You Can Learn to Live With Your Humiliations

It is probably the most uncomfortable feeling we can ever experience. We dread any situation in which it might occur. There are many times that we avoid something entirely because we so afraid it might happen that we become physically sick at the thought of it. It comes in many forms, and we deal with it on a regular basis, even if if we have the option not to. When it comes to myriad emotions we experience in our lives, few things are worse than being humiliated.

For many, the fear of public speaking stems from this very emotion. The idea of getting up in front of a large group of people and saying or doing something that makes us look stupid is a terrifying prospect. This is a normal fear that is not unwarranted because the danger is very real. Even if you are highly prepared, a single mistake can ruin the entire deal. Anything that is very public that goes wrong is a visible and quantifiable blow to our self image.

Even something as physically removed as this blog imparts a certain fear of humiliation. I have chosen to use an alias for this forum because I prefer to maintain a certain level of anonymity, but there is still a fear of someone pointing out some flaw in my posts that would lead to an uncomfortable feeling. My desire to create a reputable brand is under constant pressure from a desire to avoid public embarrassment, even if it’s just for my blog and not me personally.

But what about the other forms of humiliation that are more private? There are many things in our lives that are just as humiliating that we deal with in a much less dramatic way. These are the things in our lives that we are forced to live with because our situations demand it. We usually have a choice to suffer through the humiliation, but because of our circumstances we elect to live through it because the other choice would be far worse.

For myself, the biggest example of this is my work life. For most of my time in the work force, I have been required to do things that I find degrading because they either weren’t part of my original employment agreement, or were tasks of personal servitude that I had to put up with because I needed my job. These sorts of things continue to this day and are one of the primary reasons I started this blog. In my desire to escape from traditional employment relationships, I hope to turn this into my own self-employment opportunity. Until that happens, however, I will be forced to live with the daily humiliation of being at the beck and call of an employer who sees me as nothing more than a servant.

I am certainly not the only person who deals with this issue. We all have situations in our lives that are privately humiliating. People in our lives impose upon us for something they want or need, and to keep our situation from getting worse we choose to submit to those things. Though we understand that the cost of that humiliation is typically less than the cost of the alternative, we can’t help but be upset by the fact that we had to feel that way in the first place.

How do we deal with the effects of this private hell we sometimes have to live with? Part of is is recognizing it for what it is. Our natural reaction is to become angry, and it’s ok to feel that way at first, but at some point we have to look at what is happening to us and recognize the objective facts about the situation. When we look at the cost of each option and realize that we chose the least of all evils by accepting that feeling, it becomes easier to live with.

Another part of it is finding ways to be hopeful for the future. If you can start positioning yourself to get out of the situation, it become a bit easier to live with it because you know there is a definite end to it at some point in the near future. Rather than just living with it and risking your attitude degrading to the point that things just blow up, start looking for other opportunities. Even the search itself can make you feel better, even if you aren’t finding success in it.

Lastly, get support from friends and family. They may not be able to fix the situation for you, but just sharing your issues can be very helpful. I tend to be a loner and hold my issues inside, but when I’m able to share my problems with my partner I usually feel much better. A burden shared makes the weight feel so much lighter. It takes little to hear someone else’s problems, but it makes all the difference to them.

How do you deal with humiliation? What areas of your life do you regularly experience this emotion? Are there things you can do to make your situation better today? If we can learn to understand this feeling better and integrate it into our makeup, we can have a much happier life, even if our circumstances aren’t getting any better. Share your story with others and let us share the burdens together.

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