Who knew that crying was such an important part of our mental and emotional health?
Crying has often been treated like a bad thing, a sign that we are weak and unable to handle life… when in fact, it is the total opposite. The ability to cry shows that we are safe enough in the world to let go and be totally honest with ourselves. It’s knowing that when the tears stop flowing, everything will be so much better.
Sadness is a real thing. Anger is a real thing. Disappointment is a real thing. But we’ve been taught that they are not ok, that we should be thankful for what we have and that we shouldn’t burden other people with our problems. We are taught this as young children when we are sent to our rooms because we are upset. We are often told to “come back when you’ve pulled yourself together”. It’s not our parents’ fault. The same thing happened to them. They also couldn’t be honest with themselves about their emotions. So, there was no way that they could handle ours.
But this training creates a foundation of needing to hide when we are upset. That there was something wrong with it.
So, we have to look at crying differently so that we can totally dive in, allow the tears to flow, and let ourselves feel the truth about what is going on in our life.
I remember dating a man who wasn’t used to women crying. We would be having the most loving chat about something and all of a sudden, tears would form in my eyes because a memory (happy or sad) would rise and I would let myself cry. The first time it happened, he got visibly upset and said, “OMG, what’s wrong? Did I do something?” I told him that it wasn’t about him. Something in our conversation simply triggered an old memory and I must have had some old emotions that needed to be released.
The next day, I was reading about Chinese Medicine and how various emotions like anger and frustration are stored in the liver. I read that crying is one of the best ways to release these stored emotions.
So, that evening, I shared this idea with him. He sat quietly with it for a while and then looked at me and said, “So, when you cry like that, it’s just like liver juice?”
It was so sweet because after that, any time I cried, he would just smile at me and say, “It’s OK. Keep crying. It’s just liver juice flowing.”
The greatest thing about freely crying is that on the other side of the tears there is something important that we need to know.
We cry because something is overwhelming us. Maybe our reality isn’t lining up with the story we are telling ourselves about how life is supposed to be. Maybe we have taken a wrong turn in life. Maybe we are repeating a painful pattern again.
Tears are the clue that something is not OK.
If we repress them, we are bound to repeat whatever pattern we are in.
If we repress them, we are not going to know the truth of what is going on.
So, we need to let them flow. We need to know that there is purpose in the crying. We need to know that we have to fully feel whatever our reality is.
Maybe we call a friend. Maybe we cry alone in the bath. Maybe we journal through the tears. Maybe we walk in the woods.
Regardless, we need to let them flow all the way to the end.
And then there will be silence.
There will be a beautiful, quiet space.
As we breathe deeply here, we can learn something important.
We will realize something that we hadn’t seen before.
We may find compassion for ourselves and whomever else we are upset about.
There is great peace in this space.
This is what allows us to walk forward out of depression, anxiety, and grief. It is in feeling what is real in the moment, that takes us out of the circular thinking that keeps us stuck.
It is the tears and emotions that flow like water in a river.
They are what allow us to heal and move on.
So, if you need to cry, cry.
If you need to scream, scream.
If you just want to lie down and let tears quietly flow down your face, enjoy this lovely release.
We need to let it flow without worry, fear or judgement.
It’s just our truth.
It’s part of life.
And it’s what lets us move on the the next part of our journey.