Is fear of exposure holding you back?
Having the odd type of job I have, offering privacy and nonjudgement behind closed doors, I’ve learned a lot about embarrassment and its protective function in life. I try to nudge it out of the way quickly, so I can help people get to their deeper emotional truths, but in general, it’s a big, enveloping feeling that often prevents you from making needed life improvements.
Threats to Existence
It’s no mystery why my math skills are horrible. Middle school math classes weren’t the most enlightened environments when I was young. My remedial class was typically taught by the newest coach who had been hired and full of older players who’d been held back. My lack of confidence exponentially increased in these environments of female objectification, male bonding and performing equations at the board.
Evolutionary psychology would likely say my embarrassment–the pounding heart, hands dripping with sweat– my overall feeling of mortification standing in front of the class, is an adaptive trait, a series of signals warning my nervous system of a threat. Revealing weakness in front of a potentially hostile group is a recipe for death, way, way down in our ancestral DNA. I didn’t feel I was going to get killed trying to solve a quadratic equation, but the embarrassment I felt, the way my body was responding, wasn’t so sure.