Fear of Embarrassment - Fear of Judgement - Social Anxiety
In this episode, I am going to discuss the fear of embarrassment or the fear of judgement. This is one of the most common fears people experience and can often have a significant impact on their day-to-day life. So in this episode, I am going to discuss some common ways the fear of embarrassment manifests, some different case studies, and how you can begin to overcome it.
Hey guys, and welcome to this episode where we're going to talk about the fear of embarrassment. And so, um, when we talk about the fear of embarrassment, really, you know, it's kind of a broad category, right. You know, because obviously all of us have the ability to kind of future pace ourselves into a situation and worry about messing that up and then being judged. Right. And that's really what embarrassment is. Right. It's the idea of you're, you're embarrassed about what happened and what other people are thinking about you. Right. And so that, that fear of judgment is, um, in many ways, kind of the overarching, you know, idea, but, um, fear of embarrassment can also kind of fall under that social anxiety. Right. Um, thing, uh, kind of category where, you know, you're afraid of around, you know, people and oftentimes it's because your mind is producing ideas of like, well, what if they're thinking?
I mean, what if they think this? I mean, what if this happens? Right. You know, like what if they don't like me? What if they think I look funny? Right. And, and so, you know, the kind of list goes on, but the fear of embarrassment, um, bronze into like our workplace. Right. You know, like what if I'm giving a presentation and I mess up what if this happens? Right. What if I, you know, fart during the presentation? Right. I mean, I don't know. Right. You know, the list goes on and on of, of things we can worry about happening and, um, you know, and, and then trying to neutralize those. Right. But the fear of embarrassment, one of the things that is so, um, so challenging for people right. Is, is because we try to become certain about the future. Right. We tried to become certain that some embarrassing event won't happen. Um, and because we can look back to times that we have been embarrassed and then we, you know, future pay side. Like, I don't want to feel that again. Right. So we try to prevent things from happening. And in some cases, this is helpful, right? So if you're giving a presentation, preparing for that presentation is important. So, you know, like
That's a very logical thing, but when, when it's, you know, really fueled by an unhealthy anxiety, right. An unhealthy fear, what happens is, is that then it becomes compulsive and we are doing it about everything, right. We're afraid as soon as we send an email out, well, we need to double check the email, triple check it, make sure every punctuation. And we ended up spending all of our day right now, worrying about getting embarrassed in the future. And what happens is, is there's this reinforcement that takes place, that, that falsely takes place, I should say, because let's say that I am embarrassed about looking foolish from my boss. Right. And I'm at work. And so what I do is I then review all my emails. Right. You know, to the nth degree, making sure that everything, if there's no period, you know, or all this stuff, and then I send it off and nothing happens.
Well, then I think that because I spent all that time doing that, that I actually prevented myself from, you know, being embarrassed and humiliated when in actuality, you know, like the boss is probably not looking for that and it all in the first place. Right. And this is where, um, you know, it can become a problem because what happens is we spend a lot of our time trying to protect ourselves from being embarrassed in the future. And then we ended up avoiding situations and our lives become smaller and smaller and smaller, more limited. And that's really, you know, kind of how we look at, you know, an anxiety disorder, right. When someone's struggling with anxiety or psychological stress. I mean, it really is about, it's not about the internal experience. It's about how limited their life is becoming. And in many cases, those are the tools that we use to measure how ex extreme someone's experience with anxiety and stresses.
It's really about, yes, we do ask about their internal experience, but it really is about how limited is your life becoming? How much is it impacting your social relationships, uh, you know, your work, your functioning, um, 'cause, if you're expending all this energy on that, you only have a limited energy, right. And a limited amount of energy. And so if you're spending all this energy, trying to do this stuff, I mean, it can get very taxing. So, you know, when we talk about treating someone or working with this, right. If I'm working with someone who's with the fear of embarrassment, what I, you know, have come to the conclusion on with my own, you know, stress and anxiety. Right. You know, as far as like, when I was going through treatment, is that if you're worrying about something and you know, what yeah. Where it happens or not like worrying is a form of suffering.
Right. And I've come to the company illusion in many cases, especially when it comes to the fear of embarrassment that, you know, it's like, it's actually better for the embarrassment to happen. And me not worry about it. Cause if I worry about it and it happens, I have to deal with it twice. And if I don't worry about it happens, then I just have to deal with it when it happens. Right. You know, and I know that that's a simple idea and I'm not saying that's like a good motto to just, you know, go about, but we don't realize how much suffering we go through trying to prevent it. Right. And that's really kind of what I like to shine a light on, right. Is like, well, how much suffering are you going through trying to not suffer. Right. Cause you know, the form of embarrassment is a, is a form of suffering for many people.
I mean, for most of us, right. We don't want to be embarrassed so that, so, but we're suffering, trying to not suffer. Right. And that's the paradox, um, that, that I try to try to surface at least to shine a light on. Right. And so when we come to, when we come to treating this right, um, you know, a lot of it has to do with putting yourself in the situations or the possibility of getting embarrassed. Right. It's not about, we have to go and like make a fool of ourselves and let everyone laugh at us and sit and you know, just marinate in that. Right. That's not, that's not what we would do, but what we would do is say, Hey, look, when you're writing an email, leave, leave a period out somewhere inside and see what happens. Right. See if it's really as humiliating as you think, see if you really get scared, like, you know, um, you know, criticized for it, right.
Something like that. Or if it's like, Hey, I'm afraid of giving a speech. So I just avoid it volunteer to give one, let's see if it really happens. Right. We challenge it, we move towards it. We, we face it head on, we don't face, you know, we don't, we don't purposely humiliate ourselves, but at the end of the day, we give ourselves the possibility of being humiliated. Right. Because that's, that's what we're really afraid of. Right. So once we put ourselves in that situation and we see that we get through it and in many cases, nothing happens. We can start to realize that the, all the things we're doing to try to prevent that aren't, aren't usually preventing it. Right. And we're suffering needlessly. Right. And that's, that's really what stress and anxiety is. Right. You know, with, with stress and anxiety disorders, it's a lot of needless suffering.
And I did this for years of my life. So I'm not, this is not casting judgment by any means. It's just, it's just really getting real about what's going on. And, and, and so when, when it comes to this, if there's something that you struggle with, right. I mean, um, yes, it's important to understand one, like how much this is limiting you now for some of us that might not be limiting us that much. And it's like, okay, then it, then it is probably not something you're really struggling. You know what I mean? It's like, you can just start to do things right. To really challenge this fear. Right. Put yourself in the situations you're really afraid of, uh, and to, to re because ultimately it's, it's better to be embarrassed for that short-lived period of time than to spend 10 years worrying about not getting embarrassed.
I mean, like if we really look at a time trade like that, it's, it's clearly better in my eyes anyway. And, and once we realize that, then we can start to move towards it and to say, you know what, like, I'm not going to live. I'm not going to live contained and trapped by this fear. Um, and that's, that's kind of how so with social anxiety, like if we're, if someone's afraid of going to the mall for fear of being judged, it's like, okay, well, we go and you know what? We wear, like some neon clothes, like I'll, I'll walk to the mall, we'll put on some like funky clothes and just walk through and it's like, yeah, maybe everyone's judging us. Great. It's better for them to judge us. Yeah. And for me to be afraid of it, right. Because I'm still living life in control.
And what we need to realize is when we live life driven by fear, we aren't actually in control of our life. Right. That's probably one of the most profound realizations that I had on my own journey was that we think we're in control because we're doing things I'm choosing to do this. But when you're, when fear is driving something you're not choosing a fear is, and very often fear leads us to living very small limited lives. And so when we can break through those, right, that is what allows us to really start to take back control and start to live life on our terms. And so this is something you struggle with. Um, you know, we, we have some resources for you [email protected] I have some links down in the notes, right. Um, right down below where we have, uh, you know, free audio downloads, um, as well as, you know, we have our taking back control program where you, you teach you all the cognitive tools that you need.
We have a free webinar. And we also have, you know, our, our online groups and a live zoom calls that we do, um, with the community. So, um, all those resources are there for you to check out. And so, um, because if there's something you're struggling with, you can get over this and you can get better. And it's really about taking those practice steps. So I hope this was helpful. And if you found it helpful, please, uh, we'd always appreciate if you share, if you'd like, if you subscribe and comment and let us know, um, you know, other ways we can support you, um, ideas for future episodes, all of it. So, uh, we really appreciate it also. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. And I hope you guys have a great day. I'll see you soon.