I’ve written frequently about sticking your neck out and taking a chance. You know, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Really what’s the worst that can happen? Even when it all goes south, it’s rarely as bad as the way you imagined it might be. Last night I was thinking about what often holds us back. I think it’s the fear of not coming off as cool, polished, in charge and in the know. Sounds like ego getting in the way of experimentation.
This made me think about being embarrassed. What’s the big deal? Aren’t those situations the ones we have the most fun sharing with our friends? Don’t we tell and re-tell the stories of our goof ups, our humiliations, our “spinach on the teeth as we trip down the stairs with our shirt mis-buttoned and a tear in our tights while giving the wrong answer to a ridiculously easy question in front of the person we were hoping to impress” moments?
Feel free to insert your own humiliating memory here – mine was just last week when a gust of wind exposed my bottom half to the hundreds of people waiting for the Cable Car at the corner of Market and Powell. My first thought was to wish I’d worn cuter panties. Silly ego, always worrying about how we are perceived. I’m sure every tourist waiting at the corner just felt sympathy for me. OK maybe a few were thinking, “Darn. Why didn’t I have my camera ready.” Actually, as I re-read that last bit I’m the tourist, busy living their lives…didn’t even notice!
Here’s the funny thing: we don’t merely re-tell, we re-tell and in so doing, throw down the gauntlet for friends listening, to one-up us with their own stories of being embarrassed. We can all remember being surrounded by friends, laughing until our latte came out of our noses, trying to convince everyone that we are indeed the dopey-est! Everybody laughs and the one with the most humiliating tale is the “winner.”
So next time you fumble and feel embarrassed, remember how you’ll laugh about it later. Maybe, if you’re lucky, this screw up is so colossal that you’ll be crowned the ditzy-est the next time you and friends swap stories. Why not skip right past embarrassment and laugh about it in the moment?! Why wait?! Why suffer feelings of humiliation?! Why label yourself a fool?! The truth is nobody is paying that much attention.Remember you are not the star in the movie that is their life. At most you have a feature role, but more likely you are a mere extra. You’re worrying about what they’re thinking about you, but all the while they’re actually busy wondering about what you’re thinking about them.
Remember you are just as lovable with your skirt tucked into your underwear, as you are, when it is not.
Smile. Be happy. And check your backside before you exit the stall.
*All of Ruth’s blog posts are illustrated with Smiley Faces found in everyday objects.