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


826 thoughts on “Embracing Awkwardness

  1. ‘“That was awkward…” We laughed about it and I was able to feel the lightness in the situation.’ Feeling awkward can be truly refreshing and joyful when we stay with ourselves and dare to be transparant, why putting up a mask (which I did a lot) as if everything is like we thought it would be and as if we we are in control?

  2. At times we may even enjoy awkwardness for the fresh, unpredictable, humorous situation it allows everyone involved to experience; we may get to know something about ourselves and others that we otherwise would never get to see.

  3. Naming what we feel even our awkwardness can allow the space for the feeling to be acknowledged and often transformed.

  4. I used to feel awkward for I was always looking for what was right and what was wrong. In letting that go the feeling of awkwardness has mostly gone and from underneath it has arisen my delicateness and sensitivity. The ‘right’ and wrong’ was just one of the many ways in which we mask how we truly feel. Now everyday I am learning more to show how I feel openly in every situation.

    1. Love that Carolien. I know this feeling of trying to do the right thing and especially not the wrong thing (oh no!), yet this is exactly what causes the anxiousness and tension in our bodies. Instead just feeling how I feel in such a moment and observing what is going on without a picture of how it should be makes the problem suddenly not a problem at all, just a situation to be with like any other.

      1. Yes Lieke, i know that too, wanting to do the right and good thing but never in consideration to how I felt what was appropriate for me, my whole being. Such moments always left me feeling less worth and absolutely not connected with what really was on offer for me at that moment.

  5. Thanks Annie for the reminder to allow awkwardness to be there, and not try to run away from the feeling or bury it with eating or other activities.

  6. We take awkward moments personally, but what’s more important (and we often avoid) is looking at why the flow of a conversation or event has been interrupted. In truth we can’t blame another person, but can assess how our movements may have become out of rhythm or flow, and how this could have affected the moment and bigger picture.

  7. Learning to observe and to be more allowing and understanding creates the space to not go into reaction so quickly and feel from the body what needs to be expressed, or not.

  8. I find that if I judge what’s coming up in me – whether it be feeling awkward, anxious, sad or annoyed etc then it keeps me stuck in that emotion rather than just being able to see it and let it go, so that I can truly sense how to respond.

  9. When I told a close friend what a stunning job she had done at work the other day and how the people she had done it for were lucky to have been on the receiving end of her work she looked at me like I was mad and just said “awkward”!!! I was so surprised because they absolutely deserved the appreciation, but I realised they were not used to people appreciating them to that level – I didn’t think I ever stopped appreciating them so perhaps there is more to be awkward about than just the final moment!

  10. I love that you have shared your way of coping with an awkward situation, ie. the friends boyfriend and meat in the sandwich hug with the comment “that was awkward”. It allows all to lighten the situation beautifully.

  11. Not overriding the awkwardness allows more understanding to be and hence more openness to honesty and responsibility. It is always important to never personalise the behaviour relating to the awkwardness thinking it is us in anyway but always see that regardless of the situation it does not change the amazing lovable beings we all truly are.

  12. If we are willing to truly feel we’ll get to see that there is a tension to every moment of life. A pull between what’s true and what’s not, what we have chosen and the precise way things are configured that day. So to feel awkward is I feel a lot more honest than just proceeding along thinking everything’s ok. Embracing the tension allows us to accept what we feel and this helps grow our awareness of life. Thanks Annie for all that you write and inspiring others to see the gold that lives in letting life be without reaction.

  13. I find just simply allowing the awkwardness to be there in that moment allows us to feel and observe the moment and not judge or compare it as being wrong. It’s then simply just another moment that will not only pass but shows our willingness to be just as we are which shows we are open and transparent in how we move and interact with others. Which is a true gift to appreciate.

  14. Just last night I was at a dinner and returned to the table when everyone was in mid conversation. Usually, a moment where I feel totally weird. But I let my body settle, and I observed the room, and as I allowed this, someone easily struck up a conversation with me, and it was very simple, simply because I chose not to react.

  15. There is nothing simpler or as powerful than allowing yourself to admit what you are feeling at a particular moment. It’s like you stop trying to fight or hide it and just let it be. This diffuses 90% of the situation instantly and you are back with yourself, where you can actually deal with it.

  16. Annie, thank you, I love the honesty of your sharing here and it’s very supportive to read today. I often feel awkward and I don’t quite know what to do with that, wanting things to be other than what they are, and judging where they are now, and to understand that I can just observe that and let it be ‘actually allowing me to be me, observing and letting things be just how they are, without making it wrong’ … that is huge and something to play with. I can feel how attached I am to pictures of how things should be without just letting things be as they are, and how constricting that is on both myself and others, time for a different approach.

  17. I find it interesting with friendships in fact all relationships with others as I change and become more loving. It can be sad and I certainly have felt rejected when a friend or member of family has chosen to avoid or walk away from me but I am beginning to feel the acceptance here. It is life and holding onto to people because of what has happened in the past is certainly not going to support me and neither is it going to support another.

  18. Awkward situations can make relationships or projects feel jarred, uneasy and unsettled, and so understanding why the situation came about and expressing this is very much worth it when the other option is days, weeks or months of tension!

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. ” 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.

  22. “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.

  23. ‘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.

  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. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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…

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. “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.

  37. 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.

  38. “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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

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