So many people have almost secretly told me about the crying they do when they are going through hard times. When we reach the ends of our ropes, we lay our heads on our desks and weep. Or we get in the shower and sob until we’re done washing up, and then we get out, pull it together, and go on with our day. Elizabeth Gilbert talked about crying in the middle of the night in Eat, Pray, Love: “I mean—that terrible, ragged breed of bawling my friend Sally calls ‘double-pumpin’ it,’ when you have to inhale two desperate gasps of oxygen with every sob.”
I’m a Crier
I am a big crier. I think everyone who knows me knows this about me. I cry when I’m sad (of course). I cry when I’m angry (which I’ve been told is “confusing for people.”) I cry when I’m moved. (Like at commercials. ) And I cry when I’m happy. (“tears of joy”). What can I say? I’m an emotional girl.
Crying Releases Emotion
For me, the tears are about releasing emotion. They are just how emotion moves through me. And I’m OK with that. I’ve accepted that about myself.
Some People Don’t Get It
Some people are afraid of tears. They don’t know what to do with them. They don’t understand why I’m crying. They want to fix it, as though there is something wrong. However, I now believe a statement that I heard years ago in a support group facilitator training: “The crying is the healing, not the hurting.” The hurt has already happened. The tears are there to help with the healing.
Crying Has Health Benefits
In an article called The Health Benefits of Tears, in Psychology Today, Dr. Judith Orloff states, “Typically, after crying, our breathing and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state.” Dr. Orloff further reports on the findings of biochemist, Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis, who discovered that “emotional tears contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying.” Other studies point to the fact that “crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and ‘feel-good’ hormones.”
So for all of those people who think crying is for babies or wimps or the weak, I say, ha…take that! Studies show that tears actually help us. Sometimes I wish people would be more OK with crying, that it would just be seen as part of being human (which it is). Because in the past, I have had people judge me for it. (They should read the above-mentioned article, I guess.)
Less Acceptable Than Yelling??
Why is crying less acceptable than other forms of expressing our emotions in this culture? Raising voices or yelling seems to be more acceptable than crying, yet crying doesn’t actually hurt anyone else, whereas yelling sometimes does. That’s weird to me.
Crying After Cancer Is Healthy
If you sometimes try to hold back tears, see if you can let go of untrue ideas and mindsets about crying and tears. It’s healthy to cry, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Life after cancer sometimes requires crying…even years after your treatment is over. There are losses to grieve, frustrations and angers to express. People often think the crying should be over when treatment is over, and most of us know this is not the case. Crying is a natural part of recovery from cancer. So cry…cry…Baby! (Janis Joplin, anyone?)
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Photo Credit: ::: *TearS* :::