Acknowledging that someone else taught us something or knew something we didn’t.
It takes wisdom to acknowledge and accept that learning is a lifelong process. So having the courage to admit that you just learned something is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Crying is a perfectly natural biological process, and emotional tears are actually therapeutic, as they release stress hormones. The next time someone (including yourself) shames you for crying, educate them. 😉
Having food on our faces.
In such situations, the embarrassment belongs less to the person with a messy face, and more to those who refrained from (discretely, if possible) bringing it to their attention.
Having someone show up unexpectedly while the house is messy.
Guess what? You’re human. You have kids, or you’re overloaded with work, or you’re battling health issues. Or maybe all of the above.
And the person who’s visiting you likely has a messy house too (it just never looks that way when you visit, because of course they feel the same obligation to clean up, especially since they always see a clean house when they visit you! One of you has to break this vicious cycle [or vicious circle – both are acceptable, and it took me the longest time to learn that]).
Having your payment declined or your debit card come up short at the checkout.
Having had the experience of working as a cashier, I’ve been on both sides of these delicate situations. In both cases, I’ve generally tried to appear as chill as possible, even as I’ve been painfully aware of the embarrassment and discomfort on the part of the customer, or the pitying/judgment on the part of the cashier and people behind me.
This…has happened to me personally several times. What hurts more than anything in these moments is that I generally take great care to know what (approximately or exactly) is in my account, and when in doubt, I try to avoid going over the amount which I’m certain I have. So surprises like this are annoying, because I feel like I know better and generally manage things better than that.
It happens to many of us at some point, and perhaps moreso when we find ourselves in financially challenging seasons.
Situations like these don’t inherently have the power to define your character or worth. They may speak about your wealth – or potentially lack thereof – which by itself has the power to define neither your character nor your worth. These situations may speak about your present health struggles, a byproduct of which is brain fog. Or such circumstances may suggest that your mind is preoccupied with other thoughts, or that you’re fighting to survive a stressful season.
Ask yourself: “What’s the worst that happened (or could happen) because my payment was declined, and I had to cancel a few items on the transaction, or pay the rest in cash?”
Usually, the most painful part for me (the worst that’s happened) has been sensing that the people in line behind me – along with the cashier – are pitying and/or judging me and/or annoyed – if they’re paying attention at all.
I don’t even feel that sorry for myself. Just sorry that others might be feeling sorry for me (or irritated with me for taking a few seconds longer in the transaction).
So essentially, my appearance to others – my ego – is at stake.
My wounded ego is nothing to be upset about, and my declined payment is nothing for which I should be embarrassed. I have food to eat. I have clothes to wear. I am blessed to live in a (mostly) free nation, and to have a roof over my head.
And ultimately, the appearance of my economic status means nothing. I’m alive, and I am rich in things that matter. And if I die of starvation or true financial poverty, I’ll only become richer.
Most of us have probably experienced embarrassment from one or more of these situations. Can you relate?
What other “embarrassing” situations needn’t be causes for embarrassment or shame?
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