. Regardless of whether you succeed or not.
You act in a way that’s unfavorable for you to spare yourself embarassment. Yet, doing what’s favorable for you, while being embarrassed, will give you the most profound sense of accomplishment you could ever conceive. This level of irony is for the books!
The Cause of Embarrassment
This may come as a surprise, but the cause is our own selves. Some people easily get embarrassed while others are more impervious to it. Embarrassment happens inside our own skin. It’s not a natural response like the beating of our heart, or the picking up of vibrations from our ears. Instead, we kindle the flame of embarrassment. But, we can also put it out.
When something embarrassing happens, your reaction is everything. Let’s list three circumstances most of us can agree are embarrassing:
- Farting in public.
- Asking a girl for her number, only to be rejected.
- Tripping and falling.
When any of the above happens and people stare at you, or whatever, they aren’t really looking at what you did; they’re looking at how you feel. So, feel at peace and they will be confused and not know who to feel embarrassed for. That’s ok.
Embarrassment Being Carried into the Next Day
With high school, or even the work place, this can be highly relevant. Doing something, or having something happen to you that is really embarrassing can cause suffering not only at the time it takes place, but also into your tomorrows. Carrying the embarrassment into your tomorrows is a colossal mistake.
The following is a zen story titled “Obsessed” that captures this concept beautifully:
Photo by TheLizardKing
Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.
As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”
“Brother,” the second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.“
Sometimes we carry an embarrassing incident with us into the next day or into our next hours. Leave it where it was like you should and like everyone else did. Why would you not leave it back at xyx; why would you put it on your shoulders to carry into your future? Are you trying to see how far you can bring madness into your life?
Sometimes we think people pay much more attention to things that happen to us than they actually do. I can assure you, they pay far less attention to it, than you and your mind does. No one latches onto it like you do.
Your mind may say that everyone is concerned about what happened yesterday or an hour ago, but your mind says a lot of things, doesn’t it? Haven’t you noticed by now that your mind consistently lies to you? Yes, our mind is a liar. That is one of the primary reasons we suffer so much. We listen to the lies…
Truth is, no one really gives a dung about us. We just aren’t that important, or special. And, if someone is obsessing over us, then they need to get a life. Maybe we can help.
Methods to Prevent Embarrassment
My favorite method to deal with the winds of embarrassment when they begin to blow is to remind myself of something. That being, “someday I’m going to be dead.” I like to think of all the layers and layers of dirt that is going to pile up on me some day. When I put this contemplation into action, whatever it was that I was beginning to feel embarrassed about pleasantly begins to lose strength.
Another great way to confront embarrassment is to look at it through different lenses. Taro Gold, the author of, “Open Your Mind, Open Your Life,” says,
“What would your current frustrations look like from the vantage point of the final days of your life?”
In the final analysis, embarrassment is an illusion and a way of thinking. An illusion we either feed, or find folly in. Sometimes I feel like looking for scenarios that will embarrass me. I so disdain this emotion, I want to dive into its illustrious pool, swimming through its waters, just so I can tell it, “you are only a way of thinking, but lack all substance.”
Embarrassment has the capability of causing suffering, emotional and circumstantial. It can even cause us to miss out on opportunities. I’ll go over that topic through another angle in a future post.
Please, remember these three rules. These three rules sum up this piece best:
1. Be embarrassed about nothing.
2. Be embarrassed about nothing.
3. Be embarrassed about nothing.