Thursday, May 1, 2014

No Need to Feel Embarrassed!


Don’t ever feel embarrassed!  Let other person feel good!

About 35 years ago, I read a story in the Reader’s Digest with the title “Try the Orange Peel Approach”.  I loved it and when I applied it, I found that it was so easy to think of things this way.  Made a huge difference in my feelings about myself.  Since I haven’t been able to locate it, I will attempt to retell it.  I do not know who wrote it, but it wasn’t me.  Remember that this happened before the age of electric curlers or curling irons.

“Try the Orange Peel Approach”
Susan needed to run to the grocery store just for a couple of things, but her time was packed.  She had to be ready for an office party with her husband that evening so she had washed her hair and put it in hair curlers to dry.  After doing this, she realized she had an unavoidable trip to the store.  She rationalized that she would just run in quickly and grab only what she had to have and leave as fast as possible; no one she knew would see her.   So she put a scarf over the curlers and got in the car.  As she was in the middle of the store, one of her friends called her name and she turned to see Nancy, a woman she knew who always seemed to be put together and appeared to have not a care in the world.  Embarrassed, she greeted her and they began to talk. 
Susan explained that she didn’t normally go shopping with rollers in her hair, but this time it was unavoidable.  She was surprised when Nancy said she should try the “orange peel approach”.  At Susan’s look of confusion, Nancy began to explain.
Years ago, she was at home with her children.   Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she hadn’t bothered with any make up that morning.   It had not been a very good day and the house showed it.  It was mid-afternoon and the doorbell rang.  She answered it to find her high school boyfriend, and his wife, on the porch.  She felt like shutting the door in their face, but inviting them in with a smile. 
She had to take them into the family room to visit, because the dog had just thrown up in the middle of the living room floor and there hadn’t been time to clean it up.   But when they got into the family room, there was no place to sit.  She had to move all of the clean clothes from the couch, because she had not yet folded them.  She just tried to ignore the toys on the floor.
Once everyone had a place to sit, she realized that the visitors had a great view of her kitchen.    The table still had dishes from breakfast, including the milk carton that one of the kids had spilled.  She tried to ignore the mess, but she knew her face was red. What would they think?  Everywhere, something needed attention. 
During the conversation, Nancy noticed a piece of an orange peel on the rug fight in front of her.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the peel wasn’t shriveled and dry.  She tried to move the peel with her shoe so her company wouldn’t notice.  Her intention was good, but her old canvas sneakers had a worn spot at the toe and the peel stuck to it and wouldn’t budge.  Finally she had to reach down and pull the thing off her shoe which made it sure that they noticed the old dry orange peel that had been in the middle of the room.  She felt like crawling in a hole!  She knew they could tell how uncomfortable she was then, and they left soon after.
Nancy burst into tears as she shut to door.  How awful to have her old boyfriend see her like this.  What would he think of her?  She was more embarrassed that she could ever remember being.  Just about then, the phone rang.  She answered it with a teary voice, and her husband asked her what was wrong.  She told him everything and how she was so embarrassed.  Her husband was quiet on the other end of the line.  Then he quietly said, “Honey, just think what you did for their marriage?”
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
Her husband calmly said “When they left, he probably turned to his wife and told her that he was really lucky to have married her.”
“Ever since then, when things are going badly or we have been embarrassed, we tell each other to try the “Orange Peel Approach” and it helps us put things into perspective.  Even though we may be embarrassed, the other person is probably feeling better about themselves.  We think of it as helping the other person’s self-esteem.”
As Susan finished her shopping trip, she thought about the orange peel.  The more she thought about it the less embarrassed she felt.   She looked at the women she passed and found herself smiling at them instead of feeling embarrassed about having curlers in her hair.  She walked out to her car with her head high and a smile on her face.

After I read this, it made all the awkward situations just a bit easier.
I could go without make up and it didn’t bother me—I just thought about how good the others would feel about how they looked.
If someone saw my house messy, it didn’t bother me—I just thought about how they would feel when they walked into their clean house.
Don’t ever feel embarrassed!  Let other person feel good!

1 comments:

Nemo Name

Hey, I really liked this story.It is such a good story, what we might feel embarrassed about, might help others.

We tend to think that we have to worry so much about what do others think about us and that we have to be perfect for them, and we spend our lives trying to make a good impression but guess what? Others think about themselves more than about us so we should stop to worry so much about what others are going to think about us and begin to realize that as everyone is constantly thinking about himself, there are two options: 1 they are going to feel better because they will realize they are better than us or 2 they are going to judge us and say what a mess we are. Anyway, so what? Don´t we all make mistakes? Do not waste your life trying to be like everyone else expects you or would like you to be, because after all it is your life you are living (not theirs)and it is impossible to satisfy everyone.