by Marisol B.
Not long ago, I was about to leave the parking lot of a lovely store. As I entered my vehicle; I witnessed a gentleman walking along the sidewalk almost fall. A sense of embarrassment followed, and I inevitably began to ponder about human shame after a fall.
I later came across this little video, where models who elegantly walk in high heels, suddenly find themselves out of balance. While some of the falls are actually a bit funny, what caught my attention were the various reactions for each occurrence, and I continued to ponder about our own ability to accept falls and failure gracefully; without allowing our ego to take over.
Shame and embarrassment are very human factors that play between the pressure-filled areas of failure and success. Both of these require a realistic sense of identity and self knowledge, in order to keep us from a distorted self perception.
Interestingly, the research that Brené Brown, Ph.D. has conducted; leads to the differentiation of the two. In fact, she distinguishes shame from instances of guilt, embarrassment, and humiliation. Shame implies I am bad, the others show I did something wrong, someone said/did something wrong, or something wrong happened to me. Shame generates negative self-talk and hides true worth and dignity. It ignores the true root of the circumstance; however painful this may seem at the moment.
We set high standards, which entail risk; one of possibly falling, or losing our firmest step. In the process, we are given the great opportunity to grow in humility and remember our identity and values despite it all. We are given the opportunity to grow taller than the highest stiletto shoes. We gain great stature, reminded by our own humanity.
This evening I witnessed the same exact scene from yet another man; as I was pulling out of a parking lot. As he lost his balance, we made eye contact, and I chose to give him a quick and reassuring smile; one that would swiftly remind him of his humble; yet dignified place within the force of gravity...