Everyone has been there. You are feeling calm and in control. Maybe you are in a large crowd, or with a select group of people you are trying to impress. Everything is going well, according to your plans. Then without warning, you make a huge mistake.

Maybe you trip while walking, maybe you fart while making a presentation, or maybe your child just revealed a private conversation to the person who the conversation was about. Suddenly, everyone in the room is staring at you like you have two heads. You have found yourself in an embarrassing moment and your greatest wish is that the ground would open up and swallow you whole.

No one wants to be at the centre of attention when it’s not for positive reasons. It is not pleasant when you involuntarily find yourself in a situation where you make a fool out of yourself, or become a spectacle for everyone else. Your face feels flushed and hot, and your pulse races. How do you go from wishing the world would end, to moving on with your head held high?

A Sense of Humour

If you laugh at yourself, then no one else can laugh at you, only with you. Having a sense of humour is one of life’s greatest gifts. Staying sane requires not taking yourself too seriously. There is simply too much pressure in life to let a small setback destroy even one day.

There are those who laugh at themselves, and those who refuse to. The ones who laugh at themselves are the most enjoyable to be around, because they can turn an awkward moment into a story that will bring smiles to others for years to come.

Take a Deep Breath and Count

When your embarrassing moment has knocked you off your feet, figuratively or literally… take a deep breath. As you are breathing, count to five and focus on your breath instead of the situation you are facing. This will help you refocus and centre.

Use Your Imagination

After something goes terribly wrong and you feel humiliated, picture the same incident happening to the people around you. Imagine something equally as mortifying happening to each person who witnessed your fumble. This is not a vindictive way to think, but rather it is a great self reminder that your situation could have happened to anyone, and that no one is infallible.

Smooth Operator

If you are in a situation where you can make an awkward moment transform into something better, give it a try. This approach works best for quick thinkers. Perhaps as you slip to the floor, you can slide right into a great break dancing move. Sometimes these “saves” work, and sometimes they don’t. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Be a Role Model

Sometimes life’s biggest fumbles give you the greatest opportunity. When an embarrassing moment comes your way, be a role model and react with confidence. Whether that means erasing negative thoughts about all the mistakes you make, or offering an apology if your mistake has caused someone else a setback, clear up the situation and proceed.

An embarrassing moment can be awkward, and even crush a person’s confidence. Instead of falling into the trap of negative self talk, use one or more of these suggestions to get back on track. An embarrassing moment is but a small blip in the grand scheme of life.

If you can forgive yourself and move on, someday you may even be able to look back and laugh about it.

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