How To Get Over Embarrassment & Move On With Life In 7 Practical Ways

How to get over embarrassment…

Everybody experiences embarrassment from time to time, whether it’s an embarrassing moment at work or among family and friends.

Embarrassing moments often occur in our relationships, creating an awkward situation that may be difficult for you to cope with or overcome.

While some situations are momentary and don’t have a lasting effect, other incidents may feel like big mistakes, and it can be challenging to move on from them.

When a person feels embarrassed, it can be an emotional experience, and any attempt to feel better or less self conscious within the moment doesn’t seem to work.

Unfortunately, awkward moments can last for some time, and if an incident makes a significant impression on others, it can cause a person to feel deep shame and self-consciousness. It’s important to realize that embarrassing moments can’t always be avoided.

Still, there are some healthy and productive ways to deal with them afterward to rebuild your confidence and self-esteem.

Understanding the Best Way to Get Over Embarrassment

1. Acknowledge the Embarrassment

The first step to gaining a better perspective of the embarrassing experience is acknowledging it happened and deciding to move forward.

In the very moment when the impact of that awkward moment is high, it can feel like you want to shrink back or avoid talking about it altogether. In some cases, people will deny it completely and brush it off like it is no big deal.

While it’s important not to let the situation cause you to feel embarrassed, it’s equally important to accept it and then leave it in the past.

Quite often, these embarrassing moments feel like the end of the world. However, they don’t have to become an ongoing source of frustration for you.

Instead, simply acknowledge that the embarrassing moment occurred and is now in the past. We are often our own toughest critics, but the truth is that it is okay to make mistakes.

Once you realize that everyone makes mistakes and has done something embarrassing in their lives, the embarrassment becomes much easier to conquer.

Related: How to Stop Ruminating: What Causes it and Effective Ways to Combat it

2. Avoid Self-Deprecating Jokes

We often set high expectations for ourselves, and when we don’t meet those expectations at some point, even in a small way, we feel like we’ve let everyone else down, including ourselves. An embarrassing moment can lead to feelings of inadequacy and cause us to put ourselves down because we feel defeated or lost.

Some people say things like “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t mean to do that,” followed by unkind, self-deprecating jokes. While it may seem light-hearted and fun at the time, we often do this to avoid further embarrassment. However, the truth is that self-deprecating jokes hurt our mental health and confidence.

Instead of dwelling on the embarrassing experience, apologize, brush it off and focus on moving forward. Suppose a sense of humor provides relief during the situation, then crack a joke (that isn’t about belittling yourself).

Laughing at an embarrassing moment or awkward situation can be therapeutic and draw attention away from yourself, making it something that is easy to look past.  

Related: How to Stop Being Insecure in a Relationship: Rebuild Your Self-Esteem

How to get over embarrassment

3. Find Common Ground with Embarrassing Moments

Since everybody experiences awkward moments and embarrassment sometimes, drawing from past experiences and sharing stories about these incidents can make them less difficult to endure.

This technique is a great way to build relationships with people, and it’s an important way to remember that everyone is human and capable of getting embarrassed.

When something happens, it’s often outside of your control. Sometimes, your responses or comments during a conversation don’t flow as smoothly as you would have liked, making the dialogue uncomfortable or awkward.

When this occurs, you can make a joke about it, except make sure not to tear yourself down in the process. Often other people can easily relate to our experience and will often feel comfortable sharing their own mistakes or stories of embarrassment. 

Embarrassment is one of the most common things that people share, whether it’s easy to admit it or not. Most people will share a sympathetic perspective towards someone that is embarrassed. Understanding this makes it easier to swallow the embarrassment in the moment. 

Related: How to be Less Self Conscious in 10 Easy to Follow Steps

4. Consider Psychology and the Outside Perspective

Understanding your social situation or setting is important when looking to get over the embarrassment. An outside perspective of an embarrassing situation is often based on the cultural expectations of the community where the incident takes place.

For example, if a setting is casual and the people you are with are close, an awkward fumble or mistake can easily be dismissed with a sense of humor. A house party among close friends may have a higher level of acceptance when it comes to awkward situations, as everyone is more relaxed, comfortable with each other, and willing to laugh it off.

On the other hand, imagine a formal event, such as a wedding, where a speech goes horribly wrong, or a table of gifts or food is accidentally pushed over. Incidents like these are often more embarrassing and remembered long after the event. 

Taking into consideration your situation or circumstance also determines how you should react to embarrassment. If you are amongst friends, laughing it off will work well.

Whereas, if you were the bride at a wedding, it might be best not to address the issue at all and simply continue with the night so that you do not make the situation seem worse than it is. 

It is important to remember that there are many other forms of embarrassment, such as reminding a relative or friend of a debt they owe or not knowing how to respond to an unexpected compliment or praise.

Some people even feel awkward before an interaction, fearing the worst possible outcome or nervous that they will say or do the wrong thing. It’s also common to feel embarrassed for somebody else, such as a close friend, colleague, or relative. 

Understanding the situation and context with which the mistake or incident has occurred is essential when looking to get over the embarrassment.

Sometimes it is appropriate to joke about what occurred, and other times it is best to simply pretend like it didn’t happen and move on entirely without giving it another thought. 

Related: What Does it Mean to be Your Authentic Self? How to Live Authentically

5. Consider the Nature of Relationships

Often within relationships, people generally want things to go smoothly, and any sign of awkwardness is often dismissed or considered nothing more than a laugh by both parties.

In the moment of an embarrassing situation, even when you may feel incredibly comfortable with your friend, co-worker, or family member, you may still feel like you have a spotlight on you and have been given more attention than you’ve expected.

It is important to understand that these feelings are normal and will always arise when we feel embarrassed. There is no way to avoid that initial gut sinking feeling. However, by practicing getting over the embarrassment, you will learn to recover quickly from these types of moments. 

Greater familiarity with the people in your world and lowering your inner expectations can make these awkward situations less of a big deal.

When an embarrassment occurs, change your perspective. Think about how you would react to a friend or loved one that made the same mistake. If you would be kind to them, why not apply the same behavior towards yourself? 

Life will always throw us unexpected situations, and it’s not always easy to know what’s coming next time. Taking things in stride and choosing not to allow awkward moments to negatively affect you can improve your sense of self-confidence.

Related: How to Stop Overthinking: Why do I Overthink and Practical Tips to Stop

6. Understand that Embarrassment and Awkward Moments are Always in the Past

It is important to remember that every moment of awkwardness has already occurred and is now in the past. Once an incident occurs, it doesn’t need to control you or make you feel less than you are. Often an embarrassment only lingers in our minds, and others forget about it or never noticed it in the first place.

Don’t let your mind dwell on what you have said or done. Choose not to ruminate on the embarrassing moment and simply choose to leave it in the past. When we allow our minds to dwell on the embarrassment, we can often feel a high level of stress and anxiety. This ultimately affects us more than the actual embarrassment itself. 

Related: How to Forgive Yourself: It’s Importance, Benefits of Self-Forgiveness

7. Accept Fear and Shift Away from Perfectionism

When we experience feelings of embarrassment, they are often a sign that something else is going on. Individuals prone to perfectionist tendencies usually feel embarrassed more often and for longer periods of time because they set higher standards for themselves than others do.

They may forgive another person’s awkward experience but cringe and become frustrated at their own incident. Perfectionists blame themselves for even the smallest flaw, while other people in the same scenario may be able to laugh or shrug it off.

Perfectionists often fear what others may think of them, even when no one is paying attention to them at that moment or even notices the awkward situation as it unfolds. Also, most embarrassing moments are brief and often go completely unnoticed.

It is important to remember that how we think about ourselves doesn’t always reflect how others see us. It’s okay to be afraid and uncertain about things and “go with the flow” instead of expecting specific outcomes and results.

For example, during a job interview, it’s natural to feel nervous and desire to respond in the best way possible, without mistakes, though it’s not uncommon to fumble or make a mistake now and again.

By dwelling on the embarrassment, it might throw off the rest of the interview. What matters most is recovering quickly and then moving on to continue with the discussion. 

Related: How to Stop Being a Perfectionist: Definition, Causes and Solutions

self conscious about feeling embarrassed

How to Help Someone Else When They Are Embarrassed 

Be Empathetic to Others

When a person is embarrassed, it’s easy to notice their self-consciousness and, in some cases, shame. Just as a kind response is needed when there is an awkward or embarrassing moment, it’s also crucial to show empathy to others who experience embarrassment themselves.

For example, if a co-worker makes a small mistake or delivers the wrong file to you, they may judge themselves quickly, just as others might do the same. However, at that moment, you can let them know that it was only a mistake and isn’t a problem and simply ask them for the correct file. 

Paying attention to someone else’s embarrassment and showing empathy or understanding is a great way to break the tension. In other cases, a situation is so minor that no one notices.

Still, if you have noticed it, it’s an excellent opportunity to distract them with something funny and positive so that they aren’t embarrassed for long. We often don’t realize that an embarrassing moment often goes unnoticed, and any feelings or emotions are within and generally unseen by others.

However, there is nothing wrong with being empathetic towards someone who is embarrassed because you would want the same done for you if you were in their situation. 

Related: How to be Nicer to People and Perform Regular Acts of Kindness

Offer Advice and Support When Asked

A close friend, relative, or co-worker may confide in you about an awkward or embarrassing incident. They may want an outside perspective on how to handle the feelings related to an embarrassment, how to avoid it, and other related advice.

It’s important to manage expectations and talk about how unlikely awkward moments are observed by others or have any real or lasting impact. Most people have no idea about blunders and mistakes and often continue without any response.

The person feeling embarrassed often becomes so focused on their own feelings of self-doubt that they experience empathy neglect. This is a research term that means the embarrassed person doesn’t realize the level of empathy others tend to feel towards them in that situation.

For example, when things go wrong, the matter of embarrassment is usually less of an issue than it may initially seem, and other people are often willing to help or empathize.

Remind them that it isn’t the end of the world and not to dwell on the situation because it can’t be changed now. 

Related: How to Comfort Someone Who is Grieving or Sad and How to Cheer The Up

Summary

Embarrassment is a part of life, and there’s no way to avoid it completely. While everyone handles these situations differently, it’s important to recognize that they are not permanent and quickly slip into the past without anyone noticing.

The biggest challenge with embarrassing moments is how such a slight event can have a major impact based on one individual’s perception of reality. While many people get wrapped up in the moment of feeling awkwardly exposed or forced into the spotlight, no one else experiences the same emotions or feelings.

Embarrassment is essentially a result of how individuals feel internally about something they say or do, intentionally or by mistake.

Whether a situation is a major embarrassment or a momentary feeling of awkwardness, it’s not going to last or control the rest of your life. There is no need to feel shame or self-consciousness, even if your face goes red or you get stuck in the middle of a sentence.

Awkward moments and errors are a big part of being human, and feeling slightly afraid or vulnerable is completely natural. Sometimes, the best connections are made with people through those unexpected moments of awkwardness or embarrassment, even for a minute.

In many cases, a good sense of humor and resilience can create a fun interaction and a better sense of self-confidence, rather than dwelling on the mistake and the past. 

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