What To Do When You’ve Been Humiliated?

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Noone is safe from experiencing a setback. Even successful entrepreneurs and business people have experienced it before: The bitter taste of being humiliated. Here are some strategies that help you get back on track!

I wonder whether anyone gets through life without feeling humiliated. What should you do when it happens to you?

My friend Tonya sent met this article where Bella DePaulo writes:

„Humiliation can feel so intensely painful and debilitating that all advice for dealing with it may seem futile. Maybe in those early moments, it is hard to do anything but wallow in your own distress. Perhaps, though, there are some useful tips out there“.

DePaulo points to Robert J. Sternberg ( a Stanford PhD, has taught at Yale, and has served at various universities as dean) who gives tips on how to deal with humiliation:

Realize you are not alone.

“If you can find people who have had a similar crisis to your own, talk to them.”

You have to be resilient, not just smart.

Sometimes what separates successful people from those who fail is not talent, but the willingness to keep coming back after terrible setbacks, rather than giving up.

Most of the time, it’s nothing personal.

Success is often about a fit between you and a particular place or situation. If you don’t fit, don’t take it personally – just move on to a better fit.

Learn from the experience.

Seek out a support network to help you move on.

Use any downtime you have to do something you really enjoy.

Think twice before striking back.

“Your cause may be just. But the more relevant question is whether plotting your revenge is the best use of your time, energy, reputation, and likely, money. Wouldn’t it be wiser to focus on plotting a new future for yourself?”

Don’t hide.

“You need to affirm for people, and perhaps for yourself, who you are and what you stand for. And you need to show people that the crisis has not destroyed you…”

View the crisis as an opportunity.

For example, you can use it as an opportunity to pursue something you love.

Move on.

Don’t wallow in your humiliation. Plan for the future.

There is a lot of wisdom in Sternberg’s words. The road to recovery is probably different for different people. Some may really need time just to hide out and be by themselves, and not even talk to potential sources of support, before regrouping and moving on….

“Every time I want to hit the publish button for one of my blog posts thousands of thoughts flash through my head at the same time. Will people like what I wrote? Will they hate it? Will they talk bad about me? Will they think I’ve gone crazy? … I have to keep pushing…,” writes my friend Yann Girard on his blog. I have similar feelings recently. But I can’t hide out. I want to be active, keep pushing.

A few months ago, I made a stupid thing – I sent sexist messages to two smart and attractive women after a tech party in Berlin. Techcrunch rightly wrote „being stupid and wrong is really no way to go through life“ in his article. The editor also told me „You have to say you will change. And that the industry should change“. How to get my screwed reputation back? I will keep working hard. I learned a big lesson, and I want to be a better person. I also hope that my stupidity will help others. I also plan to be a part of some projects that will help fight sexism in the CEE region (they will be communicated via Twitter). I want to learn from my mistake and view my crisis as an opportunity.