Did you forget to shave before your big date or job interview? Did your frenemy see you buying that knock-off watch? Or worse, did you pass Gas (gasp!) in front of your partner for the first time? If any of these apply, you could be looking for the nearest hole to hide in.
But wait a minute. Ask yourself why you’re so embarrassed. What exactly did you do that you’re supposed to feel wrong about? The answer is nothing. There are many things we’re told we should get red-in-the-face over, but it just isn’t true.
Here’s a list of seven things people should consider chilling out about.
1. Getting Tested for an STI
Let’s be clear, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more common than most people think. According to the CDC, there are approximately 20 million new infections annually. So if you think you’ve been exposed, you’re not alone. There’s no reason to be embarrassed, but you must get tested.
There are plenty of at-home STI tests you can take that can give you quick, accurate results. If you test positive, getting the proper medication is essential for the health of you and your partner. For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with herpes simplex 2, you’ll want genital herpes treatment for your outbreaks. Taken correctly, it can cut your chances of transmitting the virus.
2. Your “Number.”
Speaking of sex, we’re at a point where your number of sexual partners is nothing to feel wrong about. Maybe you’re waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right. Or perhaps you’re experimenting to find out what you like (while practicing safe sex, of course).
When and how you choose to engage in sex is up to you. The important thing is that you take steps to protect yourself and are honest with every new partner. Be wary — it’s a red flag if a partner, or potential partner, tries to shame you for your previous experience.
3. Body Hair
Look closely — you don’t have to search hard to find the nearest waxing or laser hair removal salon. Someone sent a memo somewhere that people are supposed to be nearly hairless. Whether it’s underarms, legs, or chest, there’s an expectation you should be silky smooth. Thoughts on how long this trend will last are getting fuzzy.
You can see it everywhere you go. More and more people are ditching the razor and opting for a more natural (hairy) appearance. Like tattoos, a man’s full beard or a woman’s unshaven legs no longer draw lingering stares. So, rather than being embarrassed by stray hair, embrace them all!
Having a well-funded bank account doesn’t mean you need to spend it. There will always be a smartphone upgrade or a newer gaming system. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with everyone buying the latest gear. It’s OK if you’re good with what you have and don’t want to part with your cash.
Even if you’re making a purchase and someone gives you the side-eye for choosing a cheaper option, remember one thing. Holding on to your dollars will provide you with future financial stability and flexibility. You can be proud of that kind of budgeting maturity.
5. Passing Gas
This one may sound silly (and it certainly can get some laughs), but stop being embarrassed by farting. OK, if you let one rip in the middle of a business meeting, it may feel mortifying. In front of your significant other, though? Relax — they do it, too.
Being comfortable enough to relieve abdominal discomfort is a great thing about being in a relationship. You might both still giggle, but no one’s getting judged. It’s just a funny noise and a momentary smell. So when it happens, take it in stride.
6. Your Period
Almost 50% of the global population is female, meaning half of us to get a period. But when is the last time you remember seeing someone openly carrying a tampon or pad? Getting your period is still big secret women and girls should hide. Talk about outdated!
There are lots of reasons to be open about periods. Frank conversations help people better understand how their bodies work. Plus, knowing what’s expected can help you recognize when you may need to see a doctor. Remember, getting your period is as natural as breathing. No one should make you feel differently.
7. Weight Changes
First off, there’s one thing everyone should learn. Making comments about someone’s weight is never OK. It doesn’t matter if you’re 50 or a freshman in high school. We all come in different shapes and sizes. In addition, body changes are regular and expected as we get older.
There are plenty of mental and physical health problems that make it tough to control swings in weight. That alone means you shouldn’t be embarrassed if you’ve gained or lost some pounds. Besides, there’s no such thing as the ideal body type. What’s important is being comfortable in your skin.
Life is filled with enough awkward moments that can cause embarrassment. Average, everyday things don’t need to make a list, instead of investing emotional energy in what’s discussed above. Once you realize there’s no need to get worked up, you’ll feel much more relaxed.