Our life as a performance

Why we hide from others even when we desperately need each other

Photo by Tamara Gak on Unsplash

Why do we hide from each other?

Is it societal norms that restrict the way we express ourselves? Is it the embarrassment we feel because of past actions? Is it because of how we tell ourselves that we’re being silly and that our problems aren’t that big?

When we’re in pain, why do we pretend that everything is fine? Is it because we believe that things will be okay eventually? Do we feel more in control when others can’t tell that something is terribly wrong? Is it because we believe that people will think we are weak? Do we feel like people will stop looking up to us and stop depending on us?

Do we want to avoid people’s pity? Their concern? Maybe their judgment?

What do we really gain when people don’t know that we’re dying on the inside?

When we aren’t honest about what plagues our hearts, it’s easy to think that there’s something wrong with us. We start to feel like our problems are insurmountable. We feel lonely as we start to figure out how to escape our turmoil.

We might feel strong when we avoid external worry. And the result? We feel weak when we are overwhelmed by our feelings as we spend time with our own thoughts. We trade temporary strength for prolonged lonely suffering. We fall to pieces by ourselves. We pull ourselves together and put on performance after performance.

In my very limited experience on this beautiful rock we call the earth, I’ve learned that sharing your burdens is hard. But when you can share them with the right people, it definitely makes them feel lighter. There have been countless situations where close friends have given me the perspective I needed to cope. And where they had no solutions, their listening ear helped my heart feel less heavy.

Their listening ear made me feel that I wasn’t alone. Their own experiences made my challenges feel less unique and daunting. I felt less crazy for worrying because my worries weren’t new or unique. Their kind words reassured me that my struggles weren’t the end of the world. They helped me feel less stuck. They gave me enough courage to take a step forward.

So before you put on your prop of choice (mask or superhero cape) and perform, try to reach out to someone.

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Limichilwe Simwanza

Limichilwe Simwanza

Developer. Dabbler in design, writing, and all things creative.