How To Overcome Embarrassment?

How To Overcome Embarrassment - Insightful Counselling

“But I learnt that there is a certain character that can be built from embarrassing yourself endlessly. If you can sit happy with embarrassment, there is no much else that can really get to you”- Christian Bale.

As human beings pursue their activities, they encounter failure and rejection. This may occur when one participates in a socially unacceptable act witnessed or revealed to a group of people. The created feeling of awkwardness and self-consciousness is referred to as embarrassment. It might be a painful experience for the party involved. Recent research has revealed that it is crucial for one’s emotional state.

What is an Embarrassment?

What is an Embarrassment? - Insightful Counselling

Embarrassment is a feeling of self-consciousness, shame or awkwardness.

Susan David, a medical psychologist at Harvard University, says, “Embarrassment is a self-conscious emotion; something that we experience in relation to others when we make a mistake or behave in a way that is against social norms or standards.”

Personal embarrassment occurs when a performer of activity feels shame about himself or herself. It is common in adult romantic relationships. When one partner fails to fulfil the desires of another partner, shamefulness is likely to develop in him or her.

Professional embarrassment occurs in the official workplace. For example, when a doctor prescribes the wrong medicine for a patient. He/she will get embarrassed when the medicine affects the patient negatively.

Vicarious embarrassment is feelings of shameful actions of another person. Commonly felt by people who are more empathetic. The effect is present whether the party observed is aware of the disgusting nature of the activity or not.

Sharkey and Stafford, in their research, highlighted some of the embarrassing incidences as follows;

1. Privacy violation. We are experienced when someone’s privacy is exposed. It may also involve the disclosure of privacy warranted properties.

2. Lack of enough knowledge and skills. This leads to failure to perform simple tasks or exercises.

3. Rejection by Peers or love partners.

4. Awkward actions. Inappropriate speech may trigger embarrassment.

5. Inappropriate image. Dressing old fashioned clothes can cause embarrassment.

6 The surrounding. A young person was watching a movie with elderly people. A nudity scene appeared on the screen. All the two parties suffered embarrassment.

Does Everyone Get Embarrassed?

Does Everyone Get Embarrassed? - Insightful Counselling

People are naturally social beings. As they interact, frustrating moments are likely to occur. These moments should be treated as normal experiences. Their aim is to pay the price for one’s unethical or imperfect act.

No human is immune to embarrassment. Those who perceive the moments negatively are likely to suffer stress, social anxiety and later mental health problems. It is healthy for an individual to receive positively these experiences and device methods of how to overcome them.

For married partners, it is impossible not to encounter embarrassment at all. Generally, all human beings have weaknesses. They drive them to perform activities inappropriately. This may be contrary to societal expectations.

Most marital challenges arise due to occasional embarrassment among loved ones. For example, a partner who is more productive is likely to be irritated by the less productive one. This is a great threat to any relationship. Unless it is addressed earlier, the stability of the marriage becomes doubtful. Partners in a romantic relationship should learn to tolerate one another’s weaknesses to avoid uneasiness.


How To Deal with Embarrassment - Insightful Counselling

Mild embarrassments play an important role in one’s life. Extreme levels may promote adverse negative effects. This threatens the social identity of the victim. Depending on the magnitude of the experience, effects may be long term or short term.

Some effects may be psychological, e.g. low self-esteem, decrease in self-confidence, self-worth questioning and social anxiety. Others may be physical, e.g. sweating, breathing heavily and blushing.

For one to maintain a stable mental state, it is important to develop workable measures to help yourself get over the embarrassment. The eight major ways to overcome embarrassment are as highlighted below-

1. Learn to Laugh at yourself.

Embarrassment- Learn To Laugh At Yourself - Insightful Counselling

Laughter is the most appropriate remedy for any agitating occurrence. It plays a major role in neutralising the negative impact of an experience. It is a catalyst for the healing process of a victim. Laughter eliminates the seriousness of an occurrence, turning it into a silly thing of the past. Through that, one is better positioned to move beyond shameful feelings of the past.

Laughter completely eliminates shame. It replaces it with a strong spirit of friendship and trust. Viewing our mistakes from this angle offers a better opportunity in forgiving both oneself and others. Being an innate ability, it offers the fastest recovery to a victim. It can also be learnt. Through learning, one’s system is conditioned to automatically apply laughter when ashamed.

The easiest way to create fun out of an experience is by talking to someone you trust. It can be a loved partner in a relationship. It’s also a better opportunity to learn about other people’s past shameful moments.

2. Express compassion for yourself.

In cases where the act is too serious and you are unable to create fun out of it, just express compassion to yourself. Accept the fact that you embarrassed yourself. Understand that the same way you express your compassion to others, you deserve self-love too.

Most people love to forget their past rather than seek solutions. Self-compassion starts by connecting with your feelings. Talk to yourself. Assume that it’s one of your closest friends talking to you. Take your words by your ears and keep them in your heart. Tell yourself the best of what you want to hear at the moment. Thereafter, source helpful lessons from the pain the situation caused you into. Pick up yourself and focus on what you believe is right for you. Refrain from the self-negative talk. Stay positive!

3. Focus on the present.

Forget Your Past and Focus On Present - Insightful Counselling

Learn to always adjust your thoughts to think of the present happenings. Consider the embarrassing act as your forgotten past. Concentrate on what surrounds you and the people within your reach at the moment. If your partner has distressed you, normalize, assuming that nothing wrong happened.

Focussing on the present helps you to subdue past discomfort acts. You get the confidence to pursue what lies ahead fearlessly. It offers a relaxed environment to focus on what is happening at the moment.

4. Persistent trying to achieve the best.

I Will Persist Until I Succeed - Insightful Counselling

Despite self agitation causing shame and pain, make it your learning point. Always remind yourself that nothing is perfect. Go ahead and use the learnt lessons from the embarrassment for personal development. Avoid repeating the same mistakes in future. You can redo the activity, avoiding the embarrassing part.

In a romantic relationship, allow suggestions from your partner on how to better yourself. Try out the suggested ways. For example, you can ask how your partner wants to be treated to experience satisfaction.

5. Consider visiting a therapist.

Consider Seeing A Therapist - Insightful Counselling

Visit a professional counsellor or psychotherapist to facilitate you in getting out of the distressing moment. A therapist helps you to examine the cause of your guilt. You are then guided on how to get over it with ease. This is advisable for those who have been overwhelmed by their past shameful acts. Therapists offer an accurate remedy to shame and stressful moments. You receive guidance on how to fix yourself. The future possibility of occurrence of similar mistakes is dealt with. Counselling an embarrassed person is strongly based on acceptance and forgiveness.

Get along with your loved partner to make therapy sessions more effective. This is necessary where you often express your discomfort to him or her. It, therefore, allows both of you to achieve a long-lasting remedy.

6. Understand that embarrassment is normal.

Understand that embarrassment is normal - Insightful Counselling

Make it clear to yourself that shame and awkwardness are normal feelings. They are just like happiness and sadness. It is necessary sometimes to create self-awareness. Failure to impress your partner should not create in you a feeling of shame. Inability to satisfy family demands should not make you feel like a lesser person. Dr Jones says people carry embarrassments of things done even if even when other people are not aware. Always offload your worries to remain free from personal uneasiness.

You may also want to read on our blog:  Why are emotions important

7. Think of embarrassment and self-confidence.

Think of Embarrassment and Self-Confidence - Insightful Counselling

The greater the self-confidence, the lesser likelihood to be distressed. Confident people rarely fall into victims of shame and self-consciousness. Embarrassment often manifests as a result of personal insecurities.

Self-confidence is gained through knowledge and experience. Research shows that more knowledgeable people have great self-confidence. This later converts into the great ability to overcome discomposure. People with a strong, self-confident personality tend not to experience severe effects of shamefulness. Rather than using your discomforts as a tool to bring you down, use them as a precious tool to build your self-confidence.

Read more on our blog on How to build self-confidence. 

8. Change your embarrassing moments into ways of perfectionism.

Change Your Embarrassing Moments Into Ways Of Perfectionism - Insightful Counselling

Consider your flustered moments as a journey towards perfection. You do not need to keep on apologising for feeling ashamed. Take it positively. Check on what was not done right. Make an effort to make good out of it. Be mindful and shift your perspective regarding how you perceive yourself. Convert your agitating moments into perfections. This boosts your authenticity. Remember, the environment contributes greatly to your emotional state. Stay in a positive environment to enable you to achieve perfectionism.

In an adult relationship, promise your partner a better future experience.


Embarrassment- Feel More Confident - Insightful Counselling

Embarrassment can either be a destructor or a weapon to conquer your ugly past. It only depends on your approach. Most researchers agree that it gives accurate internal feedback to one’s mistakes. Always judge yourself not by your negative, distressing moments but by your action to overcome them. Make the best out of your ugly past by standing out strong. Prevent repetition of any conscience-stricken acts. Always talk to someone, seek therapy, build a strong self-confidence personality and focus on the present happenings. This helps both in overcoming embarrassments and also avoiding similar actions in future.



Sharkey,W.F & Stafford,L (1990). Response to embarrassment.Human communication research,17(2),315342. How to Deal With Embarrassme



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