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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Embrace the Cringe!

Letting Go of the Choices of Our Past


I hope you are laughing along with me. If this picture isn’t cringy, then I don’t know what is. In the 80’s, dressing up in dirty costumes for an “old fashioned’ headshot was a thing, so I got it done as a gift for my grandmothers. Grandmom Ruth got the smiley one below and Grandmom Esther got the one with the serious face that my dad still loves so much that it’s currently hanging in his office. I am rocking braces, bangs, my muddy brown hair color, and had not figured out how to tame my natural curls, so I fit in with the 80’s big hair look. I thought I looked adorable. 

We might wince at the past, possibly to the point that we get stuck. Hold your head high. We can’t change it, even if we are canceled. Whether it’s saying the wrong thing, making a bad decision, experiencing a wardrobe or bodily malfunction, falling, or committing a faux pas, most people have their share of cringey moments lurking from the past.

Let it Go!


Nobody is perfect.  When we hang on to the fantasy of being perfect, we focus more on what’s missing than what we have. We talk a lot about forgiving other people, but what about ourselves?  We need to love our younger selves for whatever cringey moments, mistakes, regrets, and faux pas we did in the past. 


Embrace the cringe by realizing you wouldn’t be who you are today without them.


Check you out!  How much do you appreciate who you are today?  You would not be the person you and others admire and appreciate without all the cringe moments of the past. For instance, you might have needed that wild streak in order to calm down. 


Embrace the cringe by moving forward.


Rewriting history is impossible. We can’t change the past, so we have to accept it to move on.  If that feels too difficult, start a  journal practice to dump your emotions, so you can clear the clutter out of your head to move on.


Embrace the cringe by feeling empowered.


Congrats-you did it!  After you cleansed the negative feelings, may you feel proud of all you overcame. You have grown from the person who made yourself cringe.

Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives. - Louise Hay

Embrace the cringe by owning it was the best decision at the time.


It’s easy to say, “knowing what I know now, I would have not done that.” That might be true, but you didn’t know what you know now, so it might have been the best decision at the moment. 


Embrace the cringe by laughing them off.


One of the great gifts of aging is the ability to laugh at ourselves. What if it were someone else’s story? Heal, let go of your ego, and try to find a sliver of humor in the situation.

Photo 71283039 © Bowie15 |

Embrace the cringe by knowing most people feel it too.


I would love to meet someone who claims to have never had a cringe moment. It happens to the best of us, except that we all cringe for different reasons. 


What about you?


Which cringe moments should you embrace?

Hi, Beautiful Readers! Thank you for reading this! I'm Dr. Joanne Broder, Media Psychologist, Author, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Please consider me to help you write your memoir, blogs, speeches, e-books, as well as coach you on your dissertation or thesis.  Click here so we can connect!

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