Erythrophobia, the fear of blushing, is a little known social phobia that few people ever talk about. Which makes sense, since it basically stems from an embarrassment of being embarrassed. When you’re embarrassed, you’d rather sink into a fiery pit all the way to China than admit to or talk about said embarrassment. We eries don’t want other people to know we’re embarrassed enough to go crimson in the face.
We fear the blush before it ever starts creeping up our necks. We learn to anticipate, fear and avoid situations in which we might go red. The problem is, just thinking of these situations makes us blush, both in advance and in retrospect.
Amongst other things, this vicious cycle evolves out of low self-confidence, self-esteem and holding too much stock in other people’s opinions about yourself. If it weren’t for our constant fear of what other people thought of us, we’d have no reason to blush, and no reason to fear the blush. Sounds trivial, right?
To the afflicted, it’s not trivial in the least. If it were easy for us not to give a rat’s tookus about other people’s opinions, we wouldn’t. We so wouldn’t.
But we do care. Way too much. We can’t handle the mere thought of people thinking us weird, incapable, unlovable. What others think of us is so much more important than what we think of ourselves.
That, fellow eries, is the key to healing: It doesn’t matter what other people think. It matters what you think. In order to heal, you need to…
Rethink your Priorities
But again, if it were that easy for us, we’d turn off that caring-too-much switch, lickety-split. We’re not idiots, just incredibly self-conscious souls afraid of not being loved or liked.
Of course, we know that we are liked. We are loved. And yet, if you’re like I was for the longest time, your friends and family have no idea that you suffer from a social phobia. To them, you’re probably just prone to blushing more than others. They don’t realize that your constant blushing is responsible for your shy nature, your keeping in the background in groups, your freezing up when standing in the spotlight.
Break the Cycle
But why don’t they realize? Because you never told them the extent of your issues. Because you hide it from them. And as long as you don’t tell them how much the blushing is really affecting your life, you’ll keep hiding it with everything you’ve got. And as long as you hide it, you’ll keep being embarrassed at going red.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Your fear of them finding out turns into a cycle of hiding, being embarrassed, blushing, trying to hide it, being embarrassed, blushing, hiding it… You need to break out of this circle.
By telling someone.
Here’s what will happen when you tell your loved ones that you’re an erythrophobe, how it’s affecting your life, and how they can help you:
- They will be surprised.
- They will feel bad for never realizing how much the blushing affects you.
- They will be supportive and continue to love you.
- They will find you courageous for telling them.
- You will no longer feel the pressure to hide your phobia from them.
- You will no longer feel quite as embarrassed when you blush in front of them.
- You will be able to focus on things besides your fear of blushing.
- You will experience moments where you don’t even think about blushing when you’re around the people in the know. Therefor you won’t.
- Those moments will boost your self-confidence.
- The more self-confident you become, the more you’ll focus on other things, and the less you’ll worry about blushing. And the less you will blush.
Telling someone about your erythrophobia is not The Cure. But it is one of several steps towards healing, and only you can set it in motion. So gather up your courage to do so. If you’re not sure how, keep an eye out for my guest post on Joyable, on How To Tell Your Loved Ones That You Suffer From Social Anxiety.
Over to you: Have you told your loved ones about your erythrophobia or other type of social anxiety? How did it go, and how did it change your life? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.