As far back as I remember, I’ve cried at the drop of a hat. Give me a wedding, a graduation, a meaningful song, a Kodak commercial, a tragic, or happy for that matter, news article, a sappy Lifetime movie, the hardship of a loved one or dear friend and I’ll bawl like a baby. At any hint of my impending tears, I look around hoping and praying that no one notices me. I’ve always been embarrassed and struck with horror about the ease with which I cried, and our society reinforces that feeling. From a young age, we are told that crying is for babies–big girls don’t cry. As we get older, we learn that crying is a sign of weakness, a character defect. In fact, careers have been destroyed over the unfortunate lapse into tears.
So, there I was reading the Nov/Dec issue of Spirituality & Health, when I stumble upon the article “Moved to Tears” Finding Meaning in the Experiences That Make Us Cry,” by Mary Lauren Weimer. I read it with great interest. In it, Weimer recounts her life long struggle with her “propensity for tears.” She, too, questioned why “crying seemed as much reflex as reaction” to her.
In her profession as a social worker, she works with individuals in crisis, some of whom were stymied by the societal aversion to crying. Although she provides a safe place for her clients to cry, she wondered why she didn’t do the same for herself.
In her quest to understand her tears, she learned that paying attention to the circumstances surrounding our tears, provides us a first hand look at our inner landscape.”When we pay attention to the things that make us cry, they give us a rare glimpse into who we are at our core.”
“Sometimes, tears mean beauty. They signal recognition. They connect the body with the soul in a way that few things can. Sometimes, crying is our only contribution when we have nothing else to give. For these reasons, tears are a gift.”
Instead of viewing my tears as a curse, I can embrace them as a genuine and integral part of who I am. They express my truth, the beauty of empathy and a gift–both to myself and others. So now, when I am moved to tears about the latest national tragedy or by an inspiring story, I’ll think of them as my small way of acknowledging and offering tribute to the person or circumstance. My own, very unique gift.
- The courageous act of crying (telltaleclub.com)