Sometimes crying is the perfect response.
Since I was doing some this morning, I took the time to think about how I feel about it.
It occurred to me that, for many of us in Western culture, crying is not respected or admired. We’ve seen too many action blockbusters glamorizing the abundant testosterone of John Wayne, Bruce Willis and that Spartan Guy to believe that crying should be expected from anyone but sissies, little kids or manipulative women.
Here’s what I think: crying is a gift you give yourself ~ it’s a gift of love and relationship.
Crying helps you process emotions and clear your body of toxins. Your tears are clear for physical pain; they’re milky for emotional pain. The deeper the emotion, the more healing the tears.
Crying releases tension. It’s been proven scientifically that holding tension in your body over a period of time contributes to illness. Not crying when you need to can make you sick.
Crying is the indicator that you have tapped into something so true for you that you can’t ignore it. Your tears are your body’s equivalent of a “thumbs up” ~ letting you know that you’re on the right track.
After writing everything you just read as a draft of this blog this morning, I had the occasion to test my theory in practice this afternoon.
After working for several hours with a very dear colleague on some projects for next week, I got to a point where I couldn’t help crying. My guess is that I was just tired; I was feeling mentally drained and slightly overwhelmed.
Despite how I was feeling and what I had written this morning, I have to tell you that I didn’t WANT to cry.
I realized in that moment that as easy as it is for me to let my tears flow in private, wrapped in the arms of the beauty and silence of my home, it was total AGONY to cry in front of my colleague.
All the emotions that keep us from crying were right there in my heart:
- this is SO STUPID!
- I do NOT want to cry!
- I’m completely losing control!
- I LOOK like an IDIOT!
Here’s the funny thing: my colleague had no trouble with my tears. She knows what’s going on with me right now and she was completely supportive of me.
What’s even funnier is that while I was telling her that I was about to cry and that it was totally OK with me, then sharing with her what I believe about crying – how powerful it is, how healing – she could see that I was struggling mightily to keep it together so I wouldn’t have to cry.
My tears didn’t stop our conversation. We both got through it ~ and she was kind enough to keep a straight face.
Now that I’ve taken this theory out for a test drive, I plan on doing a whole lot more crying in the months ahead. I’m confident that I will get even more congruent with my actions, so I can walk this particular talk with integrity.
Just knowing I have this freedom makes me look forward to my next opportunity to cry in public.