Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Willing to Risk Embarrassment

Last Sunday, my husband and I ushered at church.  Spielberg-lucas-americanart-2537356-h

It was the second time we'd done it, but there's lots to remember (mostly having to do with timing and where to stand and which way to face) and the first time we did it we had someone telling us what to do.  This time we were on our own. 

And  I felt awkward, and after we came in a bit late during the offering, embarrassed.  Afterwards, I sat in the back of the sanctuary and pondered embarrassment and what a useless feeling it is.

For me, often, embarrassment comes when I'm doing something for the first time.  I do something wrong and then I feel stupid.  Which is silly, because if I've never done anything before, why should I be expected to know how to do it?

This links back to perfectionism.  Somehow we feel that we should be expected to be perfect and know how to do everything, and exactly what to say in every moment.  And, let me just say, perfectionism kills the creative spirit.  It is death to free-flowing writing.  Many writers that I've worked with have struggled to overcome their perfectionist streaks.

So I say, let's risk embarrassment.  Let's risk doing something new and doing it imperfectly.  Let's risk putting crazy, wild words on the page and putting them out for the world to see.  Let's risk being our authentic selves and saying to hell with what the world thinks.

How about it?  Do you agree?  How do you deal with embarrassment?

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Photo by cliff1066.

7 thoughts on “Willing to Risk Embarrassment

  1. Charlotte Dixon

    Yeah, and the problem is that telling yourself to suck it up doesn’t work so well. Or maybe it does for you. Maybe we should have a contest to rack up rejections. I think I’m up to around 30. I tell people they can consider self publishing something when they’ve hit 100 rejections. Remember, the author of the mega-bestseller The Help submitted it to 60 agents before she found one who would take it. The thing that gets me is that most of them now don’t even bother to reject you, you just don’t hear from them. So there’s no closure, and you’re never exactly sure if you’ve been rejected or not. Crazy. Anyway…go put those big boy pants on, submit some more, and report back.

  2. Jeanne Kraus

    I rarely get embarrassed any more. When I do, I just deal with it and move on. I figure that at the age I am now, I should have the right to be happy, sad, embarrassed, or not. I find there is little that embarrasses me any more. It has to be a pretty big issue. I am hardly ever embarrassed by my own shortcomings and choose to poke fun at myself in my writing. I am definitely not a perfectionist though. That is probably harder. I could use a little perfectionism.

  3. Charlotte Dixon

    Jeanne, Yeah, for laid-back types like us, that perfectionism thing is sometimes appealing. But trust me, it is really very debilitating because it stops you cold at every turn. And hooray for not feeling embarrassed ever again!

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Catherine, I think channeling any and all “negative” emotions into writing is the best thing to do–very healthy, keeps the drama on the page and out of your life.

  5. Catherine Johnson

    I definitely get embarrassed easily so if I could channel that to just stay in my writing that would be good. Perfectionist in some things and it can be a hindrance.

  6. Fear of Writing

    Back when I was first blogging, and then again when I started to tweet, it felt like the very act of being online was fraught with the fear of embarrassment. I remember being shaky with fear whenever I was about to press the Tweet button on anything that was directly about me or my offerings (as opposed to tweeting about people I like and wish to support – that’s like falling off a log). Eventually, with enough exposure, I got used to it. Now I look back and wonder what my big deal was.

    But you nailed it in your 4th paragraph. Whenever I have to do something on unfamiliar terrain, displaying skills that aren’t yet second nature to me, there’s the potential for embarrassment. I agree, it’s a pointless emotion. I guess my #1 way of dealing with it is to empathize and help ease others through their awkward first stages whenever I can.

  7. Charlotte Dixon

    Milli, I actually remember that same feeling around blogging.  When I first started blogging, I didn't even want to tell anybody I had a blog!  It felt so personal.  And I know tweeting felt the same way.  So much of it is about not being comfortable with the unfamiliar.  And then it gets so much easier!  Life is funny that way.

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