My parents tell me that when I was little, I would start to cry whenever there was a hole in my sock, somehow expecting it to hurt in the same way as when I fell and skinned my knee. Come to think of it, I also cried when they washed my hair. I guess I didn’t like getting water in my eyes. To this day, I detest having my head under water. You probably don’t need to be Siegmund Freud to find a connection. However, I’m proud to say that it takes more than that to make me cry today. Well, sort of. Because I probably cry way more these days than I did as a child, only for very different reasons.
And that’s a good thing. Crying, like laughter, is healing for your soul. A good cry releases toxins from your body and reduces stress and anxiety. It’s healthy to cry whenever you feel like it, and most people around me know that it’s something I’m not afraid to do. Living with loss, anything and everything can make you cry. A pregnant friend of mine told me the other day how she’s so hormonal that she burst into tears upon opening the fridge and realizing she was all out of her favorite snack. We laughed about it, and she admitted to having felt silly afterwards, but I totally relate. Without even being pregnant, I still cry very easily.
Last week I even managed to cry at the Museum of Natural History – and I swear it wasn’t out of sheer frustration because of the unruly kindergarteners roaming around. Okay maybe. A little. But mostly, I cried because I just couldn’t help it – just like it usually happens. I don’t need a trigger – my tears flow freely on their own.
The strange thing is that I’ve grown to appreciate my tears as a healthy manifestation of my feelings. Through crying, I connect with myself and become more mindful of my emotions. It’s usually on my best days that I cry the most. On my darker days, I tend to reject all feelings and become apathetic. If you you’ve never experienced this, trust me, it’s way scarier than crying.
So, if you’re bottling up some frustration, anger, sadness, or pain, don’t be afraid to let it out. You’ll feel so much better afterwards. I always choose to think of my tears as a way of washing away the sadness – at least for a little while. Just let it go and let it be. It’s okay not to be okay.
Need some help to let it out? Listening to a medley of Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”, Ed Sheeran’s “Supermarket flowers”, Lukas Graham’s “You’re not there” or “Empty chairs and empty tables” from Les Mis should get you started.