What’s your response to embarrassment?

Failure. Fear. Discouragement. Playing-it-safe. These are the usual suspects of the impediments of our growth.

Embarrassment too, at times.

I was at a meeting recently when I learnt how embarrassment could cage us. So here’s what happened:

1. An introvert (moi) walked into a crowded room for a meeting.
2. Said introvert had to coach herself to open up and talk to the roomful of people.
3. Introvert introduces herself and greets the key players at the meeting. She nails it. Almost.
4. One key player doesn’t hear the introvert’s greeting (?) and walks away.
5. Introvert stands with a hand stretched towards that key player, embarrassed.
6. Incident happened at the front of the meeting room. Cough.

Dreamer, has this happened to you?

My initial reaction was embarrassment. You can imagine. I wanted to disappear. I pleaded for rapture.

But wait. There’s a #7 too.

7. The Introvert laughed. Not giggled. Not in nervousness. But in a hearty genuine let-me-reintroduce-myself kind.

That moment, I understood that our response to an embarrassing situation determines whether we’d be embarrassed or not. It determines whether we’d try harder or at all. It determines growth.

Embarrassing situations are uncomfortable. And tricky. But that’s got to do with our response. It could hold us back or it could make us determined to move ahead.

The choice is ours.

What has embarrassment taught you?

Limited perspectives

Challenging circumstances limit our perspectives.

I had an experience recently. I felt frightfully alone. It felt like I was being swallowed up by that struggle. Everywhere I turned (literally), I felt fear lurking in the corners. I felt breathless.

I was scary close to crumbling.

Have you looked up at the sky recently? (Stay with me.)

Have you seen the magnificence of it?

Have you noticed how big it is?

Have you noticed how blue it is?

Have you noticed how far away it is?

If anything changed my perspective that day, it was the sky. And it’s Maker.

I don’t have the answer to what you’re going through this moment. I do know that it must be hard. I understand. Oh boy, do I.

When I looked up at the sky that day, I realized that hope was bigger than my fear. The sky held a small ounce of the hope that I’ve been guaranteed. Fear, automatically, paled in comparison.

Today’s challenge: Look up at the sky. Notice everything you may have missed all this while. Allow the Creator and His creation to soothe your heart.

Sometimes, that’s all the encouragement we need.

Stop judging people

We see someone falter, we judge.

We see someone give up, we judge.

We see someone struggle, we judge.

We hear half the story, we judge.

There’s a reason why judging isn’t any good. I think we judge because we forget. No, really. I mean that.

We forget we are just as human as that person. We forget our own failings, weaknesses and shortcomings. We forget the plank in our eyes.

Wanna hear something quintessentially human? 

Judgments can be made in as quick as a snap.

We don’t know them. Or their story. We probably just met them then. But we judge. And call it first impression.

We’re funny that way. And mean.

Really, what good does it do?

We’ve all missed knowing someone absolutely incredible this way. I say, it’s time to take some intentional steps. I love what Bob Goff said, “Just go love everybody without agenda”.

Let’s stop judging. Let’s start loving.

Don’t take it personally

Sometimes, I think we’re more touchy than we let on. We easily get offended. Think of it.

Personally, I don’t like the idiom ‘don’t take it personally‘. Because it’s usually accompanied by something personal, most times. It’s a lot like beating around the bush for me.

When I think of the amount hurt we hold onto…I hold onto…it’s scary. But that’s the only time I allow myself to hold on to the words, don’t take it personally.

I love my mind in hurtful moments. It sends that reminder to my heart each time pain tempts me. Not every offense or careless word needs to remain lodged in my system. It only remains there and rots, if I allow it. It’s as dangerous as cancer. That’s how it works.

Sometime, we have to just swallow the hurt, learn from the mistake or the experience and not take things so personally.

Someone hurt you today? Don’t take it personally.
Someone was rude to you? Don’t take it personally.
You didn’t make that cut? Don’t take it personally.
Someone didn’t acknowledge you? Don’t take it personally.
Failed at something? Don’t take it personally.

This ‘don’t take it personally’ can be more sensitive than it’s made out to be. Give it a shot by reminding your heart of that today. I’m guessing, it needs to hear that more often than you think.