Even though these two words are often used interchangeably, embarrassment and shame are actually 2 distinct constructs.
Psychology Today defines EMBARRASSMENT thusly-
The feeling of discomfort experienced when some aspect of ourselves is witnessed by others, and we think that this revelation is likely to undermine the image of ourselves that we seek to project to those others.
SHAME, on the other hand, is defined by that same publication as-
A feeling that arises from measuring our actions against moral standards and discovering that they fall short.
Whereas embarrassment is a response to something that threatens our projected image but is otherwise morally neutral, shame is a response to something that is morally wrong or reprehensible... Like watching 3 hours of televised beach volleyball while in the nude and with the sound off...
Now that the difference between embarrassment and shame is abundantly clear, let me axe you something: Should I be embarrassed or ashamed of this YouTube recording of my performance on cowbell at the Dad’s Night Talent Show from 2013?
(It is impossible to watch this whole thing since it was recorded using a potato, so watching from 1:30 to 1:50 is more than enough to get my point.)
Right now, I am both.
Take a report.
Had White Sox Dave on Welcome on Back yesterday, and have a Wall Street story on the ExtraLarge that drops Friday morning… Both on BarstoolGOLD.