A personal monster I have been battling lately is one that has also plagued men and women alike. This is a shaming that has been put on a very pure, natural, healthy, necessary and essential act… get your head out of the gutter.
I remember as a young child, as far back as I can remember, I had hated crying.
I would find myself fighting tears not just when I was sad, or grieving, but as a physical response to being filled with more emotion than my body could handle.
When I was super excited about finally getting to see the ocean, I cried.
When I was so frustrated with a situation that I couldn’t find the words, I cried.
When I was happy for someone else’s huge accomplishment, I cried.
When I purchased tickets to see my favorite childhood country artist, I cried. (Both times.)
I had a toxic relationship with this natural emotional response.
When I cried, I felt like I didn’t have control of myself.
I felt I was perceived as weak.
I felt insecure for displaying so much emotion.
I felt vulnerable.
These perceptions were born of emotional stigmas that plague society.
Crying is a natural response by the body when it is overwhelmed by the strength of the emotion(s) that the body is experiencing at any given moment.
Crying allows us to release these strong emotions and is actually healthy!
We’ve all been told to stop bottling emotions because it isn’t good for us.
After all, there have been many studies proving that bottled emotions become trapped in the body and can become the root cause of certain physical ailments.
Let me say that again. Unprocessed emotions, bottled emotions, can cause potentially fatal ailments.
Ok, so don’t bottle up the emotions, but don’t dwell in them because that’s being dramatic, is what we’ve been taught, right?
Yes, we can feel and process our emotions WITHOUT being controlled by them.
Being in your emotions can be stressful, and make us anxious, and can be downright exhausting.
But have we really been taught how to practice the alternative?
Somewhere between these two extremes is how to properly process our emotions.
In this process it is important that you continue to breathe deeply,
First you want to acknowledge how you are feeling, and identify the particular emotions that are surfacing.
Then ask yourself why you feel this way, why this situation triggered this particular emotion.
Once you have found the root cause, acknowledge it, sit with it just for a moment and address it.
Addressing this root may be solved by forgiving yourself, or showing yourself some grace or love or all the above. Essentially, you rewrite the situation, by giving yourself what you needed yet did not receive in that situation. I also love to use the Hawiian prayer, Ho'oponopono.
Example: As a teenager, there was a misunderstanding with your mom. You tried to state your side of the story, but your mom would not hear it. She shut down the conversation and acted on only her perception and expectations of the situation. As an adult, you found yourself in a similar situation, and the same feelings of that hurt teenager arises. When you ask what is causing me to feel this way, this hurt teenager arises within you, and you can give them a chance to be heard. Then (if you use Ho’oponopono) you address your inner teenager saying ‘I’m sorry that you felt unherd, unworthy, and like you weren’t important. (Or fill in with any feeling of insecurity the child expresses to you) I am here now to protect you, guide you, and love you. Do you forgive me? The child may answer yes, or discussion may continue. (If the conversation continues you want to assure the child that they are safe and their needs are met, and they are loved) Thank you for forgiving me and being open with me. I love you.
Once you have completed this task, continue to breathe deeply, show gratitude for the healing, and release the emotion.
Depending on the situation it could take five minutes or it may need to be addressed multiple times before you find peace. At any rate, you owe it to yourself to pursue.
Our wounds are always waiting for us to address, and we are not alone in addressing them.
So let yourself cry, don’t hold back. Let it all out.
If you need to journal, do it.
If you need to write a song, do it.
If you need to make time for yourself to paint, do it.
If you need to see a counselor, do it.
If you need to confide in someone, do it. But first ask if they mind if you vent to make sure they have the availability to assist you.
If you need to go for a walk, do it.
Be patient with yourself, and extend yourself some grace.
You will find peace in the healing.