My dad and I used to talk about how good it felt to laugh rather than cry. We used to also talk about how a person could think him or herself into feeling sick or feeling down. We knew if we wanted to, we could dwell on everything that went wrong or we could think about all the things that were going well for us. It was an option we had; an option to choose how we wanted to perceive life.
But crying does have its benefits. It’s our bodies way of responding to something that is emotionally important to us. When we allow ourselves to cry, we are letting our body process the emotional experience. When we don’t allow ourselves to experience our emotions whether it be crying or feeling sad, two emotions that we tend to tell ourselves are bad to express especially in public, our body doesn’t get to process the event. We then begin to hold all those events and emotions inside. Our bodies are designed to respond to life’s events; it’s normal to laugh and cry. But for many, crying has been associated as a sign of weakness.
How many times when you have been happy did you tell yourself you shouldn’t feel that way? Probably never. But what about when you have felt sad and cried? I bet there are times when you have said you shouldn’t feel that way. I know I have. But who started that belief? Who told us that some emotions are better than others? We aren’t born with beliefs. We learn them from others and their experiences, they get handed down from past generations and our own experiences shape our beliefs. How many of you have heard the phrase “boys don’t cry” or “crying is for baby’s”? I remember hearing both of those growing up and I still hear them. Both of those beliefs create a stigma about crying. It sends a message that it is wrong. I also remember seeing my dad hold back his tears. I wonder what held him back from expressing himself. Even to this day, I try to hide my tears when I watch a movie that gets me choked up. Why?
What was thought to be so horrible about crying? Thinking about it as I write this, it makes me laugh a bit. Was there a belief that the world would come to an end if we cried? What is the worst thing that could happen if we cried? Sometimes I cry when I am super happy. Watching my son’s get married made me cry because I was proud of my sons (and I am still proud of them 😊).
When was the last time you let yourself cry when your body started to process an event? You let yourself laugh, don’t you? When was the last time you thought about your emotions and how they impact you? Maybe it’s time to re-examine your belief about your emotions. We all have them and they are all normal. Practicing self-awareness and self-management are key to understanding your emotions and what they are telling you. What are your emotions telling you?
Stay curious and have a great week.
Photo By Aloha Hawaii