Published on August 24th, 2013 | by Jen Sparks


(Blog) Our Most Embarrassing Moments

I wrote about shame that was put on me by others in my article Shame. While I was working on it, Becky and I had a chat about embarrassment, humiliation, and shame. We shared some of our embarrassing moments. Have a laugh at our expense.

Becky: I felt embarrassed when I walked out of the airport bathroom with my skirt tucked in my tights…didn’t realize it till a nice lady told me after I had walked across a crowded waiting room. That embarrassment was a healthy indicator that I’d breached a social norm.

Jen: AHAHAHAHA!!! OMG. How many deaths did you die?

Becky: Three.

I was ashamed of myself last night when I realized I’d said something needlessly snarky to someone in trying to win an argument. I went back and deleted it.

I felt humiliated in college when I had to own up to a high school crush in a youth group game that left me standing in front of 40 people, including the boy I had liked.

I think those are all authentic and healthy emotional experiences. In the first few cases, I was out of bounds and the embarrassment helped me come back in.

In the last example, I hadn’t done anything wrong, and I just had to allow myself to feel embarrassed and then move on.

In the case of the shame you’re talking about in your article, we don’t have to own it. It’s external to us. We can feel the emotion, and then reject the cause of it.

And yeah, conviction is totally different. Perhaps the difference between conviction and condemnation is the difference between embarrassment and shame.

Jen: YES. THAT. That’s what I’ve been wrestling with trying to be succinct about.

I burst out laughing when I asked a friend what happened to his ex-girlfriend, and he said she died in a car accident. It was HORRIBLE. Oh my gosh.

I was so embarrassed I had asked that it came out in laughter. Apparently the look on my face was priceless. My mother was HORRIFIED.

Becky: Oh no! I burst into hysterical laughter when we almost killed our first dinner guest. He choked on the tough steak I served him. If he hadn’t thrown up all over my living room, Matthew would have done the Heimlich on him.

Jen: Exactly that.

So, do us a favor…would you share a moment of embarrassment with us? 

Image by Butterfly Sha under a Creative Commons license.


About the Author

Jen Sparks

is a wife & a mum of six (pro bono). Living in Darwin, Australia, she’s a lazy perfectionist whose house is a magazine spread in her head. Real life? Not so much.

  • Catalinakel

    Jr. High, 1974. Wearing yellow Dittos. Got my period all over the place while sitting on the grass having lunch with friends, both male and female.

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