Why Cringing is a Good Thing (Sometimes)

Hi friends, hope we’re all keeping well.

This will be a relatively short post, but I’ve been thinking about the concept of ‘cringe’ recently. An official definition describes it as a ‘feeling of disgust or embarrassment’. Often, we might ‘cringe’ when we see people doing something we wouldn’t dream of doing, because we would be super embarrassed by it. But the most common people we cringe at are ourselves. Particularly our past selves for doing something we look back on with great embarrassment.
Said an awkward thing at an awkward time? Attracted attention to yourself in an utterly unwanted way? Or maybe even just did something we look back on as embarrassing? Yep, those are things that most likely keep us awake at night and we hate with a burning passion.

But I want to come to the defence of this abhorrent feeling for a bit.

While I am absolutely no different to the average human in terms of having many cringy moments in my life I look back on with disgust (probably more than the average person, actually🫠), I feel like having cringy moments means we’ve grown as individuals. Maybe we used to act a certain way back in high school to try give off some kind of impression, or faked a personality trait to garner attention. The fact that we look back upon that time in with disgust and embarrassment means we now know how stupid that was. It shows progress and maturing in life.

Even some of the more mundane ‘cringy’ memories we might have, like messing up in a class presentation, often are not as bad as we might think. Sure it was embarrassing at the time, but for one: I feel like we often overestimate how big of a deal people make it out to be. Even more so how many people will usually remember. Can you think back to three presentations done by your old classmates where they messed up, forgot something, or said something they shouldn’t have? Probably pretty difficult, right? The fact is most people don’t care about what you’re doing, because they’re too busy focussing on themselves.

Secondly, the act of cringing at yourself for a past mistake reinforces the determination to not make the same mistake in the future. It is a strong lesson that was obtained through personal life experience, and will probably be burnt into you depending on how cringy the memory is.

Regardless, the way you act in the future is also built upon avoiding more cringy scenarios that resemble the ones from the past. Perhaps you do things differently or approach problems in a more refined way. Maybe you don’t get involved with a certain activity anymore.

Either way, cringing at your past self indicates growth in my opinion. And while the feeling can suck tremendously sometimes, I still (try) see it as a positive 🙃

Oh and also, I think I’m going to try to write more often now. These types of analysis/self-reflection posts are always quite fun to write, and ideally I want to also compose my blog of my own personal reflections and thoughts as I progress through life.

Anyway, thanks for reading if you made it this far, stay safe

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