Sit Happy With Embarrassment

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik via, (cc) some rights reserved. 

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik via, (cc) some rights reserved. 

I don't know how to swim.

Worse yet, I'm embarrassed that I don't know how to swim. And that's created an ugly cycle of avoidance that I'm embarrassed to share with you here. 

So I signed up for adult swimming lessons at my local community pool. My first lesson is scheduled for tonight, and I've been dreading it for a month.

Well-meaning friends have told me, "there's nothing to be afraid about." Or, "it's so easy; there's nothing to it." Or, "let me know if you want me to come with you." 

But these encouraging wishes just made me feel more embarrassed, despite their good intentions. Yes, I've become embarrassed about being embarrassed. 

Luckily, my friends are persistent, and a one just emailed me this quote: 

"I learned that there's a certain character that can be built from embarrassing yourself endlessly. If you can sit happy with embarrassment, there's not much else that can really get to ya." — Christian Bale, The Batman

That one simple phrase—"sit happy with embarrassment"—just lifted the cloud of foreboding that's been shadowing me for weeks, perhaps because it accepts embarrassment as normal. "Hey, it's OK" rather than "there's nothing to be embarrassed about." Maybe it's The Batman. 

Communications is easy. Changing human behavior is hard. It all starts by finding the message that genuinely connects with your audience's emotions and beliefs. I'm thankful to have good friends who don't give up trying.