Sometimes crying is the gift we give ourselves.
My sister hates to sweat. Sure, she can have a good cry, but the idea of hot yoga to induce a sweat sounds sick to my sister.
Although she likes yoga and loves the warm sunshine, she draws the line at sweat the way some people draw the line at tears.
We can be sad, but “Don’t cry” is the American mantra—unless you’re on “reality” TV, of course.
Listen, after the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or the 872 frustrations taken with smiles on our faces, crying is the sweat of our emotional workout.
Tears are valuable. Created from our emotional body, tears are nonexistent until we allow our feelings to ignite them.
It requires depth to cry—happy tears as well as sad. Not only that, but tears have health benefits.
According to Psychology Today, biochemist and “tear expert” Dr. William Frey of the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis determined emotional tears hold stress hormones which exit the body through crying.
Stress hormones? Why would we want to hold those in? Let ‘em flow!
A good workout is required to break a sweat. One must go to the gym, hit the trail, or pick up the weights to build muscles and endurance.
What if our emotional muscles, as individuals and as a society, have turned flabby?
What if because we’re so afraid to cry, we’ve forgotten the overwhelming rush of happy tears? Or the emotional release, even high, after a good cry?
What if doing our emotional workouts on a regular basis is the key to a fulfilling life? A full feeling life. Isn’t that what we’re after—the feeling?
To feel it all—the ache of death, the natural high of children, the joy of food and family, the anger at government and outrage over poor treatment of people by those who lack compassion, the bliss of a soft, wet kiss—is to be alive.
This is a call to cry. Don’t tell me you’re over that thing that cut your heart, just because you paste a smile on your face and refuse to cry.
Trust me, if daddy touched you wrong or abandoned or damned you—you need to cry.
If your mother, brother, sister, or beloved died, you need to cry.
If your kid is on heroin, your daughters are teenagers, or your ex is bat-shit crazy, you need to cry. And that’s just the happenings in our own homes.
What about the state of our nation? Don’t we have enough reasons to cry?
Stifled tears are toxins.
Often, the one resisting the tears, denying the pain, or pushing people away doesn’t realize she’s doing it. It’s the technique she learned to keep her safe—the one she acquired as a daughter who had to play the mother.
Personally, I didn’t know I was retreating to safety by hiding my vulnerability. That’s the way my mom taught me.
Don’t ever let them see you cry. For years, I tried not to.
I was tough—like a man—because that suits society.
Now, in my 50s, life has tenderized me. It taught me to cry.
Maybe the gigantic universe heard my mom’s words, “Stop your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!”
I wailed over the death of my beloved. I cried every day. I owned my grief and let it flow through me. I cried until I could laugh.
The physical loss of the man and our plans on earth deserved every tear. My grief was genuine. I let it move through me and serve as my path to laughter and awe, wonder and delight.
In my grief, I opened up to a wider array of emotions. I forced myself to seek, find and embrace beauty. I gazed at deer, little red and yellow birds, and blue dragonflies. I started a love affair with the sky.
I bonded closer to my dog, sister, family and some friends. Others fell out.
You know, the ones who couldn’t hold the weight of my tears without the need to rescue, one-up, or dispense the attitude of platitudes. Yeah, I had to let them go.
Because truth be told, I want to hang out with the criers of this world, those dripping from the fullness of emotion. Not every damn day drama queens, but when it’s called for.
Let’s have the courage to own our emotions.
I find these criers to be grievers, yogis, musicians, singers, teachers, health advocates, spiritual practitioners, and courageous managers.
Maybe the emotionally evolved can be found anywhere, even in the mirror.