Do these words sound familiar to you?
These are the words my father would frequently use to shut me up.
I was not allowed to cry or else I would get a thump.
Nice man my father.
Feelings were a ‘no go’ zone in my childhood.
Any display of feeling was unacceptable and considered a manipulative ploy.
How I hated my father for believing my tears were not genuine
What happened in your childhood home?
Were you allowed to cry your little heart out or were you forced to do your crying behind the dunny door?
The reason I ask is because expressed emotions are so important for a healthy psyche.
We experience both joy and pain in our lifetimes. And each needs to be expressed appropriately.
As a society we do not relish sadness. In fact we run away from it.
And yet showing and expressing our emotions is one of the healthiest things that we can do for ourselves.
If a child cries in the supermarket parents often threaten them with ‘death by chocolate’ so they will shut up quick.
Women are often called over emotional or hysterical… what? No way!
Men are considered weak and wimpy if they show any kind of emotion but that kinda turns me on.
The sensitive new age guy ticks all the boxes for me.
So let’s get serious now. What I’m trying to say is that crying is good for you.
Very often when a loved one dies, unexpressed grief can prevent the person left behind from moving forward with life. In fact they can remain stuck with their pain for years and years.
Most of us have episodes of unexplained sadness but just because we feel sad is no reason to think that there is something wrong.
Feeling sad may mean that we need to look to the reasons we are feeling sad.
Sadness may lead to a time of reflection, a time for taking stock, a time of transition and a time to be alone with our innermost thoughts.
We need to welcome sadness into our hearts just as we welcome joy, because it is through our sadness that we can learn the most about ourselves.
Are you afraid of feeling sad?
Depression is often thought to be sadness. That is why there are so many people on ante depressants. Are you confusing feeling sad with being depressed?
Depression is a much more serious illness and needs professional help.
Sadness is a natural part of life and a healthy response to loss or disappointment.
What moves you to tears? What are your experiences of expressing your emotions?
For me any programme about dogs always turns on the water works. Bondi vet pulls at my heart strings and Lassie, well I know it’s old, but that old collie gets me bawling, no worries.
Perhaps you have children of your own? What makes them cry? And what do you say to them when they are feeling sad?
Be honest now!
In my childhood I felt guilty about showing my feelings.
I thought I was bad to cry and yet now I know that it is the most natural thing in the whole world. It was my father who had the problem not I.
My tears made him feel bad. Maybe my tears triggered him to think about his mother or maybe my tears made him feel angry with himself. Who knows?
That is not to say that we should spend our whole lives crying. Quite the opposite. Our lives consist of both sadness and joy. It is important to visit both parts of ourselves.
Unexpressed sadness does lead to depression. If we cannot grieve and show our feelings with our tears it is possible for us to become weighed down with our sadness.
Are you feeling sad at the moment?
Or maybe you can think of a time when you felt sad in the past?
What questions could you ask yourself that would help you to understand your sadness better?
Questions that you may like to try could be:
- Why am I crying right now?
- What just happened to make me feel sad?
- Why are outside events making me sad?
- What is happening to me?
Asking ourselves questions similar to these and giving ourselves the space and time to connect with our sadnesses, can lead us to move forward in the journey of our own self-development.
So remember crying is not a ‘no go’ zone. You are allowed to cry. And a great reason to cry is that you feel a hell of a lot better afterwards!
I am sure you have many stories that you can tell me. And I am all ears. Please share them with me here by leaving a comment.
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Photo Anders Ljunberg