Where does the expression of Spanish shame come from, and what to do if you are ashamed of another

Where does the expression of Spanish shame come from, and what to do if you are ashamed of anotherMany have at least once in their lives come across a feeling of shame for another person – in particular, for a relative or friend. In advanced cases, we can be ashamed even of strangers or participants in television shows.

This phenomenon has a name – Spanish shame. This article will discuss the causes of this condition and methods of dealing with it.

The content of the article:

  1. Spanish shame – where does this expression come from
  2. Why are you ashamed of others – reasons
  3. How to Overcome Spanish Shame – Psychologist’s Tips

Spanish shame – and what does Spain have to do with it?

Spanish shame is when a person becomes wildly uncomfortable about certain actions of other people. Most often, it can be experienced during the stupid actions of loved ones, and sometimes by observing a complete stranger who found himself in an awkward position. Some blush even for talentless talent show participants.
What does the expression Spanish shame mean?

The expression “Spanish shame” is analogous to the English “spanish shame”. The phrase “spanish shame” comes from the Spanish “vergüenza ajena”, which means feeling ashamed for another person.

The Spanish “vergüenza ajena” is not used in the original due to the difficulty of pronunciation, so the Americans came up with its analogue, and the Russians, in turn, picked up the baton.

This condition did not originate in Spain, and it can be experienced whether the person is Spanish or not. Shame is called Spanish only because the representatives of this country were the first to come up with a name for this awkward feeling.

In fact, the name of this state is far from the most interesting part. It is worth digging deeper and identifying the reasons why people are forced to suffer from this feeling.

And also learn about why Spanish shame is a disadvantage and how to deal with it.

Why are you ashamed of others

Why are you ashamed of others – reasons for Spanish shame

This emotion is not innate, we acquire it at certain stages of life. In all cases, the reason lies in our psychological vulnerability.

It is difficult to say what exactly is the origin of the feeling of shame in each specific person, since there are many reasons.

Internal prohibitions

Perhaps you blush for others because of your inner limitations. For example, you are afraid to be funny and look ridiculous. This is due to low self-esteem and self-doubt. Failure to accept yourself, real, and come to terms with all your cockroaches, can be fraught with the constant presence of a sense of Spanish shame.

Usually, this uncertainty is formed even in preschool age. We observe the people around us, how they react to our actions. Based on their reaction, we set ourselves certain barriers. And so, from year to year, the feeling of shame takes on its own corner in our head and becomes absolutely familiar to us.

Responsibility for others

This phenomenon can happen to a person when he firmly feels that he is involved in everything that happens, and the result may depend on his further actions.

If a person’s actions are contrary to your moral and ethical principles, you on a subconscious level begin to think that you are responsible for his actions.

Fear of rejection

This trait is of genetic origin. Many centuries ago it happened that if a person was guilty of something, he was expelled from the tribe, and he was doomed to death.

Evolution has left its mark, and people still experience fear when they think that society might turn away from us for shameful actions.

Comparing yourself to others

On a subconscious level, we “try” on ourselves the awkward situation that is now happening to another person. In the end, we feel ashamed, even though we did nothing of the kind.

This happens in several cases:

  • The person is our relative or friend.
  • A person has the same profession or hobby as ours.
  • The person is in the same age category and so on.

Psychologists explain this by the fact that if we feel a resemblance to a person or a character from TV according to any criteria, we feel uncomfortable from his awkward position.

Increased level of empathy

Empathy is the ability of a person to feel the state of other people on himself. Some feel ashamed of the person who disgraced himself, and some just scoff at him.

How a particular person will react depends on their level of empathy. If a person is inclined to take everything to heart, then the Spanish shame will haunt him throughout his life.

It has been scientifically proven that feelings of shame for others and increased empathy are directly related. We subconsciously want to help a person so much that we begin to feel shame ourselves.

With an increased level of empathy, people find it difficult to watch various talent shows. When another “talent” enters the stage, I want to turn off the video, close my eyes and sit like that for several minutes.

Bad memories

Psychologists explain that a person may experience Spanish shame also for the reason that earlier he could find himself in a similar awkward situation. And now, when he observes that someone is in a similar position, he has a desire to sink into the ground and run away from himself.

The desire not to see it, so as not to experience this feeling again.


Perfectionism is the pursuit of excellence in everything. Perfectionism is often harmless, but sometimes it can develop into a disease. This neurological phenomenon forces a person to do absolutely everything in accordance with the rules. The inner perfectionist requires other people to follow these rules impeccably too.

If others deviate from the established norms in the perfectionist’s head, he begins to experience a sense of intense shame for them.

How to deal with Spanish shame

What to do so that it is not embarrassing for others – advice from a psychologist

The feeling of shame for others sometimes gets in the way of everyday life, so you can and should get rid of it. You need to set a goal for yourself; not try to hide from your feelings, but learn to relate to what is happening in a different way. To do this, you need to constantly fight your complexes and other “cockroaches”.

It is important to realize that it is in you, and not in other people. A person who is in an awkward position may not even feel the emotions that you experience when looking at him.

If you want to stop feeling shame for others, you will have to work long and hard with your psychological component. If possible, you need to entrust this matter to a competent specialist.

Each individual situation needs its own approach:

  1. In the case of increased empathy, you can get rid of the feeling of shame for others using the method of dividing people into “us” and “strangers.” Realizing that the person is completely different from you, and his preferences go against yours, this will help you to stop feeling ashamed of him. You need to find as many opposites as possible that do not appeal to you. This theory was derived and applied in practice by the famous biologist Frans de Waal.
  2. To stop comparing yourself to others, you need to draw clear boundaries between them and yourself. You need to realize that you are not the person who is in an awkward position. The person who speaks without hearing or voice is not you. Your friend who is “dumb” in front of a guy is not you. You need to replay this thought every time you start to blush for others.
  3. If you feel ashamed of others because you are used to taking responsibility – most likely this is due to a deep-seated feeling of guilt. This needs to be realized and worked out.
  4. If shame for others arises from inner limitations, you need to work on self-esteem. The more insecure a person is, the more he will criticize others for their actions. Most often, low self-esteem is formed in our country since the days of kindergarten or elementary school. Try to remember when you started feeling your own dissatisfaction, relive it again – and let go.

Spanish shame is a completely natural feeling that characterizes many of us. But sometimes we do not want to realize this because of the absurdity of the situation. For example, when one becomes ashamed of characters from TV series and bystanders. If such sensations give you discomfort, you definitely need to fight them.

Where does the expression of Spanish shame come from, and what to do if you are ashamed of another

To get rid of Spanish shame, first identify the root cause. Find patterns by figuring out when and for what actions you feel ashamed.

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