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

The Trouble With "Shame On You! You Shouldn't Feel That!"

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 27, 2015 in Ambigamy
Some people shun negative emotions to purge them. It doesn't work.

Baby Crying? Don't Shame the Parents!

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on July 26, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
A medical doctor, also a parent, wrote to me recently to complain about my blog post, "'Dangers of Crying it Out.'" Here is (most of) my response.

Stories of Seclusion: Embarassed into Isolation

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 26, 2015 in How To Do Life
The price of an affair can be great indeed.

The Value of the Therapeutic Relationship — Part One

I have always considered therapy a “gift” and the decision to work with a therapist a proactive sign of self-compassion and courage as well as a healthy statement about one’s desire to learn, grow, and heal. However, for countless people the idea of seeking out therapy and opening up about painful emotions, intimate or shame-based thoughts and behaviors is too daunting, an

The Benefits of a Trauma-Sensitive Approach to Healing Shame

I have created a compassion cure program for former victims of trauma that includes: self-understanding, self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, self-kindness, and self-encouragement. This article focuses on the first of these five components of self-compassion.

Don’t Be Shameless! Why Good People Feel Bad Emotions

We tend to protect our children from shame. Should we?

F%$& Shame, TEDx and Mental Health

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on July 13, 2015 in All About Addiction
Many of us don't give the proper weight to the use of mental health labels. As this talk shows, diagnostic labels can actually impact the way in which labeled individuals perform. If nothing else, this fact should make us more wary of using these labels as everyday placeholders to describe those around us. We may just be sentencing them to meeting our low expectations.

Bill Cosby: Patriarch to Predator

Separating reality from TV fiction

Shame and Depression

Low on energy = low on activity. That is a sure fire path to feeling blue. How does a person deal with what seems like an inevitable failure of motivation and activity?

Is Your “Game Over” or “Job Over?”

Is Your Job Over or Is Your Game Over: learn from the pros.

Funny… or Bullying?

In his Comedy Central special, Ari Shaffir viciously took on a female comic for being fat and having only one arm - even mentioning her by her full name. Is this comedy or bullying? Is this OK? What are your thoughts?

Gay Marriage Ruling: Maybe We Can All Breathe More Easily

Gay Marriage Ruling: Maybe We Can All Breath a Little More Easily. Acceptance and inclusion makes us all feel better. By David Braucher, L.C.S.W., Ph.D.

5 'Flaws' That Just Make You More Lovable

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on June 30, 2015 in In Love and War
You may think that people love you despite your flaws, not because of them. But some of the traits that you see as flaws may be more attractive than you realize.

The Impact of Cyberbullying: 3 Strategies to Help

Cyberbullying is a general term used to describe a form of bullying that takes place via electronic technology, such as blogs, chat rooms, emails, and other social media sites. It’s such a devastating form of bullying because it can happen literally at any time—24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Reflections on Pixar's "Inside-Out" and the Neglect of Shame

Distinguishing whether you are depressed because you have experienced a prolonged state of sadness, or because you have experienced a prolonged state of shame, is critically important.

Delight, Cruelty and Young People

By Nick Luxmoore on June 23, 2015 in Young People Up Close
How can anyone delight in young people capable of doing terrible things?

Stories of Seclusion: Obese, She Decides to Lose It Alone

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in How To Do Life
It's tempting to hide to avoid embarrassment and hearing what we need to.

The Psychological Effects of Shaming Children

Public shaming videos seem to be on an uptick, and the recent story of a teen girl’s apparent suicide after a public shaming incident is an extreme example. Whether or not this particular case was a one of a parent shaming his child, there are lessons for all parents on the psychological risks of using shame to change your child or teen's behavior.

What Do Dreams Mean?

Dreams have fascinated people from the beginning of time. People believe dreams foretell the future; that they have psychological meanings; we commune with sprits and the dead; that there are visitations from ancestors; dreams are filled with omens and auguries. They are steeped in mystery, as if written in some kind of secret code, decipherable to a special few.

Shame Indicates Anxiety Disorders in Children

Which emotion is a bigger indicator of an anxiety disorder in children - guilt or shame?

Strange Bedfellows: Love and War

By E E Smith on June 21, 2015 in Not Born Yesterday
The month of June is traditionally the time for weddings. Newspapers, magazines, and all forms of social media are teeming with photos of beaming grooms and blushing brides. Wait a minute. Do brides still blush? Somehow, I doubt it.

Avoiding Violence

By Thomas Scheff Ph.D. on June 15, 2015 in Let's Connect
Studies suggest that most violence is caused by hidden humiliation.

11 Reasons Never to Shame Anyone

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on June 11, 2015 in Living Single
When people behave badly (or when we think they do), we are often tempted to shame them. From psychological research, though, we have learned that what happens to people who are shamed can be quite dire.

Why Pride Is Nothing to Be Proud Of

We may pride ourselves on our achievements and accomplishments, but clinging to pride can become a trap that disconnects us from ourselves and others. In contrast, cultivating a sense of dignity can free us to honor and be ourselves just as we are. We create suffering for ourselves when cling to a sense of superiority. Dignity allows us to more more freely through life.

3 Lessons Everyone Should Learn From Introverts

By Jen Kim on June 01, 2015 in Valley Girl With a Brain
Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, everyone can benefit from being quiet and thoughtful.

Beyond Individual Psychology: How Psychology Shames

Do you see your problems as only your own? Do you see how they are part of a larger family or cultural system? If not, you may be burdened with undeserved shame.

3 Reasons We Tell Strangers More Than We Should

Have you ever told intimate details of your life to a stranger on a plane? Does your hair stylist know your whole life story? Why do we disclose so much personal information to complete strangers? Here are 3 surprising psychological reasons.

Reflections on ‘Montage of Heck’

Cobain is the poster child for emotional devastation. And yet, at the same time, there is something in his music which resonates powerfully with his generation. This documentary affords us a view as to how it all got established and played itself out – his pain, his shame, his his inability to relate, his drug addiction, his art, his suicide.

A Heart-Rending Story of Courage in the Face of Loss

Bella lost her baby. What she did with her anger, grief and shame is remarkable.

#rednoseday: Mental Health Is Social Equity!

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on May 20, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
Thursday, May 21 is the first Red Nose Day in the U.S. Here are some thoughts on what emotional problems are worsened with socio-economic inequity and why.