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5 Ways to Overcome Embarrassment

Consider Seeing a Professional Therapist

Severe embarrassment can make us insecure around others, avoid intimate relationships and can even compel us to withdraw from society. When the embarrassment negatively affects your quality of life, it might be time to see a professional.

A professional therapist can determine if you have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), which the Mayo Clinic defines like this: "A type of chronic mental illness in which you can't stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance -- a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don't want to be seen by anyone" [source: Mayo Clinic].

One treatment for BDD is exposure exercises; for example, the therapist may have you stand under a fluorescent light where you feel your flaws are exposed. The exercises are intended to bring up negative feelings and then allow you to learn how to cope with those feelings and gain confidence. Exposure exercises are only performed after the patient has developed some insight about his or her feelings of shame and embarrassment [source: The Journal of Family Practice].

Therapy for BDD is intended to reduce reassurance-seeking behavior, avoidance of social situations, time spent in front of the mirror and on the Internet seeking cosmetic solutions, as well as the habit of scanning other people's physical features [source: The Journal of Family Practice].