Top Three Tips for Bouncing Back from Humiliation

It’s your girl Lisa Nichols here and I wanna know…Have you ever had a moment of public humiliation? It could have been in front of your friends…classmates…family…work colleagues…in a meeting…or even on a stage in front of an audience? 

Trust me, when I say #YANA (you are not alone). Luckily, those moments of public humiliation are few and far between in my career, but I did experience one of the MOST embarrassing moments you could ever imagine on stage in front of an audience of more than 1,200 people! 

That’s why this week, I felt it was important to share my top three tips to bounce back from humiliation and how I was able to navigate what could have been one of the most humiliating times in my entire speaking career. 

#1 – Forgive yourself.

Give yourself grace. So often we have more grace and compassion for other people. If one of your best friends came to you and told you about their humiliating moment, you would immediately encourage them through it. So, why is it that when we have a humiliating moment, we put on the gloves and beat ourselves up…boom…I should have…boom…I could have…boom…I wish I would have.

#2 – Give yourself permission to make mistakes and be willing to make light of the situation. 

Now, I know not every situation is appropriate to make light of, and I don’t want to minimize every form of humiliation because some forms are certainly not funny at all. But in some cases, if there’s an opportunity where you can laugh at yourself and minimize it, you actually take the energy out of it. You take some of the energy out of that balloon of stress or that balloon of tension that comes with public humiliation. So, try to take the tension out. Remember that energy grows where energy goes. If you move the energy away from the moment, then all energy has to move away from it as well. Allow yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes. It’s only when we stand inside of perfection that we’re expected to make no mistakes. 

What I love most about Oprah…and I love so many things about her…but one of the things I love most about her is that she allowed us to see her humanity the entire 25 years that she was on the air. She allowed us to witness her humanity. So, she had permission to make any mistake or just to be human. Not that she made a lot of them, but if she did, we were going to love her through it. And so now, I’m asking you to give yourself permission to navigate through your journey and have a full experience—those moments that are great…those that are learning lessons…and those that might have been humiliating at times. Be okay with that. 

#3 – Learn the lesson. 

There’s a lesson in everything. I learned that when I give myself permission to laugh AT myself, other people will laugh WITH me. What could have been devastating to me in front of one of the most important audiences in my community is now a great memory. 

So, if you ever find yourself feeling humiliated in public, remember that the way to navigate through it starts with forgiveness, compassion and empathy for yourself. Give yourself permission to make mistakes publicly, and then look for the lesson in everything. 

I would love to hear from you. What’s one of the biggest #AHAs you got from this episode? What hit home for you? Did anything you hear feel freeing? Did it help release your fear of humiliation? What was the lesson you learned from my own humiliating moment? 

I love reading your comments and hearing about your #BOLs (breakthroughs out loud), so please, please share them with me in the comments below.

Remember, THIS is your home, and WE are your tribe. I LOVE you, and I BELIEVE in you. And I’m going to say those words each week because I truly mean them. So, keep coming back, and I’ll keep telling you!

Your Sister in Prosperity and Possibility, 

45 replies
  1. Ann Konkoly
    Ann Konkoly says:

    Thank you for this! What resonated most?
    1. What was the lesson here?
    2. Can you show yourself love, grace and compassion when things don’t go as planned?

    love this and need more of this in my life!!


    VENUS JONES says:

    Thanks for sharing a vulnerable story with us Lisa!

    Wardrobe malfunctions are the worst. They can ruin a career, just ask Janet Jackson. I’m so happy you bounced back. You obviously, have a strength that many people don’t have and that is your sense of humor. I can laugh it all off and have everyone laughing with me on stage, but when I get home and that inner critic shows up. It’s shame and blame time. My last presentation I went a little blank, given the virtual atmosphere is jarring sometime. But I just started over and did my best to let go of this perfect image I wanted to convey. My husband even reminded me that mistakes humanize us. It was probably you who said perfect is boring. Thanks for addressing this issue for many of us who suffer from stage fright at times and anxiety and move through it anyway. I love that the lesson is to always look for the lesson.

    Yes. YES!


  3. Bronwyn
    Bronwyn says:

    Dear Lisa,
    I loved all you said. I learned from
    It. But when you softly sang, “Ciao, Bella,” at the end, you were such a sister to me that I wept. That’s what I needed to hear MOST! I am worthy and somehow beautiful. Thank you, sister.

    • Gay Ferland
      Gay Ferland says:

      Thanks for sharing Lisa! What resignated for me was to forgive the other person for humiliating me on Facebook! I was devistated, she was a friend……. Only through restraing myself did I realize that the offender was not getting sympathy from others and tried to play victim only to make herself look like a fool! I didn’t even need to respond. I thanked another friend for sharing a screen shot of her statement! Lesson learned….. keep your friends close and enimies closer!!!

  4. LisaA
    LisaA says:

    Thanks, Lisa!! I got lots of haha moments.. I pray nothing like that ever happens to me .. but if it ever does- I know now how to get through it; not around it! God bless you .. for reaching out to all of us. I’m prosperous having you at my side and on my side!!

  5. Kelly Mishell
    Kelly Mishell says:

    Lisa, your message is a gift — just what I needed to hear today after being hard on myself for an “imperfect” public interview. I am now giving myself grace, making light of it, and learning from it.
    Thank you for your wise words brought in Divine timing.

  6. Jenda S. Pettigrew
    Jenda S. Pettigrew says:

    I love your awesome, positive, energy! With that being all good, your message is plain, clear and specifically on a practical point that no one else could ever deliver like you!!!!

  7. Gay Ferland
    Gay Ferland says:

    Thanks for sharing Lisa! What resignated for me was to forgive the other person for humiliating me on Facebook! I was devistated, she was a friend……. Only through restraing myself did I realize that the offender was not getting sympathy from others and tried to play victim only to make herself look like a fool! I didn’t even need to respond. I thanked another friend for sharing a screen shot of her statement! Lesson learned….. keep your friends close and enimies closer!!!

  8. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I was/am the founder of JHM a place for women of Christian faith to gather who were recovering from Domestic Violence and Divorce. In this organization I was a speaker within the community, group facilitator and all around queen of encouragement. Life gave me a blow that has shook me to my core. When I think of humiliation it is the realty that I am a Divorcee from a 20 year marriage and that reality has knocked me so far down, I count it grace that I am able to hear your Messages and no longer feel shame or embarrassment. I hear the Universe saying get up the world needs you. No longer so sure of my purpose but I Thank you Lisa for walking in yours. Very encouraging!

  9. Ibrahim Abdullahi
    Ibrahim Abdullahi says:

    Dear Lisa,

    I’m so grateful for all you have said on this show.

    You made me remember to be self-motivated even when things didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.
    You make me reflect on the things I should have do to make the best out of every moment.

    Thank you so much… YANA

  10. Patricia Gilchrist
    Patricia Gilchrist says:

    Thanks Lisa for sharing. Your testimony helps me realize that humiliation can happen to any one. What I did, eventually, was to take a deep breath and release any negative emotions, and I called it out. Ex. I release any humiliation, I did for each emotion I was feeling, because I realized it can cause a tender or sore place within. I’m also learning how to laugh at myself when I make a blooper. Thanks for being transparent, otherwise, you’ll feel as though you’re the only one that’s experienced humiliation. Blessings and continue to be a blessing. PatG

  11. Miriam
    Miriam says:

    I thank you Lisa.
    Your transparency gave me hope. It’s always helpful to know that someone so well established can go through this. As you say that’s what make us human. I am learning to laugh at myself; forgive myself and learn from every situation – good or bad.

  12. Majma
    Majma says:

    The message hit me so strongly because I can’t remember when was the last time I easily forgive myself about something wrong I did that had me saying, I shouldn’t have done it, it was my fault and I will go on and on blaming myself again and again which only made me go down more and more. These three tips are a game changer for me Lisa, I must admit, I will drop it like it hot and forget it was humiliating and just take the lesson and move on.

  13. Stacy-Ann Brown
    Stacy-Ann Brown says:

    Thanks for this video Lisa. Often times we criticize ourselves far worse than others, we are indeed our biggest critics and we don’t allow room for mistakes. Thanks for reminding us that we should give ourselves some allowances for mistakes because we are indeed human.

  14. Karen A Dixon
    Karen A Dixon says:

    I am learning to be humble and also to be merciful and compassionate to others when they make errors or mistakes! I definitely want to be more forgiving and compassionate with myself when I make mistakes or do something wrong!!!

  15. Nanette M Buchanan
    Nanette M Buchanan says:

    Loved this… A reminder that we are human, mistakes happen. I taught for years at the training academy for Corrections Officers. I knew my audience, I knew what they had to learn, I taught it many times. The class was communication, and I was in fear to communicate. The audience was administration staff, the “higher-ups”, the seasoned professionals. The class was five days…with just me and them. I had my lesson plans, my interactive exercises, my powerpoint…and they had cell phones, Ipads, and private conversations. Needless to say, they were rude, disruptive, and as they thought privileged, after all, I was an officer. I literally worked for them. It took two days before my patience left me. I told my Director, I was done, they wouldn’t learn a thing and I would be blamed for then not getting the policy updates. Lisa, this was when the lesson was taught. I was told I was chosen because of my ability to deal with diverse classes, those who would prod and poke my ability. I was told to get ready for the rest of the week I did. I prepared an exercise that appeared simple but the directions had to be read in order for it to be performed correctly. None of them read the directions. I gave them the answers, explained why they got the answers wrong… and I gave them a thought to carry with them. No one is above learning, but if you can’t follow directions you’ll always be in the dark. My humiliation for two days was rewarded at the end of the week. I had their attention and they complimented my training.

  16. Soraya Simone
    Soraya Simone says:

    Hi Lisa! My Sistah from another Mistah! I Love your easy spirit. Your journey inspires my journey and that of others everyday.
    I am learning how to be child like again at 61. I just went thru a humiliating experience and just got thru it. It took me a little bit, to get to the letting go thru the forgiveness part. My lesson was self-compassion. If I have it for someone else, I know I can have it for me. I gave myself permission to let it all go.
    Thank you beautiful and Lovely woman, for serving humanity in such an incredibly inspiring way
    Namaste my Sistah

  17. Lissette
    Lissette says:

    My biggest take aways are to forgive yourself and to work through it. We are perfectly imperfect and these experiences are what make us , us!!!

  18. Alina
    Alina says:

    I loved the story Lisa! Thank you for sharing!!!
    My #AHA – if you learn to love yourself authenticity shines through, people relate and help you navigate.

  19. Ollie Garza
    Ollie Garza says:

    Good Evening Lisa,

    Thank you for sharing your story on stage. Let me tell you a little about me. i fracture my neck Oct 19, 1978 its coming up to 43 years ago. Leaving me a quadriplegic. I will not go into all the details now. I just publish my first book Why Not Me 8 Keys Turning Tragedy into Triumph using principles i learn though my journey of being a quadriplegic

    With that being it’s time for me to serve others by sharing my story to let them know it will be okay it does not matter what you are going though.

  20. Buyisiwe Ndlovu
    Buyisiwe Ndlovu says:

    Thank you Lisa, just knowing that I can forgive myself gives me great relief and strength to be able to face anything that comes my way without feeling guilty and apologetic for making a mistake

  21. Joke
    Joke says:

    Laughing at myself through my mistakes in public or private is what I do often. It relieves the pain and gives me clearer perspective to look at it on a brighter side thereby helping me to move on to other things.

    Sarah you’ve been great and consistent in motivating the masses. God bless you.


  22. Dorene
    Dorene says:

    Great message! My biggest takeaway was to extend the same grace I give to my love ones to myself. Another Aha is to remember to acknowledge the lessons life offers which helps me through some humiliating moments.

  23. Betsy
    Betsy says:

    Thanks for sharing these awesome tips Lisa.
    What stood out to me was #1 … ” Forgive yourself ”
    I am always telling others not to be too hard on themselves, yet I beat myself up. I will always try now to be conscious of this.

  24. Susan
    Susan says:

    Hi Hi!
    Maybe now I can forgive myself for blanking out when standing up to speak, because you said to. Thanks! Lesson is: think about what I want to ask/say Then give myself permission to make a mistake.

  25. Jelz
    Jelz says:

    This is amazing. I love it!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing.
    No. 1. Forgive yourself. That’s the most powerful thing to do.

  26. April Burrows
    April Burrows says:

    My ah hah – I tend to forgive others but not for myself! Giving the same compassion to myself is essential.

    I will have to work on making light of a situation. I aspire to be more lighthearted!


  27. Phillipa A Dean
    Phillipa A Dean says:

    LOL Lisa I loved that you were able to make light the moment your “girls’ were trying to give the audience a VIP experience. This one helped release me from the fear of humiliation. I’ve wondered, is that a skill requiring one to think on their feet?

  28. Deborah
    Deborah says:

    Hi Lisa
    Thanks for the tips I like
    tip #3 give yourself permission to laugh at yourself .That helps me a lot .Some time I have to remind myself to have a little fun and it make feel so much better be able to laugh out loud sometime .It releases something in me . Thanks Lisa for being a vehicle to get me there .

  29. Ritu Sharma
    Ritu Sharma says:

    Thanks Lisa for sharing your vulnerability to us , it opens the door for me to be more courageous to be my self in public. You have always inspired and motivated me . You are the one I reach out to feel courageous again and again. Lots of Love and Hugs to you, May God bless you with more and more of abundance and prosperity and lots of lots of Love , Happiness and Joy.


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