What in the world is going on with me??
It had been a long day. Even worse, it had been an insane couple of weeks. There was so much going on in my professional and personal life that frankly, I felt like I was running underwater and could no longer hold my breath. Although coming home was sweet relief from the craziness of the day, I could not sustain emotional balance. My anxiety was through the roof. I felt so deeply troubled that I lost my ability to compartmentalize certain areas of my life. What was going on with me?? Attempts to meditate was futile because the overwhelming circumstances of life kept intruding into my moments of silence. My feeling profile was so complex that I couldn’t identify exactly how I felt. All I knew was that I couldn’t keep it in anymore.
I knew what needed to be done.
I needed to cry.
It had been such a long time since I’d cried, I realized. My stoic personality and years in my profession didn’t lend many opportunities to emote with tears. “Suck it up, buttercup” is my internal mantra, even as I encourage my clients to express their emotions fully and without apology. Now, it was time to take my own advice. I needed a good cry. And, that night, after fulfilling the typical obligations of motherhood, I found space to do just that.
The Cathartic Cry, as I call it, has so many amazing benefits! Not to be mistaken for the constant tears that accompany depression and/or anxiety or the crying that coerce or manipulate others to bend to our will, a healthy crying episode can be good for you. It allows us to express deep emotions and gives us space to explore the core of those feelings. Crying can positively impact our mood, once we have effectively emoted about a specific situation or incident. And, most of all, expressing with tears take strength! Don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself.
To engage in a good cry, try these tips:
- Give yourself permission: It is hard to undo the embedded message of our childhood that stigmatized crying. Most of us still understand that crying is a sign of weakness, exposing our emotional underbelly. Thus, we work harder to avoid crying than to express our emotions appropriately. Crying is a universal expression of emotion and you should be allowed to use this expression when need be.
- Schedule a time and place: I know, I know, that may feel weird. Planning a cry may feel inauthentic to some. However, consider it a practice of emotional management. It allows you the space to deal with other areas of your life during a crisis with the understanding that you will be able to emotionally process it later.
- Identify the focus of your emotions: Although my emotions were so multi-faceted, I knew what triggered my need to cry. Crying with a focus helps us process the feelings related to that issue / incident / event more effectively. The less focus we have during a cry, the more muddled our feelings tend to become. Although it is not uncommon to try to process every uncomfortable event during a crying session, it is better to deep clean one area emotionally than to spit-shine several areas.
- Show kindness to yourself afterward: Yes, you, all-powerful Momma, had a cry. You were probably overdue for one. And you know what? That is absolutely okay. Give yourself a hug and show kindness to yourself. Allow this moment to provide you with a boost of empathy for your own family, community, and the world, at large, who could probably use a cry, too.
Check out this video and know that It’s Okay to Cry: