John Vance Cheney.
The soul would have no rainbow, had the eyes no tears.
When I say, I love to cry, I do not mean that I love to feel sad, hurt, grief, or disappointment. What I mean is that I love that I have a vehicle (tears) to move my sadness, hurt, grief and disappointment out of my body. I am grateful that I have become comfortable enough with crying that tears just naturally come when they need to.
In a recent article, I spoke about how much I love to laugh. Here I will be talking about how much I love to cry, and how cleansing, and important, it is to do so. Tears are our bodies way of releasing sadness, emotional pain, grief, frustration, anger, and yes, joy.
Have you ever been so moved, or touched, by something someone said, or did, or experienced something so profound that you noticed you were tearing up? Did you allow yourself to cry freely, or did you suppress, or hide, your tears? So many of us find crying, or being with someone crying, uncomfortable.
How many times have we heard as a child, or adolescent, or even adult, “Don’t cry”? This response implies there is something wrong with crying, that it is not okay to do so, or even more so, there is something wrong with us because we are crying. As opposed to the reality that tears are a natural response to distress.
Others of us have heard, or been asked, “What are you crying about?” Again, a clear message that something is wrong with the person who is crying. Or in dysfunctional families, some of us have heard, “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.”
The Cleansing Gift of a Good Cry
Allowing ourselves to cry when the tears want to come is a gift we give ourselves. If we are with someone who feels the need to cry, allowing them to do so, and holding the space, is a gift we give them. So many of us push back our tears hoping we can contain them. Others feel sad, hurt, grief, and yet the tears are stuck and don’t come.
Our culture doesn’t encourage and support crying, it’s just the opposite—it discourages it. How many times have you noticed oneself, or someone else, crying and the person is immediately handed a tissue? This nonverbal gesture implies, wipe your tears.
Your Tears are Welcome
In my psychotherapy office, although there are tissues on every table, I do not hand them to someone out of concern that they will misinterpret that I’m wanting them to stop crying. Instead I encourage someone who is crying by saying something like, “Just let that come. Your tears are very welcome here. It’s okay.”
Often, when I say this, the tears come in full force. Later when we process what happened I hear something like, “This is the first time, or one of the rare times, someone has been okay with my tears.”
My wish for you today is that you find comfort in embracing your feelings and experience the joy that may bring.