By Jodi Botha

I once split my pants while bending down to collect copies from the office printer. My backside was facing the meeting room where my boss and his colleagues were having an important discussion behind a glass wall …

At 23, splitting my pants in front of the powers that be, to expose my animal print undies was just about the most mortifying thing EVER!

It was nearly as embarrassing as the time when I stepped onto the bus, and digging around in the bottom of my handbag, pulled out a tampon to pay for the bus ride.

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But not nearly as embarrassing as the day that I fell up the stairs that lead into a trendy bar… and my bag was open… so everything in my bag fell out and rolled across the bar and all the patrons were collecting my stuff and bringing it back to me.

I mean, does there always HAVE to be an audience? Can I not embarrass myself in private, alone… without any witnesses?

I learned, however, that there’s a certain amount of character that can be built from embarrassing yourself endlessly.

“If you can sit, happy with embarrassment, there’s not much else that can really get to ya” – Christian Bale

It’s like the time I rolled back from my desk, on my fancy chair with wheels, to reach the filing cabinet and the wheels got stuck on the computer cables running BEHIND my chair (because, of course that’s where they lie) and I tumbled over backwards. Legs in the air. Head on the floor. But, still seated. My colleagues were beside themselves.

I also don’t seem to have any good sense when it comes to greeting people

I cannot even remember all the times that I’ve reached over to hug someone and have accidently kissed their teeth.

Dealing with closed doors seems to be an issue as well. If you’re a couple feeling amorous – beware! There’s a good chance that I’ll walk in on you! That’s if, I can figure out WHICH WAY THE DOOR ACTUALLY OPENS!

Fortunately, I do believe that most people can relate, and that often they are laughing with you rather than at you

We can all stand to laugh at ourselves a little more, can’t we?

“It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humour in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver” – Betty White

If, as a species, we are brought together by elements like laughing, shared moments, music, sport… then surely, our embarrassments are bonding moments, in disguise.

We seem to take everything so seriously nowadays

We are offended by social media posts and other people’s opinions. We are worried that we may be seen in a less than flattering light. We think that we all need to agree on everything, and anything that is unusual should not be trusted.

“If you are offended, it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people” – Salman Rushdie

Nothing is forever and more often than not, an embarrassment becomes a great story to share with friends… once your ego gets over it. Things that we take for granted today (like women being allowed to vote) were once untrusted and issues that where vehemently fought and argued about.

“Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game” – Neal Stephenson

Perhaps the awkward moments when we feel embarrassed, is just the Universe’s way of letting us know that we need to stop being so serious: you really are not in control of as much as you think you are. Political parties will change, policies will change and people will change their opinions as they grow throughout their lives. What seems to be an issue today, might very well be a solution tomorrow.

Learn to roll with the punches, have a laugh, take a load off. It’s really not that serious!