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Humiliation - Self Awareness & a 31 Year Old Memory

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

Self Awareness is the start of a journey of change. You might be ready, but if you are out of tune with who you are the journey won’t get off the blocks.

Honesty about why you are making unusual or taboo choices, or why you have such strong emotions can be the start of moving on and making positive changes that will serve you forever.

Part of learning about ourselves is understanding our own values and blind spots. They motivate us hugely, influence the friends we make, the partners we choose and the people we work with.

I wanted to share my story, to show how ridiculous and aged the memories that can affect you are.

I’d moved schools a couple of times as a kid and when we settled in South London, I started my new junior school - I was 8 years old. I spoke differently to the other kids being from up north, but made a friend. There was the school bully who took offence at my presence and bullied me. The key memory, was going into a classroom and this girl had made the whole class squash over to one side of the room so they were far away from me and my friend.

I recall the feeling of embarrassment, not being wanted, rejected, ashamed - humiliated.

As a woman, I am happy walking into a pub on my own, sitting and eating, or drinking by myself - I am self sufficient, I am happy driving on motorways at night. This memory is irrelevant in my day to day.

But, I started a new job, it was ‘Hot Desking’ - to sit where you liked. Except for one thing. Everyone actually had their own desk, so you couldn’t sit in certain places, too many people, not enough desks - no one believed in hot desking except the managers. But they were never told they couldn't sit somewhere.

You’d arrive at a desk and the people around you would tell you:

"Sorry you can’t sit there - Dave is coming in today," or "that is Karen's desk". I would get this feeling I couldn’t identify, but I just wanted to go home, it made me feel vulnerable.

Taking a coaching course, in one of the exercises I reflected on a really strong emotion of embarrassment and humiliation. I took myself back to this strong negative memory of being at school - this memory is 31 years old.

The feeling of rejection, sadness, whatever it was when I was ‘hot desking’ came rushing back to me.

At that moment, I became the most self aware I have ever been. I tell this story with pride, not shame and when I feel this emotion, or situation happening, I don’t turn into a scared 8 year old.

The moral of this tale is to think about those memories - the emotions which hit you like a bomb and find out where they come from. I have no doubt that this will come up again in the future for me. Sharing it helps to remind me that when it does I affirm back to myself that this is not about me. I am liked and respected.

Want to show appreciation for Show/Girl - I'd love a hot chocolate

  • If you wanted to explore this with me or to ask more questions - book a free discovery session to see whether coaching is right for you.

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