Perhaps we don't cry enough, being taught that it is a sign of weakness. But we also cry at happy events when our emotions are triggered to new heights. Some of us cry when we laugh long and hard. I know I do and I don't know where it's coming from.
According to an article in Psychology Today crying can be extremely healing with one caveat: If we self-criticize while crying our eyes out, it does no good at all. That's why we all know some people who cry and cry and cry and never get any better. They are telling themselves negative messages like:
"I'm a loser and that's why I didn't get the job."
"My boyfriend left me because I'm fat and stupid."
"I don't deserve to have any friends."
"I'm just too sensitive."
Instead, the article reminds us, "speak only kind words to yourself" when you're crying such as
“I’m sorry” and “I’m with you” and “I love you." We don't say these things to make us stop crying we say them to be compassionate to ourselves.
What a concept! Be compassionate to ourselves.
So many of us are empathetic with others, we forget to do the same when we need it. We berate and negate our feelings and stop crying, especially in public.
The scientific community is studying our tears. In a research project completed by Lauren Blysma, a PhD student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, she and her colleagues describe what we should and shouldn't do around someone who is in crying mode.
- Be aware that if you do nothing, you can make the crier feel worse.
- Try to do something supportive. What that is depends on the situation and how well you know the person, For example, hugging someone you aren't very close with might not be appropriate, while simply listening in an empathetic way would be suitable.
- Don't assume you know how to comfort them. 'The less intimate the relationship, the more it is appropriate to begin by asking how you can help and be supportive.
- Know that criers who tear up in a very large group generally feel more uncomfortable than those who cry in front of one or two people they're familiar with. But even in a large group, the criers welcome support from those they didn't know well.
I've participated in drum circles and find them so empowering and healing. How about we form a circle of tears and just let it all out! We can drum at the same time if we want but it's a different kind of "sweat lodge," don't you think? We expel the bad through good old fashioned crying and it's not as hard to build and bear like a traditional and viable Native American sweat lodge.
Who's with me?