Level of circumstance
Not all public humiliation circumstances are the same. There is a big difference between accidentally walking from the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to your shoe (embarrassing, yes) and sending a personal email, meant for your spouse, to your co-worker. What about having your name, picture and naked photo being shared on social media. This happened, watch TedX talk, Catherine Bosley’s “My Naked Nightmare.” I bet all would agree that the level of the circumstances are way different. However, from anyone who has experienced a humiliation or public shaming, the heart-dropping feeling it produces can be much the same. So, while “one size does not fit all, size DOES matter.”
Level of pain
The pain that comes from embarrassment, shame and humiliation is tough to shake. Sometimes it takes a few days for the sting to wear off, longer if you have to sit in it everyday. If something happens while on vacation and you are able to remove yourself and not be faced with it on a daily basis, your chance at recovery is greater than if you have had your name tarnished at work. Doesn’t really matter if the humiliation was directly, indirectly or not at all caused by something you did. It’s what you think people are thinking about you that causes the tear in your heart.
Level of consequence
And what’s the consequence of what happened? Were you able to laugh at yourself a couple days later, or are you still ruminating? Do you think about suing? How would that even work? Are you playing revenge scenarios in your mind? Would you actually do any of those things? Are you seeking out advice online, from a therapist or a friend? Does any of it help? Are you trying to bury it with alcohol, drugs, over sleeping or eating? Temporary at best, more damaging at worst. Did you lose your job? How will you explain this? Or just your life’s reputation? How will you rebuild?
Level of motivation
What is your motivation to get your life back on track? If you’re reading this you probably have been thinking about what you need to feel better. Some options are laid out above. Some of them are not entirely healthy and will only add to your feeling powerless. Sometimes we just need to take more time. We know we will move beyond it, but something keeps holding us back. Wherever you are on that spectrum, trust that you will recover your confidence and self worth. If you’re needing help, seek out therapy or coaching. I’ll explain the pros and cons of each in another post. For now, know that you have the ability to be who you were before and probably better.