What was I thinking when I did that? Do you ever have moments when you ask yourself this question? Memories of our past embarrassing moments, also called cringe attacks, crop up randomly even years after the event, making us relive them all over again. And while you can look back and laugh about some memories, others stick in your head and consume you, making you wish you could learn how to stop thinking about embarrassing things you’ve done and past mistakes.
Some embarrassing moments you might want to learn how to stop reliving and constantly thinking about include things like flopping on a presentation, farting in a quiet room, wardrobe malfunctions, throwing up on someone, bumping into your boss and pouring coffee all over them, your voice cracking while singing, falling off the stage, making bad decisions, defending someone who turned out guilty of what they were being accused of, or tripping and falling in front of a lot of people.
The list of examples of the most embarrassing moments you might have experienced in your past is endless.
Unfortunately, constantly thinking about your embarrassing moments and obsessing over past mistakes can rob you of your joy, cause insecurities, affect your behavior negatively, and make you get stuck in the past, reliving that moment.
Sometimes when you think about it, it can feel like the embarrassing moment is happening all over again, visualizing it like a movie where you are the cringey main character. And you wonder, What the hell was I thinking? How did I let that happen to me?
You keep thinking about how you could have done things differently and worry about what the people who witnessed it think of you. And the truth is most people don’t even remember your embarrassing moments, and it is all in your head.
Since this can affect the quality of your life and your behavior, it is important to learn how to stop reliving embarrassing moments and obsessing over past mistakes so you can move on.
Read on to find out how to stop cringing at your past actions and cope when unpleasant embarrassing memories come flooding back.
6 Ways to Stop Reliving Embarrassing Moments and Obsessing over Past Mistakes
- Accept that you can’t change what happened
Obsessing over past mistakes and constantly thinking about that awkward situation doesn’t do you any good, and it would be better for you to learn how to move past that and get on with your life.
Accepting that whatever happened already happened and there is nothing you can do to change it now should be your first step when learning how to stop reliving the embarrassing moments and obsessing over past mistakes.
All you can do now is move on and avoid making the same mistakes or repeat occurrences of the embarrassing moment.
- Be compassionate to yourself
Moving on and behaving normally after an embarrassing moment can be difficult. It is especially so if whatever happened occurred in front of a lot of people whom you know.
You will constantly think that whenever they see you, all they visualize is you doing whatever embarrassing action you did, thus hindering your ability to get over it.
You have to recognize that you can’t control what others think of you and they probably don’t even remember the incident. Hence, if you want to learn how to stop reliving embarrassing moments and obsessing over past mistakes, it would be best for you to be kinder to yourself and forgive yourself for any misdeeds.
You are only human, and making mistakes, being clumsy, and messing up sometimes is part of human nature.
- Talk about them with a trusted person
Our thoughts often exaggerate a situation, and hence talking to someone could be a good outlet and one way to stop reliving embarrassing moments and obsessing about things you did wrong.
Things were probably not as bad as you think, and you are just torturing yourself unnecessarily.
The trusted friend you choose to share with could provide you with a new perspective on the embarrassing situation, and you might even be able to look back at the moments you thought were the worst and laugh about them.
One of the hard truths about life is that everyone struggles, and hence almost everyone has had embarrassing moments in the past. Thus, your friend could also have felt the same as you at some point in their life.
If they have, they can advise you on how to get over your feelings of embarrassment or cope with unwanted memories.
- Learn from them
No one can go through life without ever having made a mistake or being in an embarrassing situation. The difference is how one chooses to deal with their past mistakes or bounce back from embarrassing moments.
In this case, you can choose to view your past mistakes and most embarrassing moments as a lesson on what not to do in the future, thus avoid repeating the same events that led to them.
You can also stop the cringey flashbacks by thinking of them this way; if the most embarrassing moment in your life has already happened, things can’t get worse than that, and any other awkward moments you might find yourself in will not faze you because the worst already happened and you survived.
Knowing this will give you more confidence whenever you find yourself in the same situation. For example, if your voice cracked while singing a particular song, you should feel more confident to sing again because you already messed up the first time. The only way you can go is up.
- Bring yourself back to the present
If you want to learn how to stop reliving embarrassing moments and obsessing about mistakes you made in the past, reminding yourself that you are not in the same place you were back then can be effective. It happened to the person you were, and it is not a reflection of who you are now.
To get over embarrassing moments in your past and bring yourself back to the present, you could use breathing exercises, affirmations, or practice mindfulness meditation to help you stay calm when these embarrassing memories come flooding back.
- Seek professional help
When you find yourself thinking about past embarrassing moments repetitively, to the point that it is bringing up negative thoughts and affecting your ability to function normally, this is called rumination; and it could lead to mental health issues such as depression.
If it gets to this point, consider seeking professional help from a therapist to get to the root cause for why you can’t move on. They can then come up with treatment options to help you stop reliving embarrassing moments and obsessing over past mistakes.
We all have awkward situations and actions in our past that we cringe at when we remember doing them, and reliving embarrassing moments is normal for any human. It shows that you care and are conscious of your actions.
However, if it affects your quality of life and you keep thinking about them, try the above tips to help you learn how to stop reliving embarrassing moments and obsessing over past mistakes so you can finally move on.
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