Good evening ladies and gentleman
What is shame? What is that thought in the back of your head…the feeling that has you running your hand through you hair, wandering what the hell you did that for. What is it to hate what you feel, to hate as if you lost a grip on yourself, brokedown and cried yourself to sleep? What is to feel guilty simply about feeling?
Conversation with a friend, something she said in passing about how when she tries to explain how she feels she cries. Purely in passing, not meaning anything more or less than that. The way she spoke was as if crying was almost a sign you are losing control, that you can’t get your words out so will express yourself this way instead. The emphasis on the “emotional control” we are trying so hard to maintain as you firefight the shadows of your insecurities in secret, away from prying eyes.
Why has crying developed this stigma? Social situations and a basic understanding of social behaviours tells us crying is strictly related to the extremities of emotion, usually in a powerfully negative sense. You must be crying about something bad that happened, something has made you feel sad, bad, lonely or lost and crying is nothing more than an unfortunate result of feeling this pang of negativity lodged just behind your heart.
Crying is seen as a problem, or perhaps more the result of a problem. The natural reaction to seeing a person crying is one of two avenues- to avoid them, or console them.
This is the issue i have and where in my opinion this “shame” issue comes in. More on a individual level and to my understanding, we as a nation hate to cry, for it shows we are “weak” and incapable of dealing with the problems, however big or small life is throwing at us. It makes you feel like a problem, or feel like you can’t handle your problems.
This attitude to emotional overload makes for the belief you need help and someone who takes that problem away, even temporarily.
Crying isn’t shameful, I don’t think many people understand the true nature of crying, for that person is not looking for help to solve their problem, not even temporarily. In that moment, that person isn’t doing anything, they are lost at sea, doing all they can to keep their head above water and to avoid the salty depths of whatever emotion is trying to drag them under.
People don’t cry because of anybody, as much as it’s a difficult idea to imagine. We cry as humans to help handle our problems. That gas tap in the top of your head, all that pressure, pain, confusion, sadness and frustration is making it impossible to think clearly, this pent up feeling, that sensation that has you running your hands through your hair. It’s you, working to power through whatever is trying to beat you, to defeat you, leave you down for the count.
Crying is a valve, to release the pressure. When you find that strength to bring yourself back, to wipe your eyes and keep it moving, think of how clear headed you feel, how a wave of clarity has passed through your once clustered mind- leaving you so much more ready to take it down and level up.
Moreover than that, if someone trusts and believes in your friendship to the point where they’re OK crying around you, understand you are in a particularly privileged position. The reason they’re crying isn’t relevant at this second, you’ll get there. As of now, as their friend, your job is simple- to be there for them in that moment. Life is made up of moments and right now there is a chance you can do something powerfully wonderful for someone you care about. But what to do?
Go up to them, look them in the eyes and embrace them. Hug them- hold them tight. Squeeze that person and feel them squeeze you back. Numerous studies have suggested a massive dose of the pleasure hormone oxytocin is produced when hugged m=by someone you care about. Think of the emotional pressure cooker that person feels like and how that moment of safety, moment of comfort could help stem the flames, force back the shadows trying to swallow them whole.
We have fallen into this trap today that problem solving is the key to development. “if i do this- this will happen…” and so on. The world and the relationships we build are not based on a logic equation, they cannot be explained. It requires us to be present in the moment, ready to be there for someone and for as long as it takes, until the tears stop rolling down their cheeks and they emerge through the other side.
You! With the puffy cheeks and bleary eyes. You with the mark on your shoulder from where their tears dried on your shirt. It is not and will never be a display of weakness, never weakness. The weakness comes from not crying at all, for the only emotion you should never show is no emotion at all.
Wear it as a badge of honour. And be so dam proud.
Own it, and rise above.
Yours, with love as always.