Many of you have been through painful things I can’t even begin to imagine and some, I can.
Some that come to mind:
- Not being able to conceive
- Losing a child
- Losing a spouse
- Losing anyone…
- Disease or Sickness
- Losing a job
- Getting evicted
- Finding out someone wasn’t who you thought they were…
- Being deceived or manipulated by someone
And when you’re in it, it feels like the plague – like it’s never going to end. And there are tears.
- Watching your kid graduate – from Kindergarten or High School, take your pick…
- Watching your kid get married
- Feeling deeply loved or being asked “the” question
- Getting flowers
- Someone going out of their way to remember something you’re SURE they had forgotten
A Few Things About Your Tears
They are an outward expression of the purest emotion inside you.
Unless you’re putting on a really good act, eating onions, or acting in a movie scene, we believe they are real and you know they are. They are an outward manifestation of the purest reflection of the raw emotion you are feeling.
They are salty.
Which basically means, they purify. Yeah, you know what that means – let it flow!
There’s something about a good, long or short, cry that just makes us feel better most of the time – even if temporarily.
All this being true, I sat down to write this after finishing a show on TV that highlighted a reality TV star who is possibly unable to conceive. And as she began to sob on camera, it caught my attention the words she used – “I’m sorry.” Then, I had another memory of an entertainment celebrity apologizing for her tears, recently on her show, when giving a speech about her breast cancer experience.
For whatever reason, I have never noticed it before now, as well as you probably haven’t, but it hit me tonight that this is what we do – we apologize anytime we become emotional in the presence of a group or others – especially if we don’t know them well.
I thought to myself, “why is she apologizing for crying?” Then I answered how most of us would – “that’s what people do, Tamisha – they apologize for crying.”
Why do we do that? Why is it not okay to become emotional whenever we want?
The reason is that we feel we are making others uncomfortable by showing our emotion in such a raw way. But often times, it’s what people most crave in real relationships – not necessarily tears, but the vulnerability behind the tears. This is because we humans desire vulnerability in others – it makes us feel real, understood, not alone.
Brene Brown actually teaches that vulnerability is the one thing we want to see in others and the last thing we want to see in ourselves. I love her research on vulnerability.
I would like to modify that for Strong & Soulful Living today.
Vulnerability (our tears) is the one thing others do that makes us feel strong (because vulnerability takes courage and, when we see others be strong, we feel strong), and it’s the last thing we do because it makes us feel weak.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying crying at work every day to get your way or using it as weapon is smart. However, in an environment where we’re surrounded by people who care about us and perhaps, even expect us to cry, why do we say “I’m sorry?”
What I would like for us to do a little less of is apologize as often for tears that are really natural for us, and are purifying our current state of emotion. And no, men are NO exception.
I want us to begin to find the strength in our tears. Here’s how:
- When you start crying or feel the emotion rising and you feel that apology about to come up, instead I want you to express what you’re feeling to the person or group. So…it could sound like this; “I’m so happy” or “I’m feeling so hurt right now” or “I am so angry, all I can do is cry.” Learn to express the emotion without apologizing for it. You will feel more empowered to move through the emotion, and move closer to allowing the people in your presence embrace the rawest parts of you – it will be difficult at first, but you can do it.
- After you express the feeling, set aside any other agenda and let the person or people know what is going through your mind. (And don’t apologize for those thoughts, either…) People know when others are emotional, they think worst-case scenario or on a grander scale. You don’t have to explain that to people who know and love you or even a room full of folks who don’t. We are all human – we just haven’t quite gotten to the place where we’re completely okay exposing that vulnerability yet.
After this, see if you feel stronger. Let it flow. And come back and let me know…