Breaking Down in Public: Embrace Your Vulnerability, and You’ll Be Surprised How It Helps
Breaking down can build you up
One negative thing follows another, and before you know it, the worse happens. You fall apart right before your boss, strangers, or people you prefer to see you as strong and confident.
Nobody likes breaking down in public. Allowing others to see you at your worst could be one of your greatest fears.
Plenty of people suffer from nightmares about being caught naked in public. In their dream, they might walk down the street and suddenly notice people staring at them.
Then, when they look down, they see they’ve no clothes on, and their stomachs lurch like lead balloons dropping into the ocean.
The embarrassment of being seen when you’re feeling wretched might seem terrible, but it has many advantages.
If you can overcome your awkwardness, embrace your vulnerability and fear, and stand tall, even when the tears roll down your cheeks, you might reap the rewards of opening up in public.
Here’s how breaking down in front of people can build you up and improve the situation.
There’s no shame in letting people see you break down
Our culture has led us to believe we must show people ourselves in the best light.
Just think about it; everyone tries to change their photos not to reveal wrinkles, blemishes, and dark circles beneath their eyes. Likewise, they change their profiles on social media to appear perfect and mention only their favorite credentials.
We’ve been hoodwinked into believing there’s something wrong with letting people see us at our worst, and it’s unhealthy.
Nothing’s terrible about allowing the public to see you cry, go red through embarrassment, or slip on a banana peel. Everybody has gone through similar experiences. So they won’t imagine you’re dim or ridiculous.
It’s OK to yowl because you’re upset, or have a meltdown when you’re overwhelmed. If you don’t, how will anyone know you need help?
When you open up, there’s a good chance your pain will flood out
Keep in your pain, and it will get restless. Locked up inside, it will rally against being imprisoned and try to break free.
Unshed tears become cold like steel. They harden your emotional arteries and give you a thick mental exterior, but it’s an undesirable strength.
It offers the opposite of stability. A tough exterior due to holding in your pain makes you unreachable and keeps you isolated because no one can relate to you.
They imagine you’re perfect and don’t need help, and they don’t offer you any. Release the floodgates, even in front of strangers at the supermarket, and you’ll find sweet relief.
Letting people help is a step forward
After you break down in public, passing strangers will stop. A few of them will feel your pain and want to help. Doubtless, you don’t want their pity, but you could do with their understanding.
Knowing you’re not alone and someone cares might be enough to help you regain composure and seek solutions to problems.
When you break down in public, you help other people
Because most people think they shouldn’t air their emotions in public, they can benefit from being shown a better way.
Let them see you tremble with sadness, face-palm with the realization you’ve made a mistake, or wail in anguish, and they’ll recognize it’s OK to be human.
We can all benefit from shedding our outer layers and revealing who we are when we’re not pretending to be hard.
What’s wrong with softness, anyway?
People often describe others as soft in a derogatory way, as if it’s a negative thing. But your softness gives you empathy with others and makes you better than hard people who don’t care.
Softness, authenticity, and realism break through the emotional and social barriers and benefit everyone.
There’s no shame in being who you are in every way. Sometimes, you’ll want to choke back tears. But when the urge to stuff them back into your psyche where they’ll rot strikes, stop.
Consider how opening the floodgates could improve your life and help others be real too. Don’t let old-fashioned ideas about how you should behave stop you from revealing your true colors in all their glory.
Don’t want to miss new stories? Click here to join Medium. Your membership fee directly supports Bridget Webber and other writers you read. You’ll also get full access to every story on Medium.