Embracing Awkwardness

Do you ever have awkward moments with people, situations where you just want to run or hide – or do both? Awkward moments have been a common experience for me throughout my life.

I realised through talking with an Esoteric Practitioner about not knowing how to deal with awkwardness that my awkward moments are actually not the issue, but it’s how I respond in these moments.

I was recounting to the practitioner how awkward I felt with some men, sometimes not knowing if I should say hello or not, not knowing how to be myself. Sometimes I felt the awkwardness from another person and then reacted to this and felt myself then become awkward and change how I am.

The practitioner asked me “What if you allowed the awkwardness in your interactions? What if you didn’t judge the feelings as being wrong and just nominated it and allowed the awkward feelings to be there?”

I realised I had spent my life reacting to awkward feelings, either in me, or from another, and this extended beyond just interactions with men. The reaction to awkwardness was there if I felt the slightest bit of rejection or exclusion from a group, or if I said the “wrong” thing… Or even if I was having a conversation involving money: “Remember that money you borrowed? Well you never paid me back…” or being asked to wait to continue a conversation with someone whilst they finished a phone call but not knowing when their call will end. They would say “Just wait there Annie. Don’t go ­– this will be quick.” And I would wait and wait some more, feeling like I was hovering, and then ask myself: should I wait or go? I would then take on the awkward feelings and not know how to handle it.

I realise that allowing the awkward feelings to be there is actually allowing me to be me, observing and letting things just be how they are, without making it wrong. If I shy away from the feeling and push it away, I end up trying to numb and distract myself with overeating and shopping. If I acknowledge the awkwardness and just say to myself “That felt really awkward!,” I can stay with myself, in full presence, allowing my imperfections rather than try to push away my feelings or wish I could rewind life and try again.

One of my first opportunities to embrace awkwardness after this realisation was when sharing a goodbye hug with my friend’s new boyfriend. As we gave each other a parting hug, my friend hugged him from behind and sandwiched him and I both together, chest to chest; and for a little while her boyfriend and I couldn’t escape. It was probably only for five seconds, but it seemed like a long time since I had only met this person for the second time and hardly knew him.

Normally I wouldn’t say anything and would just want to escape the situation and perhaps feel a bit frustrated and embarrassed with my friend and the situation, but this time I acknowledged how I felt after I released from the hug and commented: “That was awkward…” We laughed about it and I was able to feel the lightness in the situation.

I realise now  I have often reacted to awkwardness, which has meant a hardening in myself in that moment of how I feel or how another feels, making my feelings or their feelings wrong. It has felt  like a rejection of me and my delicate nature and a rejection of the other person, and all in not wanting to feel any discomfort.

Often I have taken it personally when I have felt another person be awkward with me, but I realise that people have their own hurt and fears around rejection. If I can stay steady with myself, allowing openness and trust in my body, I can support others to also build trust again in people and in relationships.

I am appreciative of and inspired by Serge Benhayon and the amazing Universal Medicine community that remind me of who I am and support me to allow more of me to unfold.

By Annie, Australia

Further Reading:
What is Connection
From suffering from withdrawals – to healthy relationships and true intimacy


704 thoughts on “Embracing Awkwardness

  1. Love the honesty in your sharing here Annie. And I can’t help but wonder how many of us mask such deep sensitivity in dealing with people and situations with a false ‘bravado’ or confidence, when in truth, we actually feel awkward within.

  2. There seems to be a lot of self-judgment in awkwardness. If we feel comfortable in our own skin, there will not be the awkwardness that is so concerned with other people, getting it right, being liked, playing the part. The observing of the awkwardness rather than judging it feels like a great way to get under what is happening and allow it to dissolve as a coping mechanism that is no longer needed.

  3. I am going to use this same approach with anxiousness. There is a certain situation in my life that I feel quite anxious about and I really judge myself for it, instead I am going to observe it more, feel it and just allow it to be there without being hard on myself so that I can start to understand it more.

  4. And this is exactly why we have all become so guarded with each other – we do not want to feel the truth of what is there if what is true in the moment does not feel so good to feel. For example if someone we love is jealous of us, we are quick to brush it off and not allow ourselves to see exactly how and why this force has come to play out between us simply because it is not pleasant at all to feel! However, by allowing ourselves to feel these things and by not ignoring them, we are able to shed great light on the situation at hand and thus can bring a greater depth of understanding that will ensure that such falsities cannot get in the way of our love for each other.

  5. I find it really helpful to acknowledge within myself if I’m feeling awkward as that helps me to then stay present and open rather than trying to override or push down what I’m feeling.

  6. I am sure many if not everyone can relate to your blog Annie. Its so simple how nominating awkwardness diminishes any fear or stress one may feel around it.

  7. It’s staying with how we feel and knowing that this honesty and truth felt is simply us being who we are. What we learn from these feelings is hugely healing and doesn’t send us into reaction, judgment and or comparison leaving us to simply be as we are. That is pretty cool.

  8. Allowing ourselves the space to feel any feeling sounds easy but it is more challenging than one might think. We seem to have built hobbies out of avoiding and numbing ourselves from feeling, that is why your simple and humble blog is so relevant in our current landscape. Even the smallest feeling can be hard to face if it’s actually covering an even bigger one. Awkwardness for me is usually exposing a mild anxiety and the anxiety is usually revealing an exhaustion and the exhaustion is exposing the way I live, haha, the Pandora’s box of feelings is open. But seriously, when you are connected it’s simple, when you not, the best thing to do is get connected again.

  9. There is a vulnerability that emerges with the awkwardness that is very very precious for me to see in others and even to experience in myself too. It’s not comfortable to feel, but when I allow this vulnerability to emerge, the awkward situation allows me to show myself and be closer to people. Not hiding myself in those moments is the most loving choice I can do when this happens.

  10. “I realise that allowing the awkward feelings to be there is actually allowing me to be me, observing and letting things just be how they are, without making it wrong. ” I feel my awkward moments are when I am concerned about getting things right, I have come to understand that mistakes are for our learning and need not be judged as wrong or right.

  11. Awkward moments can feel uncomfortable when we hold onto an attachment of how things need to be but if we are willing to let go of that need of protection and safety we can allow ourselves to experience these moments as opportunities to be more transparent and to live with a greater purpose for the good of all.

  12. “If I shy away from the feeling and push it away, I end up trying to numb and distract myself with overeating and shopping.” – I can relate to this! If I try and push away what I’m feeling it doesn’t give me a chance to truly observe and process it – to see why it came up and how I truly feel to respond to the situation rather than resorting to a picture of how I think I ‘should’ be.

  13. It’s so good coming back and re-reading this blog as we can let these awkward moment happen at any point during the day. To be able to see them and not react but embrace as you say is super cool and these moments start to become less and less.

  14. Thank you Annie for sharing how it is so important to embrace and allow ourselves to honestly be with what we are feeling, even if they are uneasy feelings. Embracing all that we feel without judgement, expectation or criticism, is how we develop a loving relationship with being ourselves.

  15. I love your honesty, Annie. When we can be that honest in the moment of the awkwardness the awkwardness dissipates, as you share.

  16. I love what you have shared here Annie, allowing ourselves to just feel the awkwardness rather than judge it or our reaction to it as wrong, this then enables us to simply accept it and stay with ourselves and feeling our body.

  17. Imagine being so connected with yourself that awkwardness was a thing of the past… That you were able to literally stay with yourself in any situation. This is the extraordinary gift that we can give to ourselves when we make the ongoing choice to stay connected… And it is this… It is a choice.

  18. When we react, we are already judging and it feels like we freeze in that moment and we make our life even harder to flow. And it is deadly when we react to our reaction, and react to that, and react…

  19. Yes reacting to when we feel awkward within ourselves or even with others, just fosters more awkwardness. But when we actually become allowing, also feeling what the awkwardness stems from, that can be very helpful to bring understanding.

  20. Indeed I feel it it is all in how we respond to situations … or react! that makes the difference and from experience the more comfortable I am within myself and within my skin the more at ease I am with any situation given. Also loving yourself and not feeling dictated to or doing what others want for example “Just wait there Annie. Don’t go ­– this will be quick.” And I would wait and wait some more, feeling like I was hovering, and then ask myself: should I wait or go? I would then take on the awkward feelings and not know how to handle it.’ I can really relate to this situation (putting others before myself) as I used to be the same; if this happened now I would walk away and carry on with what I was doing and go back to the person after they had finished the conversation honouring me more including my self worth not compromising this for another .. however it is still a learning process.

  21. We can only feel awkward if we at first react and move forward with this feeling. If at first we surrender to our bodies and move from this choice, we will feel a shift from awkwardness towards honesty and transparency and others feel this authenticity of who you are instantly.

  22. Thank you Annie for sharing so honestly, I am sure many can relate to feeling sensitive and awkward in social situations, it’s empowering if we nominate the way we are feeling and to learn to let go of any pictures or ideals about needing to get it ‘right’, as this allows us to remain more open and accepting.

    1. I’m learning the power of nominating which I have under used. Just by, internally even, nominating feeling awkward it loses its grip. And by accepting I may sometimes feel this and not judging myself allows me to ask and feel what else is there to open up to?

      1. Yes nominating whatever it is that is coming up, sometimes it is unease, fear, sadness, trepidation. No right or wrong, but without nominating it it makes it sit uneasily in the body.

  23. A great sharing Annie. I have often felt awkward in a situation and sometimes it feels like I am frozen to the spot and don’t know how to extricate myself from it. Just to know I can express how I feel and break the tension of the moment feels great !.

    1. I know that feeling of being frozen in the spot when feeling awkward, that it feels like I’m in a straightjacket and cannot move…. that said, now I am learning all I have to do is move, just move my body (and the straight jacket falls off) and then the words that were blocked a few seconds ago, come tumbling out!

  24. ““What if you allowed the awkwardness in your interactions? What if you didn’t judge the feelings as being wrong and just nominated it and allowed the awkward feelings to be there?” I so needed to read this today as I have been feeling awkward in interactions with one particular person recently.. Thankyou Annie

  25. ‘The reaction to awkwardness was there if I felt…’ now I could add many situations but the most recent one was where I was being interviewed and felt the interviewers were uncomfortable with me. Rather than sit there accepting the awkwardness of the situation and not apologising for myself, I went into trying to make light of the awkwardness I could feel in the room and left my authority and started kind of being a bit nice and jokey- making the situation excruciatingly awkward for me and them – like watching a comedian die on stage.

    What I reaslied from this and from reading this, I don’t have to shy away from awkward moments but stay 100% present and observe. I don’t have to make people feel less awkward – that’s not my responsibility – they are the agents of their life and choices, not me. Sometimes a healthy dose of awkward serves to wake us up.

  26. “I realise now I have often reacted to awkwardness, which has meant a hardening in myself” Yes I can relate to this, I have been one to fill in the gaps, the feelings of awkwardness instead of being able to let it go and allow for silence or whatever is sometimes needed. I am much better than I used to be, reading more what is needed in certain situations.

  27. ” Embracing Awkwardness ” I am not sure about this ” acknowledging awkwardness” feels more true to me and a starting point of learning. For when I observe babies and very young kids that have no ” awkwardness “. So it must be a mechanism that we have developed for some purpose.

  28. I love the simplicity and honesty in this blog, and who has not ever had an awkward moment? But what I am discovering is that the more I express whatever there is there to express, there is no uncertainty or second guessing, and in a lot of occasions just expressing the obvious eg ‘that felt awkward’, means we do not walk away carrying stuff ( or any tension) that we can so easily take on if we do not express what we are feeling!

  29. So beautiful and simple and yet so deeply profound. Letting ourselves feel awkward and staying with ourselves and we realise it’s just a momentary emotion flying through, showing us where there’s more for us to deepen with, let go of and heal.

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