Yesterday I had one of those days. I just cried. Often. By myself. And in company with others. There is nothing wrong about it.
There is nothing wrong about it. I have to repeat it to myself as I notice the remnants of indoctrinated beliefs like ‘there is no need to cry’ which I repeatedly used to hear when growing up. Living within a society that terms showing vulnerability as a weakness I came a long way in growing my acceptance towards my own tender emotions and even more when they are showing in public. I’m also grateful to have become acquainted with the notion that ‘there is nothing to fix’ when someone is crying, not even myself.
Still, with my daughter it tugs on my heart strings if she cries and I would do almost anything to help her. I had to learn that ‘helping her’ does not necessarily have to mean to get her to stop crying. Research has shown that crying is a healthy form of emotional release which babies from a young age do for example to release their birth trauma. Now that my little one is almost 15 months old, I am better equipped at being able to allow her crying and not go crazy just listening to her sobbing.
For myself I still often avoid crying, especially in public when I’m not feeling totally safe or when I’m not feeling like sharing my vulnerability. There are many ways to avoid it: managing state by changing the subject, avoiding giving honest answers that might be a trigger or redirect attention. I’m sure you’ve got your own strategies.
The paradox about the whole fear of being seen as weak when showing vulnerability is that once I actually allow myself ‘to be seen’, in most cases the confronted person reacts by opening up and allowing more of themselves to be seen: mutual disclosure, more depth of meeting and increased intimacy.
So why the avoidance? Again: I strongly believe that there is nothing wrong with crying. But in reality it’s not always the time that I am open enough to let the tenderness and vulnerability show through a crack in the shards of my heart.