Symptoms And Causes Of Embarrassment

This photo is copyright (c) 2013 and made available under royalty free license

We have all had those moments where we have made a mistake of some kind, only to feel that all too familiar flush of heat rising in the face. The more you try to cover the fact that you are embarrassed, the hotter that flush seems to become. That can quickly turn into a flop sweat, stammering, and shaking that seems to take over the entire body. Those are the main symptoms of embarrassment, and while you may be able to hide other emotions such as fear or anger, you can’t hide that red-faced shame that paints your face in a crimson hue.

This photo is copyright (c) 2013 and made available under royalty free license What’s funny is that the embarrassment that you feel often comes from a feeling of inferiority rather than anything else. It’s those feelings of having done something wrong, no matter how minor, that has you questioning yourself, which in turn brings on those symptoms. It’s also human nature to poke fun at others the moment you spy that red flush. That only makes matters worse as they then question themselves even more, causing the embarrassment to last way longer than it really should. There are times when you feel as though no-one noticed your faux pas, and that your mistake will go unnoticed. Those are times when the symptoms may not appear, but as soon as that first person giggles or points out your mistake, the flush is on.

Not all cases of embarrassment are brought on by mistakes though, and there are actually all manner of things that can lead to red-faced distress. It can also be brought on by social situations where you are particularly uncomfortable or even by cultural differences. The clothes that you think look incredibly stylish at home can be the subject of ridicule when you travel to a foreign land. You might also become embarrassed when travelling abroad, especially if you happen onto a beach that is filled with people in various stages of undress. Being put in those situation which are completely foreign to you can be a major source of embarrassment.

While some of that embarrassment may come from the things that you see, it can also be brought on by a feeling of inferiority. If that nude beach is filled with beautiful people who are proud of their bodies, it may cause you to question how you look, causing you to focus on your perceived flaws and imperfections. That goes back to what we spoke about earlier, and how your mind can actually cause you to feel shame when there really is nothing to be embarrassed about. When you think about it, there is likely to be no-one at that beach who is even giving you a second glance, simply because they assume that you are as confident in your body as they are in theirs. In short, you embarrassment is brought on by nothing more than your own thoughts.

This photo is copyright (c) 2013 and made available under royalty free license

It’s almost ironic that we should be so consumed with what other people might think, especially when you think about the number of times you feel embarrassed for someone else. Seeing someone placed in the middle of an uncomfortable situation can cause you to feel their shame, leading their embarrassment reaching you as though it were some sort of airborne infection. That is a sign of your compassion and understanding and is something that you should try to keep in mind the next time you feel that first flush start to spread from your neck to your face.

The next time you do something that leaves you feeling a little embarrassed, just remember that there are probably more than few people in your vicinity that feel your pain a little and who choose not to judge you. If you can simply tell yourself, or even allow yourself, to understand that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s all part of being human, then the less likely you are to feel ashamed. We all try to be as perfect as possible, but the reality is that perfection is impossible to reach, so it’s better to simply accept our mistakes and shrug them off when they occur. You may still feel a little queasy inside, but it may not lead to that red-face, stumbling, stuttering and trembling that is at the heart of an embarrassment attack.



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Morgan is the founder and editor of REALITYPLEX. After suffering from a life-threatening accident, he realized that the way we perceive things around us is based on our beliefs, emotions and experiences. In an effort to draw the line between perception and reality, he launched REALITYPLEX in 2011. Get to know him better and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and G+