Understanding Embarrassment

Embarrassment is a painful but important emotion. It makes us feel bad about our mistakes so that we don't repeat them, and one of its side effects—blushing—signals to others that we recognize our error and are not cold-hearted or oblivious. Shame, a related emotion, can be felt even when no one knows about a slip-up. Guilt tends to focus on what one has done, rather than who one is.

Recent Posts on Embarrassment

Shame and Envy in the World of Social Media

From a mental health standpoint, you should be more likely to browse through the Facebook posts of your friends and acquaintances to make yourself feel better. The reality is that social networks can just as often stimulate the unpleasant emotions of shame and envy. Here's how to shrug off those posts that peeve you.

Our Hidden Fear of Acceptance

While the fear of rejection is understandable, the fear of acceptance is less visible. The article explores how this more subtle fear operates. Being mindful of how we fear acceptance can open to door to a deeper capacity to receive the love and caring that is available.

A Gourmand’s Guide to the Passionate Life

Making sense of the emotions with psychiatrist, writer, and drink-maker Neel Burton in his Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions (Acheron Press: 2015)

Illusions and "Troubled Senses" of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Those with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) have a disturbing preoccupation with what they perceive as defects in their appearance—defects hardly noticeable to others. The disorder has been called the “distress of imagined ugliness.” Were Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray and Freud's Wolf-Man suffering from BDD?

How to Overcome Fear of Rejection

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 Ambigamy
Fear of rejection is largely fear of having to rethink your approach. Here are three sane ways to over- or under-reacting to negative feedback.

15 First Date Mistakes You Should Avoid

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on November 03, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
Small mistakes can ruin your chances of getting a second date. Here are the most common ones to avoid:

The 8 Suprising Things Abusive Partners Need To Learn

There is hope for people who have abused their partners. Here's what they need to learn in order to change.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer --Already??

Why had I never realized that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is built around the bullying, shaming and rejecting a child who is different?

The Human Condition: Awe and Shame

How is it that we humans can display remarkable capacity for generosity, love and benevolence, and such artistic and scientific creativity, on the one hand, and also be so sadly intolerant, narcissistic, aggressive and even brutal? Is this our inevitable fate, or can we rise above?

8 Ways to Survive Awkward Conversations

You can't always avoid an awkward conversation, but you can take steps to make them more comfortable.

Which #BlackLivesMatter?

Does suicide forfeit a person’s right to be fully cherished and pain acknowledged? If a community deems suicide an act of weakness, are those beliefs the point of intervention? Let's talk suicide in the Black community.

How Secrets Can Strengthen or Destroy Your Relationship

Secrets that people keep from their partners are generally detrimental to their intimacy. However, when partners share secrets and keep them from the outside world, the effect can be to increase your bonding.

Social Media Shaming: A Call to Conscience or Mob Madness?

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on October 12, 2015 The Pacific Heart
Recently two books explore the good, bad and ugly of online shaming. Here's a brief review and reflections on where we are in the age of social networks

Healing Body-Shame & Trauma: Sharing My Story To Heal Yours

By Laurie B. Mintz Ph.D. on October 12, 2015 Stress and Sex
As a psychologist, I’ve known for a long time that letting go of shame and pain requires speaking the unspeakable. Now I know that sometimes speaking is not enough. Sometimes we have to move, to breathe, and to deeply focus without thinking or talking at all.

6 Ways to (Tactfully) Bring Up Personal Hygiene Issues

By Kerry Patterson on October 12, 2015 Crucial Conversations
Set the tone in helping an awkward discussion go quickly and smoothly.

Escaping or Accepting?

It is my belief that escape is at the heart of all addiction. Brene Brown points out in her book "Daring Greatly," shame and guilt are fostered by our attempts to escape our feelings. She identifies three primary ways of escaping feelings.

Shame, Celebrity, and the Oregon Shooter

By Joseph Burgo Ph.D. on October 12, 2015 Shame
Until we as a society can wean ourselves from celebrity worship, the Golden Age of Narcissism will continue making the most disadvantaged and disturbed among us feel like social "losers," desperate for some way to escape from shame and achieve a fleeting "winner" status.

The Scary Truth About Procrastination

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on October 08, 2015 Motivate!
Sometimes finding out the root cause of our behaviors can be downright frightening. Beware the evil that lurks in the minds of the prospective procrastinator!

5 Factors That Make You Feel Shame

The healthiest way to cope is to own up to shame and allow it to dissipate with time.

Don’t Let Shame Weaken Your Retirement Plans

How can you get power to save for retirement? Retirement planning is possible. Three tips that will empower anyone to plan better without despair and shame.

Dreadful Companions Called Fear, Guilt and Shame

Along with anger comes companion emotions that need to be examined as you heal from your eating disorder or disordered eating. Anger can be an immediate response to pain in your life. Fear, guilt and shame, however, follow close behind.

The Vicious Circle of Ignorance

Applying strategies for cancer denial to students who hide their ignorance

The Shame of Breaking-up

Are women more woebegone than men when a romantic involvement ends?

5 Facts About Asian-American Christian Shame

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on September 23, 2015 Minority Report
Asian-American Christianity is growing in the United States and abroad yet many Asians do not recognize how their cultural messages of shame negatively impacts their spiritual and emotional-well being.

Intimate Relationship Dynamics III

Many therapists greatly underestimate the power of the fear-shame dynamic or, worse, pathologize it.

Parenting Through Post-It Notes

When did it become acceptable to parent through post-it notes? Worthwhile communication almost always requires a conversation. It is phrased respectfully, and it’s helpful and kind. It tells the listener how I feel and what I want-to-happen, or, what I don’t-want-to-have-happen. It explains “why.”

”It Was About a 12-Pound Turkey”

By Cortney S. Warren Ph.D. on September 07, 2015 Naked Truth
“It was about a 12-pound Turkey.” I will never forget my first conversation with a person struggling with Binge Eating Disorder. The pain, anxiety, and shame in this woman’s voice as she described her eating behavior was palpable. Like most people with eating disorders, I was one of the only people she had ever told about her eating behavior and body image.

Women's Sexual Fantasies - the Latest Scientific Research

It's important to note that while headline writers may focus on the fact women have sexual fantasies about coercive sex, this research finds it's an occasional daydream, not a preoccupation. It would be similarly unfair to tar men with the brush of an occasional fantasy they may have.

On-Air Shooting Raises Specter of "Bullying"

Before we are content to establish Flanagan’s ‘underlying mental instability,’ or situate the tragedy at the intersection of graphic video games and life, we must consider the ways in which our culture is fast paced and unforgiving.

The Blessings of Shyness

Shyness is often criticized by our society. But if we distinguish shyness from social anxiety, we might honor being shy as a tender and positive part of ourselves. If we can become more empowered in our shyness rather than feel shame, it can be a doorway to connecting with people in a more deep, sweet, and tender way.