I was hanging out with some good friends tonight. One friend asked ‘what’s your most embarrassing moment?’, and then began to recall his, not knowing that he really meant ‘what’s the most inspirational story you’ve ever been told in a time of self-doubt’.
He was in grade three, the project was to show your family tree: parents and grandparents on both sides. Trouble, though: his grandfather had a name, which he thought, being in grade 3 and all, was very embarrassing. I’m sure you can all recall that feeling of bling fear of doing something that you will most certainly receive torment for. It is a paralyzing feeling that consumes your thoughts - not a good place for a third grader. But when the time came, he stood up, gave the names of his mother, father, mother’s mother, mother’s father, father’s mother, and then, “…and my father’s father’s name is Barney.” It was told that the class burst into laughter, as his fears had expected. His girlfriend at the time (aww) condoled him, he said he was OK, despite the tears running down his face.
He returned home and upon seeing his grandfather shortly after (he lived down the street), recalled the recent events to him. “I was so embarrassed…”, his grandfather stopped him mid sentence and braced my friend by the arms. Clearly giving no shits about the petty events that had unfolded, glass of scotch in hand, he said “Son, don’t ever be embarrassed. You only live so long, and it’s a waste of your time. One day, someone will try to embarrass you again, and you’ll just shrug it off, and then they’re the ones that are embarrassed.”
Lesson: embarrassment is a mechanism which emphasizes mistakes we have made such that we remember them and are thus less likely to repeat. But you’re an intelligent individual: take the lesson, and move one. Embarrassment should give you kicks in the butt every once in a while, but never beat you down.