Fear of Humiliation|
Fear of humiliation maybe the most common reason we have for not trying things. When we first learn to walk we fall down over and over. Every single time, we get back up. With each fall, we find our determination and co-ordination gets greater and better. As toddlers, we do not have the concept of embarrassment. We know that we can and will walk and no matter what it takes. No matter how many times we get it wrong, we just keep getting up.
At some later date, the same toddler will fall down in front of a group of people and those people may point and laugh and tease. Falling down may have once been just a matter of trial and error, but now falling down is processed as humiliation.
I have never forgotten the first time I came across humiliation. I was in school and one of the boys had done something wrong and was called up in front of the class. A despicable and cruel teacher screamed down on the boy who dropped his head and began to wipe tears from his face. This seemed to delight the teacher and encouraged him to ‘crank it up a bit’ and play to the class like they were his audience at a great play.
Many of the kids in the class laughed and called out ‘Baby’ to the boy. The teacher then pulled up a feather duster and told the boy that he deserved 3 cuts of the cane and one extra one for being a baby. He raised the cane end of the feather duster and then quickly switched the end and hit the boy with the feathered end. The boy was so terrified that he sobbed loudly as the kids laughed and the teacher said, “What a baby, he cries because he was hit with feathers.” This was repeated three or four times. Each time the boy flinched and sobbed and the kids kept chanting, “Baby, baby, Timmy is a cry-baby.”
I sat frozen and felt ill, and then began to cry myself. The children who were laughing must have been laughing due to nervousness and not malice, as I noticed that when I started to cry, the other kids and the teacher seemed to turn to look at me and the spell was broken. There was an uncomfortable shuffling and then a sombre quietness. The boy was told to go back to his seat and things returned to normal.
I am sure that event changed me. I often wondered what long-term affect it had had on that boy. For me, it was a huge thing, as it was the first time that I had felt the emotion of humiliation.
Throughout our lives, we have all had our ‘Timmy Times’. We have been Timmy and we have been witnesses to Timmy experiences. Bit-by-bit we have learned to anticipate humiliation and take steps to prevent or deny it. We close down and take fewer risks, we may try to be invisible or we try to fit in with the crowd.
Most of our humiliation is imagined. We play our scenarios over in our mind and then we simply stay where we are. We don’t ask for things, because we may be told no. We don’t apply for new jobs because we may not get them, don’t start conversations or say hello because we may not be interesting enough. We don’t play sport or musical instruments or sing because we may not be very good at it. We consider some people to be more important or better than we are and never approach them. We don’t study because we might not be smart enough to pass an exam.
Some embarrassing moments are going to happen in your life - that is a fact. We may do silly things and sometimes people may choose to make a big deal of it. Some people are just mean-spirited and amuse themselves with our discomfort. How we bounce back though is really what matters. Either you pick yourself up and dust yourself off or you stay down and cower in the corner. Success does not mean that you do not fall down; success usually means that you fall down more than most people. In fact, the more successful you are, the more likely it is that you have fallen so often that you have just become very good at picking yourself up.
The only weapon against humiliation is to be bold and brave.
The N word
We are so intimidated by the word No. Maybe we should all stand in front of a mirror and repeat no, no, no, until we are comfortable with it. You will never be your best, do your best, or have the best, if you continue to be afraid of the ‘No’ word. The most common reason for you not to have what you wanted the most is simply that you didn’t ask. The reason you didn’t ask is that you decided you wouldn’t get it. This no is what you gave to yourself - it didn’t even come from the source. You must stop giving yourself ‘No’ answers to questions that you did not ask. Yes or no must come to you directly from the decision maker, not your fears.
In Australia we have a game called ‘Two Up’. It is played by throwing coins into the air and calling ‘heads or tails’. We place bets on how the coins will land.
Sometimes if we need to make a decision and just can’t work it out, we will use Two Up to provide an answer. We take a coin and decide that the head will mean no and the tail will mean yes. We ask the question, throw the coin and then make our decision based on whether the head or the tail falls face up.
Statistically, you will get as many heads as tails, as many yes’s as no’s, depending on the amount of times you toss the coins. In life, it is exactly the same, you will get as many yes’s as you get no’s, according to how often you make your requests.
Fear of rejection
There are two ways of overcoming your fear of rejection. One is to start out with safe or unimportant requests. Practice asking for things and hearing refusals and allow yourself to get comfortable with it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how often people will say yes. People actually like to help when they can and you will find that in almost every case, if someone needs to say no, they will say it in a kind and gentle way.
The other way is to ask big - be outrageous! Don’t start out with anything emotionally important; think of things that are huge, but not expected. You could have a lot of fun with this and probably give someone a good laugh. In all instances, the ‘No’ will sound the same and the request will feel the same. You won’t feel intimidated or uncomfortable because you won’t be emotionally attached to it.
I have an Irish friend who has a great accent and a great sense of humour. He is very cheeky, sometimes outrageous and often quite rude. Most people really like him a lot and he is a great party starter.
He used to walk up to women he didn’t know and would charmingly ask if they, had any Irish in them? When they said no, he would ask, “Would you like a little Irish in you?”
Very rarely were the women offended. They usually laughed and understood that his cheekiness was meant only as a friendly introduction. Sometimes though, the women would actually say yes. We would all be amazed as he and the woman walked away together.
He would often comment, “It’s just the law of averages. I might only get one in ten, but the one I get is the one that someone else didn’t get, because they didn’t ask.”
Another man may have tried this pick up-line and had his face slapped, it could have sounded offensive. When you are asking someone for something, you need to be clear about what you are saying. Most importantly, you need to be non-threatening and not at all demanding in your approach. Let the person feel comfortable and be gracious, regardless of the response you receive.
Stuck in the hallway
You know the saying, ‘One door closes and another door opens.’ I’ve often been very frustrated with this, as I wondered, ‘Why doesn’t the new door ever open before the old door closes?’ It seems to me that more often than not, my doors close long before the new doors open and I have to spend a long time being panicked in corridors.
It’s scary! Life gives us many situations in which we lose our comfort zone long before our new opportunity is revealed to us. Ah, life in limbo! We handle it badly, but a fact of life it is. In reinventing yourself, you are going to have to accept that limbo is not only a high probability but you are also going to have to actively take yourself there deliberately.
I have often thought of my life or myself as being pushed up an arduous mountain and leaving me with no way of going back. I imagine fire moving swiftly behind me, threatening me and pushing me forward. When I reach the top of the mountain I realize that I must jump or be engulfed by the fire. The terror of believing that I will either be burned to death or smashed against the rocks at the bottom of the mountain has me completely immobilized.
Then somewhere in the back of my mind I hear a voice, “Jump - you can Fly!”
If you want small, safe changes to occur in your life then the effort and risk will not be so frightening. If you really wish to step out and step up then you had better accept that you will need to be ‘Bold and Brave’.
You will never fly if you won’t leave the ground.
Author Bio :
Copyright Sonya Green. http://www.reinventingmyself.com Sonya is the author of a book called Reinventing Myself, and also offer some Guided meditation C.D's focusing on Stress Reduction, Weight Loss, Healing and Personal Growth, How to get what you really want and need.
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