, 17 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
So, here's a hard-won lesson from the world of social media:

It helps to learn the difference between what *feels* embarrassing and what *is* embarrassing.
If you're not actually being publicly shamed, then most feelings of embarrassment are internally generated. They arise from conflicts within yourself, things you know about yourself, mistakes you know you made.
Me personally, nothing feels more embarrassing than something like when I make a mistake and don't realize it, but someone else catches it and points it out. Extra points if I misunderstand what they're saying (because I don't know about the mistake) and first double down on it.
Oh, in the moment when I realize what I did... that's like white hot shame, realizing you snapped at someone when you were in the wrong. That's something that *feels* embarrassing. It can *be* embarrassing, but the interaction is fleeting. The feeling can linger.
So, the very natural thing that many of us do in that situation... everybody, I think, does this sometimes... is decide to deal with the *feeling* of embarrassment by replacing it with more anger. Just power through, figure out a way you're still right or they're out of line...
...and you can get that icky feeling of embarrassment out of your head and instead feel smug and vindicated. Isn't that great?

Except, in doing so, you're actually being more embarrassing. You've just insulated yourself from feeling it.
It's like how adrenaline and alcohol can numb pain, making you feel invincible. But you're still racking up bruises as you ride the proverbial shopping cart down the embankment into the side of the concession stand.
It may be less gratifying in the immediate term to immediately cut yourself off from that righteous-feeling anger, apologize, and correct, but it ends the actual embarrassment.
Very few people who fall victim to ~*Cancel Culture*~ on the social mediums actually get run off for one mistake. Most of them don't even get run off, or lose their following.

But for the ones who do, or get a permanent blot on their reputation, it's not the initial mistake.
It's the fact that they drag it out by doubling down, getting angry, getting defensive. There's way more than one way this happens, but a lot of them come down to causing more embarrassment by trying to avoid *feeling* embarrassed.
Nobody feels what you're feeling. We got a whole load of cognitive biases that tell us both that our feelings are objectively right and that they are apparent to others, though, so if you're in the public eye and you feel embarrassed - this can seem like a disaster.
If you're feeling that hot flush of shame... why, that means everyone who's looking at you is judging you, and you've got to act quickly. Clarify. Defend. Deflect. Reposition yourself. Spin. Deflect. Do damage control. Do something, your whole image is at stake!

Except, no.
Nobody else feels what you're feeling. And what you feel affects what you see, magnifies things out of proportion.
Now, I'm not making this thread to say I'm some kind of social media saint who never messes up. I messed up this morning; messed up a joke and messed up my response to someone helpfully pointing it out. Think I did okay on my response to the mess-up, for whatever it's worth.
My ultimate point is that you don't have to be perfect, which is good, because you literally can't.

Feel your feelings, but it can be good and healthy and helpful to take your hands off the keyboard or phone while you're sitting with them.
A feeling like shame or embarrassment can very easily become maladaptive, and be weaponized against you, but the signals those feelings represent are there for a reason. If you feel a flash of them in response to your own action, it's maybe worth at least checking in.
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