It’s ok to Cry
Many people apologize to me for crying, both in therapy and in life. It’s an interesting thing when you think about it – many of us feel compelled to apologize for a genuine emotional experience. It says a lot about our culture. Our society sends many the message that emotions are to be managed, not felt. Crying is something to feel shame for. We should always “have it together”. And emotions are weakness. These messages can be even more powerful for men and boys. And these messages are really untrue and unhealthy. Genuine emotional expression is brave and authentic and healthy. Crying can actually be a great clue to let us know something is very meaningful to us. So how to we learn to respond to crying differently, both in ourselves and our children?
- Identify crying as a healthy part of the human experience
- Speak to the emotion, not the behavior “I see you’re/I’m really hurting”
- Stop the blame and should talk (i.e. catch the impulse to say “stop crying, pull it together.”
- Know that all emotions are temporary and you can’t cry forever
- Check any gender biases (i.e. boys should be “tough”)
Learning how to be gentle with yourself and or your child is a process. It’s important to learn to accept healthy emotional expression. For more information, feel free to reach out.