Myötähäpeä is that feeling of embarrassment or shame that one can feel for another person or character when they do something cringey, stupid, or embarrassing. In that sense, myötähäpeä is a very universal feeling for many, many individuals and I do so wish there was a better English equivalent than secondhand embarrassment.
Myötähäpeä – that feeling you get when you just know that the main character is going to be soooo embarrassed…
Okay, raise your hand if you had (or have) a difficult time watching any show where feeling myötähäpeä is almost like second nature. *raises hand* I am so that person who has never, ever been able to sit comfortably through any show or movie where someone was embarrassed – especially the during the first viewing. It’s almost like I have spent my whole life feeling secondhand embarrassment too strongly and now that I have a word for it in myötähäpeä, I feel seen in a good way. Of course, I am having one hell of a time pronouncing myötähäpeä so I doubt I’ll be using it in an casual fashion, but it’s still rather awesome to know! How about you, do you ever feel myötähäpeä?
Namaste ~ Ella
** If there’s a word you’d like to see added to the Word Nerd roster, please feel free to contact me or suggest it in the comments – I enjoy feedback and recommendations!