I Believe Being Embarrassed Builds Character

Whitney - Ava, Missouri
Entered on February 20, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Having danced on the school’s dance team for three years now, I consider myself a seasoned performer. Of course, we only dance at half-time of basketball games and during pep assemblies, but there is always a large audience that passes judgment on our team’s performance with either loud cheers or polite applause quickly followed by silence. I am by no means a perfect dancer, and during one particular performance last winter, I made the crowd wonder if I was really a dancer at all.

“How Sweet it is to be Loved by You” was the perfect song for a short, jazz number that I knew better than my own mother. It was twenty eight-counts of fun that I couldn’t wait to dance. So when the time came to make our way onto the center of the gym floor, I felt completely confident.

Halfway in, I stumbled into the wrong eight-count. I looked around and couldn’t even recognize what my fellow dancers were doing. Rigor mortis was setting in quickly when I realized how much I was truly messing up. Every face in the crowd was distinct, all reflecting what I was feeling; mortification.

I finally caught up a few eight-counts later, but my embarrassment could not be shaken. We left the floor, and I spent the rest of my time afterwards crying by the curtains on the stage.

Looking back, I am still embarrassed, but for a different reason: I let my embarrassment get the best of me. Yes, I royally demolished a perfectly good dance, but it allowed me to see that everyone is imperfect, and all I can do is try my hardest.

I believe that being embarrassed builds character. It is the ultimate form of humbling one’s self, which everyone needs from time to time. It’s a gentle reminder that you aren’t really that great-that I’m not really that great. However, it can eventually bring you to a point where you are no longer humiliated, but aware of your imperfections and conscious of your shortcomings. It makes you a better person for having suffered through it.