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Are you afraid to look stupid or be embarrassed?
Sometimes people tell me they are afraid to do or learn something because they fear they will look stupid or they will embarrass themselves. Every time someone says this, I am reminded of something that happened one day a long time ago.
I was general manager of a senior care community where we had independent retired people as well as people who needed assisted living and those who had dementia. It was quite a mix of over a hundred and twenty-five different personalities, life histories, and needs. On top of that, was a staff of 50 people who each had their own motivations and needs.
One day I was in my office when a staff person came in and was quite agitated. She told me that one of the women residents was in the main lobby wearing only a shirt and her underpants. Apparently, she had come down to get her mail and was standing in the lobby going through it. I went to check and sure enough there she was in her underwear.
I walked up to her, stood close beside her, and asked ,”Are you aware you’re not wearing pants, you are just in your underwear?” She looked down at herself and was mortified, “Oh, dear,” she said. “I was in my apartment and it was so hot, I took my slacks off. I guess when I came down for my mail I forgot.” Then she burst out laughing.
I told her to stand really close to me and I would walk her back to her apartment which I did. She was chuckling the whole way and was very grateful when she made it back to her home. What struck me then and still does, was that she was able to move from embarrassment to humor so quickly. What a healthy way to handle what could have been a devastating experience.
Since then, whenever I have been in a situation that caused me to feel embarrassed or inadequate, I remember that woman and tell myself, “Well, at least I have my pants on, so I will be okay!” This makes me laugh and takes the edge off whatever is going on.
I would like to suggest that when you feel like you want to try something new or put yourself out into the world in a new way and fear you might make mistakes or look silly, remember this woman and tell yourself “At least I have my pants on. I will be ok.”
Living in grace and ease,
Do you know I have another Substack newsletter called Growing Older and Wiser? It is actually a class where I share ideas that can make the experience of growing older a positive one. Check it out here.