Embarrassment

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Emotional state of intense discomfort

Embarrassment is an emotional state of intense discomfort with oneself, experienced upon having a socially unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others. Usually some amount of loss of honor or dignity is involved, but how much and the type depends on the embarrassing situation. It is similar to shame, except that shame may be experienced for an act known only to oneself. Also, embarrassment usually carries the connotation of being caused by an act that is merely socially unacceptable, rather than morally wrong.


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Jean de la Bruyere: We perceive when love begins and when it declines by our embarrassment when alone together.
  • What is embarrassment? In general, embarrassment is an emotional response to an innocent mistake. The major reason that some of us are embarrassment-prone is that we’ve been conditioned to set unrealistically high expectations for ourselves and to judge ourselves negatively when we can’t possibly meet those standards. A second reason that makes us susceptible to embarrassment is that we’ve been taught to take our cue in evaluating ourselves from what we assume (often erroneously) to be others’ opinions of us.

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Winston Churchill:What is a fine person or a beauteous face, Unless deportment give them decent grace; Blessed with all other requisites to please, To want the striking elegance of ease; Awkward, embarrassed, stiff, without the skill Of moving gracefully, or standing.
  • I have a feeling," says Cavett, "that about 90% of my life has been shaped by my voice, both as an embarrassment and as an advantage. There was always the terrible incongruity of this deep voice barreling out of this little body. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was aware that it was ludicrous, that it took on an importance that wasn't really there. By the time I was in the fourth grade, I sounded exactly like my father on the phone.
  • Have you ever gotten the feeling that you aren't completely embarassed yet, but you glimpse tomorrow's embarrassment?

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Bill Hybels: For a marriage relationship to flourish, there must be intimacy. It takes an enormous amount of courage to say to your spouse, "This is me. I'm not proud of it -- in fact, I'm a little embarrassed by it -- but this is who I am.
  • I bet when neanderthal kids would make a snowman, someone would always end up saying, 'Don't forget the thick, heavy brows.' Then they would get all embarrassed because they remembered they had the big husky brows too, and they'd get mad and eat the snowman.

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  • Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

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Helen Keller:Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.

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  • There they were, and there was the rest of this wicked world, too – intact, unchanged, unjudged, unsaved, unended. There was nothing for it then but they may flee Harmony. There was not one thing left for them to stay here for, except maybe extreme embarrassment and profound shame.

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Rick Riordan:Have you ever noticed how parents can go from the most wonderful people in the world to totally embarrassing in three seconds?

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Lewis Thomas:Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labour, exchange information ceaselessly. They do everything but watch television.

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  • It does kids no favors, and sets them up for a potential lifetime of poor health and social embarrassment, to excuse them from family meals of real food. Everyone benefits from healthy eating, but it is particularly crucial at the beginning of life. Providing your children with a variety of healthy foods -- and gently but persistently continuing to offer them exclusively during a child's "picky" phase -- are among a parent's most important obligations.

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Anonymous[edit]

  • Women aren't embarrassed when they buy men's pajamas, but a man buying a nightgown acts as though he were dealing with a dope peddler.

External links[edit]

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