***We are living in perilous, trying and emotionally turbulent times. When I originally wrote this, the unjust killings of two black men within 24 hours by the police, the subsequent killings of unrelated/innocent police and the Nice killings had not yet happened but since then my tears have flowed in almost river-like form. As I watch human lives being brutally wiped away from this earth out of fear and hatred, I haven’t quite figured out any other way to help ease the pain or the grief of seeing such atrocities. What I have figured out is that my tears are the only thing keeping me sane and providing me with an outlet for processing, shedding, and creating space for hope and healing.***
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday a couple of weeks ago and I spent 75% of it crying my eyes out.
I was crying because I was massively grieving. I was grieving bigger concepts like death and the very difficult realization of my parents’ aging alongside the immense pain, suffering and injustice this world seems to on the brink of exploding from.
I was grieving the smaller more selfish things like fully realizing I can never go back to the innocent and free days of my childhood and at the same time wishing I knew what the f**k I’m doing with my life. I was even grieving how I could possibly reach my grapes without getting up from my lawn chair (kidding…..kind of).
And you know what? I had not one ounce of shame about any of it.
So many people truly believe not crying is a pillar of strength and shedding tears is the ultimate show of weakness; that showing anything more than what society deems as “normal” and “good” emotions makes a person weak and/or overly emotional.
I want to be very clear, I don’t mean tantrum crying where you aren’t getting your way or crying in an attempt to control a situation or someone else’s actions (although honestly I still cry sometimes when I feel immense disappointment). Nor do I mean overly indulgent crying where you are continuously feeding into false and/or negative stories about a situation, yourself or others.
I mean crying in the sense of acknowledging and connecting to what’s going on inside you (however big or small it may be), feeling it completely and then releasing it through your tears.
We must deal with so much on a daily basis without realizing it and just like laughing, here are 4 reasons why crying can also heal the soul:
1.) A Deep Release
Grief is a part of life, it is a part of being human but not all grief is as dramatic as experiencing an actual death; although sometimes it may feel like it. Grief can come in many forms: stress, jealousy, disappointment, anger, sadness but instead of acknowledging these emotions, we are taught to “be strong” and not show how these things can affect us. No, you do not need to have a breakdown in front of all of your coworkers if you’ve had an irritating day at the office but imagine the difference if you allowed yourself some alone time to feel your anger and frustration in its entirety, cried it all out and made space for clarity and peace.
2.) Connects us to our Vulnerability
Shedding tears not only takes vulnerability but simultaneously deeply connects us to it, strengthening the cords to our own precious humanity. In our process of releasing and shedding what has been building up inside of us, our tears metaphorically and slowly tear down those “pillars” which are in reality just blocks to our wholeness.
3.) Disintegrates our masks
People can often associate a person crying with weakness (once again I’m not referring to overly indulgent, frequent crying tantrums) but what it makes them is vulnerable and with vulnerability comes an immense amount of strength; strength to move past exterior walls and deeply feel what is going on within. It is admirable and a hero/heroine’s journey to feel those emotions that are so often shamed (grief, disappointment, anger, jealousy). Every time you cry, you are tapping into that raw humanity that we so often hide. Connecting to our tears, to our grief (or whatever the difficult emotion may be), is a means of connecting to our soul and moving past the masks that society so often demands us to wear. Shared vulnerability is one of the biggest and deepest connection points that we as humans have.
4.) Form of Self Love
To associate crying with shame is equivalent to putting shame on ourselves and that is NOT self love. Holding in our emotions and not allowing them to flow through us to be released, causes them to sit and fester within us until they manifest into physical symptoms. I would know because I bragged about not crying for years and unsurprisingly had a mental breakdown which spiraled me into a deep glorious hole of both depression and anxiety (and also unsurprisingly, endless tears). Self love is not just about eating right and working out. It’s about showing unconditional love to all aspects of ourselves and not encouraging some emotions while completely shaming others. It’s about processing life as it comes and filtering out what needs to be let go of. It’s about crying when you need to freaking cry and not being embarrassed to do so and THAT is self love.
Do not fear your tears. Do not fear what they represent. Embrace them and all that they embody. They may just end up being the very thing which make you feel more whole, more connected to yourself and more connected to others.