Updated: Dec 7, 2022
This post is quite personal. Perhaps the rain and recent events have me feeling introspective and a bit melancholy. I hope that the post is helpful to you. If so, please drop me a line to let me know how it helped you.
I've been married for 22 years. It took me a long time to cry in front of my husband. My husband is supportive. The issue was with me. I feared that my tears would be judged; that I'd make myself vulnerable and more susceptible to additional hurt. I also grew up thinking (not in isolation. there were all kinds of cues telling me that as a Black girl, I was tough, didn't feel pain or at least shouldn't complain and allow pain to stop me) that I was superhuman strong, that I could take whatever came my way and I would thrive. Well, health has a way of putting those things in check. I am NOT superhuman strong. Sometimes, the things that come my way cause deep pain and health issues. Many people have told me that I'm so strong. I am. But, that doesn't mean that I don't also hurt. I have had to learn to give myself time and room to release. I hope that you do the same.
Ok, now for the nerdy part of me. Did you know that there are three kinds of tears: reflex tears, continuous tears, and emotional tears? The first two cleanse and lubricate our eyes, respectively. Emotional tears flush stress from our systems and release "feel good hormones" endorphins and oxytocin. Emotional tears help us to avoid repressive coping which is where we repress the pain that we're experiencing. Harvard Health Blog has some great information! Sometimes, I have sought professional help to process emotional pain. Other times, I've been able to lean on my husband's shoulder, let the tears flow and talk through my pain right then and there. Whether therapy or not, emotional tears are an amazing way to release pain. I am amazed at the catharsis I often experience after a good, cleansing cry. When was the last time that you had a cleansing cry?
“Did you know that there are three kinds of tears: reflex tears, continuous tears, and emotional tears? The first two cleanse and lubricate our eyes, respectively. Emotional tears flush stress from our systems and release "feel good hormones" endorphins and oxytocin.”
a few tips
Find some alone time. Life is busy and you might say, "Tina, I don't have time for alone time!". I get it. But, even five minutes alone, with the bathroom door shut can be helpful. I try to voluntarily take small increments of alone time on a regular basis so that I'm not involuntarily forced to do so (i.e., health issues).
Reflect. Once you're alone, think about how you're feeling and why you might feel that way. For years, I didn't actually know WHAT I was feeling. I'd grown so accustomed to repressing my emotions that I had lost touch with my true emotions. I've recovered from that (thanks to lots of prayer and therapy) and now, when I find myself feeling blue, I ask myself exactly what I'm feeling: disappointment? rejection? sadness? I then unwind my thoughts and emotions to track down the precipitating event(s). Then, I ask myself why that event triggered the emotions that it did. This helps me soberly assess what I'm feeling and, when I'm ready, develop solutions.
Act. Once you've reflected, it may be time to seek therapy, address personal bad habits, or confront a relationship partner about behaviors that harm you. Alternatively, you may decide to make a note of the situation and pray for guidance on how best to proceed. Either way, it is healthy to be honest with our emotions and cry when we need to! It's also important to assess our personal role and how others may have contributed. I have to remind myself that no one can force me to feel a particular way. My emotional reaction is my choice.
Develop a friendship circle. Thank goodness for my girlfriends. My sisters. I know for a fact that these women will drive to see me at 2AM if I'm in distress. They will (and have) helped me through traumatic times. They've cried with me and helped me stop crying and look up to see the path forward. They love me for me, quirks and all.