Everyone experiences it, no one likes it, but only the best know how to come back from it.
Whether actual or assumed, big or small, humiliation can wreak havoc on your life. Everyone at some point has been utterly humiliated for one reason or another. The feeling of humiliation is distressing, intensively painful, and frustratingly long lasting; creeping back into your stream of consciousness just as you think you’ve recovered from it. Right when it happens, humiliation can be incredibly stressful and make you feel helpless. However, there are ways to work through it and come out the other side a more resilient and self-assured individual.
How to work through humiliation:
View each crisis as an opportunity: Humiliation often stems from feelings of inadequacy or lack of preparation. Maybe you were underprepared for a job interview or utterly undertrained for the 5k you promised yourself you’d do great in. Whatever the humiliation stems from, being able to reframe it as an opportunity to do better can help you get over the feelings of distress.
Seek solace in the comfort of friends: Being able to find a support group or talk to friends about your humiliation is an incredible way to help move past it. Simply talking through your problems with trusted pals or a support group is a beautiful way to become more resilient and emotionally stable.
Look ahead: Looking past your feelings of humiliation and focusing on your opportunities ahead can help distract you and allow those distressing feelings to fade. Every situation looks better once some time has passed. Looking forward while working through humiliation can be a positive way to conquer the negative feelings associated with this emotion.
Only hide out if you need to: When something humiliating happens, its easy to want to curl up into a ball and hide away from everyone you know. Despite this sounding like a great idea, hiding out from your friends or family after a humiliating event occurs can increase feelings of regret, shame, or depression to levels that may be difficult to deal with. Lay low for awhile if you feel like you need to, but be aware that staying away from the support of your loved ones for too long can be a bad idea.
The best advice? Be kind to yourself. Any humiliating event probably feels much worse to you than anyone else who experienced it. Generally, humans are kind and are much more willing to overlook embarrassing moments than you might expect. Knowing that all humans are flawed, and you’re just like everyone else is an excellent way to help cope with any feelings of humiliation you may have. Once you realize that you’re just human and sometimes, humiliating events just “happen,” you’re much more likely to react appropriately and recover quickly.
A final note: If you’re experiencing humiliation, dread, stress, and issues regarding your self-worth it’s best to talk to a therapist about these emotions. You may have underlying anxiety or depression issues that a therapist can help you with.
Dr. Dimitra Takos is a Newport Beach Psychologist specializing in the treatment of adolescents and adults suffering from depression, anxiety, and trauma-and stressor-related disorders.