This has got to be one of the best threads I've ever read! And funniest too.
I was going to say something similar about shame attacking exercises.
1. You play a character and deliberately look and do foolish things in order to provoke reactions in order to realize that people's opinion of you don't really matter. But what about when you look foolish but were not planning on doing so and people react negatively and this might cause a different reaction inside of you because people are attacking the real you as opposed to the pretend you that is acting and doing silly things on purpose.
2. You are in control while shame attacking as opposed to when you do foolish things unintentionally and are not in control such as when in small talk and things get awkward or you blush or stammer and can't control it. For example. Whenever I trip on an uneven pavement I feel stupid and embarrassed. But if I were to do it on purpose just to see how others react I'm in a different mindset. Even if someone laughs I just think to myself that I did it on purpose so that means there isn't something wrong with me but if I tripped unintentionally and someone laughed I'd feel kinda humiliated (and this happend at school; I tripped and fell in front of 20 people while running and they all laughed).
3. These are people who don't know you and only see you once or a few times. What about doing this around people whom you often see and interact with and with people you want acceptance/approval from or want respect from. Doing silly things around them often enough will probably change their perception of you in a negative way. What about when you are not out shame attacking and just interacting with them in a friendly social setting. In the back of your mind you'll probably be thinking they think you're a bit of a nut and laughing behind your back. Might be ok if you don't mind not having much approval.
In conclusion. I think shame attacking is a powerful way to open up your mind and challenge beliefs and desensitize yourself to other people's opinions but if you aren't able to handle negative reactions it can backfire and lead to embarrassment to the point that you can't face the same people again.
Thanks, good to hear you're enjoying it. It's not intentionally meant to be funny, however even I find myself laughing during these exercises. Sometimes it's so difficult to keep a straight face, but I'm ok at deadpan humour, so that helps a bit.
In response to your insightful points:
1. Like I mentioned before, I think it's important that during these exercises, you're only exaggerating the most extreme forms of your own character, in order to get used to people disapproving or laughing at you. Although, I dare to say, that even if you were playing a completely different character, you'd still gain some benefit.
2. All I can say is what I've found as a result of doing this; I'm much less concerned about other's opinions of myself in normal life. For instance, a couple of times recently, I've verbally tripped over my words when saying bye. Previously I'd be obsessing about how stupid that must've sounded to the other person(s), but since doing shame attacking, I hardly gave it a 2nd thought; I just knew I did it, and that it doesn't matter!
3. This is a good point, but it also opens up a very large subject on how most of us wrongly place our happiness/mental tranquility in things we can't control, such as our reputation with others. Personally, I believe that all we "should" care about, is to get as close as we can to fulfilling our potential as human beings before we die. You have to decide what this is; but if you ask me, I subscribe to the stoics beliefs on the subject. Therefore, what's most important to you? Worrying about what others think of you and changing your actions to suit them, or learning to fearlessly approach things in life which you have no control over.
Thanks for your post and comments about the thread.