Do You Hate Feeling Embarrassed?
If so, you’re like most people. No one really likes feeling embarrassed. By definition, it’s a feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness – all things that no one likes to feel.
For most shy guys, embarrassment is viewed as the problem, and the solution is to avoid whatever causes those uncomfortable feelings.
Seems like a good fix, right? Actually, this solution itself is the source of the problem. Let me explain.
Embarrassment (i.e. feelings of awkwardness or self-consciousness) are a possibility in any human interaction. Whether you’re going to supermarket, talking to a stranger, asking a woman out for a date, or giving a speech to a room full of people – embarrassment is always a possibility. Anytime you are around another human being, there is the possibility you might feel self-conscious or they might judge you for something.
In order to minimize the risk of embarrassment, you have to minimize your social interactions.
You also have to limit the ways in which you’ll interact with people, the types of people you interact with. For example, you might be limiting yourself from flirting or from starting a conversation with a beautiful woman whom you don’t know.
As a result of avoiding, instead of developing a thicker skin and resiliency to the judgments of others, you become more fragile and more frightened of the reactions of others. Worse still, the more you avoid, the less you develop your social skills, and the more likely you are to have moments that feel awkward or embarrassing. In this way, the solution of avoidance actually creates more of the problem (embarrassment).
The Comfort Zone
Your comfort zone is all of the things you’re comfortable doing. It includes the foods you like to eat, the clothes you wear, and the commute you take to work. It also includes how you move your body, what you choose to say (or not say), and how you interact with other people.
Any action is either inside your comfort zone or outside of it. Some are way inside of your comfort zone, such as driving a car. Others, such as starting a conversation with a stranger, might be outside of your zone.
What’s amazing about your comfort zone is that it grows or shrinks depending on what you do. If you only do things from within your comfort zone (which means you avoid anything that makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed), then your comfort zone will shrink. As it does, more and more things will seems uncomfortable or embarrassing. On the other hand…
The more actions you take that are outside of your comfort zone, the less embarrassed you will feel over time.
The first time you go up to a stranger and ask them what time it is, you might feel a nervous or uncomfortable. You might be afraid that they’ll judge you or think you are weird or strange.
However, if you stick with it and ask 50 different people over the span of several weeks, it starts to seem easier. In fact after 50 people, it might cease to make you embarrassed or nervous at all.
This is the essence of exposure work, and it’s a major part of the pathway to social liberation. Stay tuned for the next post where you’ll learn all about how to liberate yourself with gradual exposure.