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Let Yourself Live

I’m tired of embarrassment.

Anger, excitement, joy, sorrow... 99% of the emotions we experience I understand the usefulness of. There is a time and a place for responses of a wide spectrum of emotions. But embarrassment...? That’s one gets me, more than anything. Embarrassment causes us to avoid trying new things and meeting new people. Embarrassment leads to shame. Embarrassment makes us sit on the sidelines of our own lives because we fear the way we might be perceived and/or judged.

I was fortunate enough this last winter to take a trip to Jamaica. While there, I took a sailing excursion. One of the stops of the excursion was at a restaurant that had a long slide angled down from the deck into the ocean, a trampoline, rope swing, and a blow-up climbing wall, all floating off the shore. There were probably 20 to 30 people that had been sailing with me, but only four of them, other than myself, made use of the water toys. Up on that restaurant’s deck sat dozens more people, staring down at us, and not a single one of them joined us either!

One of the women, after swimming out from the slide, verbalized that she was concerned about using the rope swing - about whether or not she was going to able to hold herself up - and debating even trying... because she didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of everyone if she couldn’t. Strangers! Everyone there were strangers, likely never to be spoken to, and even less likely to ever be seen again by the young woman! And yet, she was considering not doing something that she clearly wanted to, something that she thought would be fun, because of the fear of their judgement.

She did end up using the rope swing. And she did fall. So what? She had fun, had a good laugh, and didn’t let her embarrassment stop her from enjoying herself. And you know what? Nobody cared. And nobody said anything to her about not being able to hold herself up... I doubt anyone even noticed. And to be honest, I wouldn’t have noticed either, had she not said something in the first place. All I noticed is that we were having fun: a hell of a lot more fun than the people sitting upstairs watching us live our lives instead of living their own.

What I’m trying to say is, embarrassment lasts only for a moment. Don’t let a fleeting, stupid emotion keep you from making memories that last a lifetime. Do what you want, try what you want, say what you want. Life is better living confidently. Try not to let embarrassment steal your fun.

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