gal on the move
The cycle of embarrassment I was telling my wusband about a man up to me to get help if I didn’t underI was on a flight with. Things don’t stand something. I remember having work the same on small jets – he ac- to speak up in order to get what I cidentally pulled a panel off of the roof needed or wanted, and often got what I asked for. during the flight. It wasn’t It’s incredible when serious, and I’m certain you realize that part of he wasn’t the first one to the reason that you are do it. It was funny. the person that you are is But as I was telling the because of your parents. story I could feel how emI realized that part of the barrassed this guy must reason that I am often have felt. I was saying willing to do things is that I didn’t understand because I resist the fear why he didn’t just ask for of embarrassment. help when he couldn’t Embarrassment is a get the overhead comfunny thing. The only partment open, but my Robyn Vie-Carpenter reason we’re embarrassed wusband said she totally is because we allow ourunderstood – he just didn’t want to be embarrassed. I said selves to be. No one can make us feel that it was illogical to not ask for help; embarrassed. Often the reason that when he broke the plane, he ended up things in life escalate to crises is that we don’t want to be embarrassed, so don’t being embarrassed anyway. It was my mother who taught me to speak up soon enough. It’s why people ask for help. I remember being cloaked won’t ask for directions. “I’ll be too emin fear when I needed to ask for some- barrassed.” We do all kinds of things to thing. When I was about seven, my avoid embarrassment and end up with mother started telling me that it was even more to worry about.
march 20, 2013 | outfrontonline.com
What if someone knows that we don’t know where we are? What if someone knows that we don’t know the answer? Will we turn to dust? Will we spontaneously combust? No. We might blush. We might break out into a sweat. We may even wish that we got swallowed up in a hole. All that really happens is we get, momentarily, embarrassed. The heart of embarrassment is the fear of being judged: we think someone is going to think something about us. We think that if we lack something – some knowledge or ability to do something on our own – it’s considered a weakness. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds. We feel vulnerable when we put ourselves in a position to be judged, so we judge ourselves first to avoid letting it be exposed. If we avoid exposing ourselves to the possibility of judgment, we can avoid being embarrassed. The issue with that is we also avoid getting what we need. So, what’s the solution? The option is to not be embarrassed to ask. We have to admit that we all have
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“weakness” and stop worrying about how it looks. Ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen. If you can handle the worst, then take a deep breath and do it. Ask for help. Say I don’t understand. Yes, I know that can be a challenge. Risk being embarrassed – you’ll be fine. You might ask, what if someone makes fun of me for asking? I say, so what? Why do they care that you asked for help? You can decide not to be embarrassed. If you present yourself as a person who isn’t afraid to ask, nothing new gets exposed about you when you do. You can decide that only your own opinion of you matters. You can take control of how you are going to feel. You’ll be amazed at how empowered you feel, and how much you learn, when you don’t let fear control you. Thanks for the lesson, Mummy! ]
Email Robyn at GoddessOfJoy1@gmail.com. For more Robyn, visit ofcnow.co/FQv.
COVER STORY: Young, Gay and Broke: gay men who live outside the margins of traditional society.