The Macmillan Dictionary defines humiliation as
“the unhappy and ashamed feeling that you get when something embarrassing happens.”
We experience humiliation when a circumstance or event that is socially unacceptable publically lowers our social status. Humiliation is a powerful emotion and whenever I have experienced it I just wanted to run away and hide. And then I started to focus on those that humiliated me. Once I did that, not only was I deeply hurt, but I felt betrayed and angry which ultimately gave rise to resentment and hatred.
Worse still was when I was the cause of my humiliation and the resentment and hatred was internalized. Back in the days when I used to drink I experienced my fair share of humiliation which was caused mainly by my own actions. Although this caused me much distress my friends always said lightheartedly that it was harmless and funny, which serves as evidence that humiliation is based primarily on our perception and interpretation of what happened and not on what others may, in actuality, think.
Through my experience I discovered a four step attack on humiliation that is bound to help anyone overcome this toxic emotion.
The first thing which helped me let go of my humiliation I was to distance myself from the situation and / or the people involved – at least temporarily.
Once a couple of weeks had past and I had time to regain my equilibrium I then focused on all the embarrassing things I knew about other people. Not in a mean spirited way, but just to normalize the source of my own humiliation.
It’s also important to remember that whilst two weeks worked for me, everyone will have their own unique timeframe for regaining their equilibrium based on what happened, with who and their own emotional make up.
If my humiliation was caused by someone in particular I met with them one on one so I could bring it up with them and assert myself, expressing that I felt humiliated and asking them to refrain from such behavior in future.
I then shifted my perspective and asked myself whether what had happened would be significant to me in one, five or even ten years time. HINT: It usually isn’t as significant as it might initially feel when you take a look at the bigger picture!
Have you ever experienced humiliation? How did you handle it? Do you have your own tips which have helped you overcome humiliation? Please share your wisdom in the comments below so we can all grow together, I’d love to hear from you.