The gift of tears

Strength in tears

I often hear as I go about my work, rest and play when someone is trying to come to terms with a difficult personal struggle, a major life changing event or struggling to come to terms with the death of a loved one. “I was strong, I didn’t cry”, “I didn’t shed one single tear” or “I promised myself I wouldn’t do this, and here I am letting myself down”.

Have you ever heard yourself saying something similar?

Yet like most babies in the animal kingdom when we are born a human baby only has the crying response, the noise which crying brings to alert its caregivers it has a need waiting to be fulfilled. Once the baby is cuddled, changed and/or fed the noise of crying subsides and the emotional response changes into contentment, peaceful sleep or coo’s and gurgles until either the same or a different need arises the same cycle is played out until needs are fulfilled.     

We arrive into life with a very productive function and a necessary release mechanism to 'cry' when we are emotionally hurt, wounded or when even the opposite, happy, experiencing something beautiful. 

The naturality of shedding tears is a gift from nature empowering us to release anything from sorrow to awe from the heart and soul since both can be unhealthy if we ‘hold’ them in our bodies!

We can learn a lot from observing babies and small children as their needs arise and are fulfilled. 

As adults, we can think of crying like a pressure cooker frustration, hurt, feeling sorry for self, sorrow or wonder builds up inside our body and once the ‘pressure’ has reached a certain point it needs to be released to ensure our emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual well-being. Pressure can be triggered in a few seconds or over many days, weeks or months.

Release comes from letting the tears roll, once relief has been achieved the cycle begins again, change is inevitable, our emotions are transitional.  

How does our crying response become suppressed and repressed?

As we grow through childhood our natural response mechanisms are suppressed as we hear the adults around us say things like “be strong”, big boys don’t cry”, “try harder”, “don’t be weak, a girl, a sissy”, “don’t be this or don’t be that”, do it this way or just don’t do it at all.

Many children arrive to adulthood not knowing how to respond emotionally when life becomes difficult or wonderful and this can lead to dysfunction in our emotional responses to life’s conundrums.

A natural human response

Crying is part of healthy coping; therefore, it can be thought of as a strength rather than a weakness, it can be thought of as emotional intelligence if you fulfil your needs when your needs arise.

Realise through tears you, let go, cleanse your emotional world, restores you and makes you healthy.   

Next time you feel yourself repressing your emotions pause, think, allow, let them flow!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN4
Written by Susan Stubbings, CPCAB Coun.Adv Dip+Supervision Adv L6 Cert. MBACP (Accred)
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN4

Hi Sue here, I work as a counselling therapist in and around Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Experienced in working with young people, adults and families; I advocate for self-awareness, self-care, healthy self-expression and passionate about empowering people including self to become and maintain healthy emotional, mental and spiritual inner worlds.

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