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

Why Are Painful Emotions So Hard to Handle?

By Leon Hoffman M.D. on February 10, 2016 Beyond Freud
Throughout development, maturity lessons need to be learned and re-learned in order to best master the inevitable disappointments of life.

Blake Griffin's Mea Culpa

How Blake Griffin could earn back the trust of fans and supporters after being a bully

No More Sex Until...

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on January 27, 2016 Fighting Fear
A common, although largely ignored, problem for some couples is how to have sex with the children still awake. I offer a solution.

What About Shaming People Into Recovery?

By Stanton Peele on January 26, 2016 Addiction in Society
Mindfulness and Loving Kindness are Buddhist practices with compelling psychological bases. They argue for the legalization of drugs, harm reduction, and self-empowering treatment.

How Has Shame Influenced Your Life?

Do you recall someone telling you "you should be ashamed of yourself." Have you continued to "shame on yourself?" How will you let go of your false notions of shame?

Do You Expect Too Much from Yourself?

We burden ourselves when our expectations are unrealistically high. Being human means having limits and sometimes failing. But failure can be a doorway to future success.

Practical Advice for Parents Dealing With Bedwetting

By David J Ley Ph.D. on January 06, 2016 Women Who Stray
Parents and children dealing with nighttime bedwetting often deal with tremendous shame around an embarrassing secret. But there are ways to deal with it.

Fear and Shame on New Year's Day

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on January 01, 2016 Don't Delay
The Roman god Janus, for whom January is named, had two faces. One looked back to the past; the other looked forward. As we do this today, let's talk about how this makes us feel.

The Hidden Emotion That Sabotages Our Lives

Shame is an insidious emotion that quietly sabotages our lives. The article offers ways to become more mindful of the shame we carry.

South Koreans Use Suicide to Preserve Honour.

Fueled by a desire to conceal mental illness, many Koreans are averse to seeking therapy

Laughing at Mental Illness?

Who is making the joke and why? Comedy helps people cope with mental illness.

3 Ways to Tackle Telephone Phobia

By Jean Kim M.D. on December 15, 2015 Culture Shrink
Are you afraid of using the phone to call people? You are not alone. Here are some simple strategies to tackle this not uncommon form of social phobia.

Yellow on the Outside

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on December 14, 2015 Minority Report
Why do Asians get straight A's and strive to become doctors and lawyers? Why do Asians really play the piano? Korean-American author Anson Chi shares how Asian Shame plays a role.

How Shame Suffocates Love and Creativity

Shame is a master emotion that stifles our aliveness and creativity. This article explores toxic shame and offers ways to heal the shame that often lurks in the background.

Early Education

This month we conclude our discussion of education with “Education – Part II.” The emphasis is how to enhance education by mobilizing the positive affects.

Sex Addiction is About Morality, Not Sex

By David J Ley Ph.D. on December 05, 2015 Women Who Stray
Study after study finds that sex addiction is about a moral conflict over sexuality, not about frequency of sex behaviors.

3 Reasons Not to Give Kids Too Many Presents

Buying too many gifts for your kids during the holiday? Here's why you want to stop.

What to Do When Social Media Make You Miserable

Social networks can often stimulate the unpleasant emotions of shame and envy. Here's how to shrug off those posts that peeve you.

The Hidden Reasons We Don't Let Love In

While the fear of rejection is understandable, the fear of acceptance is less visible. Being mindful can open a deeper capacity to receive the love 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:

Abusive Partners Can Change!

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