4/28 Daily Prompt – Cringe-Worthy
Do you feel uncomfortable when you see someone else being embarrassed? What’s most likely to make you squirm?

Having spent a lot of my life embarrassed for the way I look, the things I say or do, my ‘ditziness,’ my various physical imperfections, and my thoughts and feelings, I can’t help but feel empathy for someone who is being embarrassed.  I have great compassion for the underdog.

I have always had a hard spot for people who make fun of others, especially when it is for something the target of the ridicule can’t change.  Bullies, or those folks who take the cheap shot by making fun of the frizzy hair, the braces, the physical or mental disability, make me angry.  I have often stood up for the victim, having been a victim so much in the past.  When I see them being harassed or taunted, I still feel that horrible feeling in my gut that makes me want to sink into the floor.

That said, I also feel embarrassment for people who embarrass themselves.  That usually results from too much alcohol, too little self control, or strong emotions.  Like having a very public fight with your date or continuing to ask that girl for a dance when she’s already said no, this behavior tends to make everyone around you cringe.  It’s too bad that we can’t see ourselves the way others do; it might keep some of that tendency toward self-humiliation in check.  I spent a lot of time as the designated driver among my group of friends, and all I can say is, it’s a good thing that the rest of the people were drunk, too, because then nobody remembered how badly they behaved.

I’m not saying that I’m above embarrassing myself – oh no, no, no.  I’ve done it many times, and it seems that nobody has tired of reminding me about it.  But I’m not as self-conscious about it these days, as I have come to accept that I’ll trip down the stairs, push the door that says, ‘Pull,’ or wear my blouse inside out.  I’m like that.

People make mistakes, and I’ve learned over the years that most of the time when I am embarrassed it is because of what I think someone will think.  I may be ashamed of something stupid I said or did, and I’ll worry that it will make me look bad to someone else, when in reality, that person isn’t concerned with me at all.  People don’t care what I do — they’re more interested with their own business.  The less I worry about what others think, the less embarrassment I feel.

Don’t we all wish we were more confident?  Stop being so self-conscious and risk a little embarrassment.  Step up and show the world the masterpiece that you are!

photo credit Brandon Grasley

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Aging like a fine wine. ;-)

2 thoughts on “Cringe-Worthy”

  1. You wear your blouses inside out, huh? Sheesh. You know this is an explosive topic; one which will invite a great deal of he-said, she-said mom-always-liked-you-best kinds of comments, right? LOL But seriously, I think it works this way: we experience embarrassment ourselves more when we are at the peer pressured ages of junior and senior high. As we age, depending upon certain social circumstances, we feel embarrassment less and indignity more. By the time we are old enough to have launched children, we reflect, painfully, upon what we have experienced and what we have observed and we feel keenly the humiliation of others. I have always been shy, and blushed when even slightly uncomfortable. I, too, identify with those who have been teased and cat-called, but have rarely spoken up for myself. It was usually the other person I went to battle for. But I recall, painfully, when I took part in the teasing of another. I’m not proud of that. I speak up more now than I ever have. It’s time. I do not go looking for causes to put my nose into, but mother always did say, “silence implies agreement”. She was right. Good old mom.

  2. I’ve been known to find my tags on the outside, yes. Ahem.
    You have said very well what is in my head, too. Peer pressure is so hard, and although it’s probably strongest in adolescence, there’s still plenty to go around for the rest of my days. And I am ashamed of my teasing days, as well. I’m not a very good ‘mean girl.’
    Yep…good ol’ Mom.

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