Self-consciousness keeps us fighting that battle to control our self-image. But obsessing over our shortcomings inevitably traps us in embarrassment and shame. The difference between embarrassment and shame is slight but significant, and the distinction is crucial for building a protective armor of self-esteem. When we introduce our friends to a colleague and forget her name, it’s an embarrassing blow to our image, because we think others are viewing us in a negative light. If there are enough embarrassing moments that we begin viewing ourselves badly, then our self-image collapses and we feel that heavy weight of shame. Kill shame-inducing situations before they become a threat, advises David Allyn, Ph.D., a Harvard-trained social scientist and visiting scholar at Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. His book, I Can’t Believe I Just Did That, includes a few pointers:
– Be on time. Punctuality creates self-discipline and impresses both others and yourself.
– Stick to the facts. You’re bound to get caught lying, so why bother? Lies just set you up with unnecessary opportunities to feel ashamed.
– Cut the gossip. Comments made behind your back sting, and don’t forget how you feel about those who talked about you. Focus on deep, meaningful talk…
– Keep your word. It feels good to be considered reliable, so honor your word no matter what the reasons are for disregarding them.
If the damage is already done and you find yourself at the tail end of an embarrassing situation… Don’t lash out in defense or lie to cover your tracks—you’ll just end up feeling worse and likely complicate a relationship that doesn’t need complicating. Try laughing it off or explaining why you made the mistake. Here’s a very important point to remember: People tend to forget others’ mistakes and obsess over their own. From an article by Neil Parmar http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200406/self-conscious-get-over-it
Don’t worry about what
others think about you;
worry about what they think
of themselves when they’re with you.