Being embarrassed comes with a special kind of pain. We’ve all been there. We all know the feeling of wanting to be swallowed up by a hole in the ground or wishing we could apperate Harry Potter style straight to our bedroom with the covers pulled up over our heads.
I never wished that more than the day I interviewed for my dream job of event coordinator. I had prayed over this meeting for hours. This job would not only be a dream come true, but it would mean organizing events with the NY Giants football team (MY team!).
I remember sitting across the table from my prospective boss and answering questions calmly when all of a sudden I could feel my face and ears get hot.
“Oh no!” I thought, “Am I really turning red? Why? Why is this happening? I wasn’t embarrassed before, but I’m certainly embarrassed now. Maybe he won’t notice.”
But his next question went something like this, “Would you feel comfortable talking to CEOs of large corporations, or will you turn red when I introduce you and get embarrassed?”
Now I was embarrassed that I was embarrassed and he knew I was embarrassed. It was embarrassment cubed!
At the time, I had no idea what had triggered this redness. Sometimes it would happen when I spoke publicly or felt I was on the spot. Sometimes it wouldn’t happen at all. I was unpredictable, which made matters more worrisome. (Insert sigh here.)
At its heart, embarrassment is a result of shame. It is the result of believing your negative self-talk. Does this sound familiar:
“What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be more like him/her? I’m so stupid. I always say the wrong thing. I don’t even know why they bother with me. I just hurt people.”
I used to play this soundtrack in my head on repeat. I’m sure it was playing somewhere in the back of my mind during that interview, even subconsciously, and wham! There I was red faced and flustered!
Until I remembered the scripture about the greatest of all commandments, Matthew 22:36-40. “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
We think of these commands as being twofold – love God and love your neighbor. But in reality it is threefold. We are to love God, most importantly, and right behind that, we are to love others and ourselves equally. That means we need to extend love and grace to others, and we need to extend that same love and grace to ourselves.
You are just as precious and have as much potential as any of God’s other children. You are called to treat yourself with love. So love yourself. You are called to treat others with love. Love on them! Neither one, nor the other, is more important. They are equally as important.
Has anyone ever told you, you are too hard on yourself? (If I had a nickel…) That’s probably a sign that you are not extending yourself the love and grace you deserve.
The old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” may work for others, but we cannot stop the constant stream of thoughts we have towards ourselves. It’s so important that we learn to think positively about ourselves. After all, it is a command that you love you! It is a command that you forgive you!
Would you ever say to your friend, “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you be more like him/her? You are so stupid. You always say the wrong thing. I don’t even know why they bother with you. You just hurt people.”
I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t. A good rule of thumb for me has been, if a thought is too mean to say aloud to someone else, do not think it about yourself. Replace that negativity with a more positive, loving perspective, even if you don’t believe it at first.
What about you? Would you talk to others the way you talk to yourself?
|Ginny Priz is a Christian coach, writer and speaker. Ginny has overcome her own drama with a prosthetic arm, alcohol, panic disorder, and codependency. She has a passion for guiding others toward the same peace and freedom she has come to experience. Ditching drama is possible for anyone “armed” with God and the Serenity Prayer! It’s never too late to start your own Serenity Journey.
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