Embarrassment: Stop it!
How many times have you been on the edge of your seat about to jump into a discussion head first with your thoughts; creative ideas; insights and intuition only to have the grim reaper clamp down on your ability to speak? Suddenly you feel a knot in your stomach and your throat restricts as the flow of your valuable wisdom comes to a screeching halt just before the exit door of your mouth. A member of the group may even pick up on your body language and notice that you have something you want to say. God forbid he or she calls you out, “Did you have some input you want to share?” Which ignites your heartbeat to the rate of a human being mid-marathon. You sink down into your chair, wipe the sweat from your brow and squeak out a quick, “no, no I’m good.” Embarrassment has it’s roots deeply embedded within a self-focused phobia called: What will people think? Perhaps this is one of the many curses tied to the experience of ‘adulting’.
What happened? What causes a natural expression of our inner truth and wisdom to come to a complete stop in the midst of delivery? This is a situation that you will rarely ever experience in a Kindergarten classroom. With each question posed by the teacher the majority of the students are so eager to share their ideas, insights and opinions that they jump out of their seats, verbally expressing their excitement to share, “oh, oh, oh pick me, pick me.” At that age, if they have not been told that what they have to say has no value their entire body delivers their message without any concern as to what people will think. How often do we experience this confident delivery in a boardroom meeting?
Embarrassment is defined as having a feeling of shame, awkwardness or self-consciousness. Who wants to carry that ball and chain around in life? As posted in a previous blog: Stop It! Somewhere along our time-line we lost our confidence around the simple truth that we matter and what we have to say has value, even if it’s contrary to popular opinion. Perhaps our inability to speak our truth came from giving power away to someone in authority who questioned our worth and value. Perhaps we had a moment of enthusiastic confident expression that was met by criticism and ugly feedback. Either way it is essential to remember that we are the gatekeepers of how we choose to show up in life. If we gave the power away to unhealthy conclusions about our worth and value along with how we express ourselves in life then we have the ability to take it back.
People often feel instant connection in the midst of vulnerability. Take it from anyone who has spent some time with complete strangers who share similar challenges in life. It is the bridge that connects humanity heart to heart. The fear of embarrassment flows from thoughts like, “I’m not good enough; I don’t have the credentials to speak up; What if I’m wrong; I’m not qualified, smart enough, part of the A-Team; What if I step on someone’s shoes; What will people think of me; My desire to fit in is greater than my courage to speak up; I want everyone to like and understand me; What if people disagree with what I share; I can’t handle opposing opinions. Think back to a time in your life when you spoke your truth from your unique gifts, perceptions and talents without one thought as to what will people think if I say this?
The “what will people think phobia” is one thing that sabotages crucial invitations for personal excellence in life. What if you woke up tomorrow without any concern around, “what will people think if I share my creative thoughts; ideas and insights today?” What would you notice to be different about your body language? Intonation, facial expressions and confidence in conversation? Give more power to your inner voice of inspiration than to the fear of negative response.
I invite you this week to practice speaking up when moved to do so, confidently sharing your creative thoughts and ideas. Even if you have to act your way into feeling, feel the restriction and move through it anyway. You have been doing this your entire life. Because we gravitate toward that which is familiar when we learn anything new, we experience push back. This is simply practicing something you forgot you have the ability to do naturally. Practice has built in grace.
Make sure to align your delivery of information with the person you are committed to being in this world. For example if you are committed to being a kind, enthusiastic and innovative human being then make sure your words, thoughts, deeds and action reflect how you desire to show up. Too often the serpent of EGO and insecurity slithers into the delivery system of valuable content, diluting its effectiveness along with rendering everyone in it’s path paralyzed in their ability to contribute for fear of verbal attack. Speak the truth in confidence, love and kindness. Effective communication walks through the archway of love and kindness. Remember, no one holds the power to make you feel inferior unless you give it away. Practice looking through the lens of opportunity for growth. Next time you feel the serpent of embarrassment slither into your mental radar pause and initiate curiosity and fascination: Hmmm, what’s my lesson for positive growth here?
Embarrassment flows directly from too much mind space around how people will respond to you, it is more concerned about superficial presentation and fluff than it is about fully and confidently occupying the person you are created to be in this world. Embarrassment is self oriented in thinking and confines you to a very small space of self-expression and ability to excel in life. If we have one prayer for personal excellence may it be: Dear God, protect me from compliments and complaints so that my heart remains grounded in the mission for which it beats. Deliver me from the desire to be liked, appreciated and acknowledged, as these desires too often hold me back from the fullest expression of the person I am created to be in this world and the work I am called to accomplish.