I oftentimes find myself admiring the type of person who can stoically face provocation and insult; the type of person who appears as though lip-quivering tears are the furthest thing from their mind; the type of person who faces a situation rationally and does not react purely based on emotion. Perhaps even the type of person who has complete control over whether or not they shed tears in reaction to a human experience.
I am not that type of person.
I am emotional, sometimes to a fault, with the rationalism coming in last. In the quest to love and accept myself fully, I have grown to revere my “crying nature.” In times of joy, in times of fear, in times of illness, in times of frustration, in times of deep intimacy, in times of sadness, in times of perfect clarity, in times of ecstasy, even during mushy commercials…I cry.
I have mostly come to love this about myself, I find the tears cleansing, and I see it as a sign that I’m very in touch with my innermost self, my heart and soul. I am not afraid of my emotions. But how does one honor this quality when faced with rudeness? How does one react to even a loved one’s unintentionally harsh choice of words? How does one react to a loved one’s intentionally harsh choice of words?
I experienced this just the other day. Heck, let’s face it; I experience it probably several times a week. A loved one barks out a hurtful group of words followed by a chuckle, and I feel the burning sensation behind my eyes. My reaction to this is different from that of a perfect stranger flipping me the bird after a tricky motorist maneuver. They can’t see me cry. They are not able to reap the satisfaction of watching my emotional reaction roll down my cheeks. Using this comparison, I can’t help but wonder why I let my tears make me feel so vulnerable. Why do they make me feel as though I’m giving something up to the other person? I think for one it’s because tears are oftentimes hard to recover from, especially when the person who “caused” them was joking around. It bodes a lacking sense of humor, over-sensitivity, and oftentimes leads the one shedding tears to feel embarrassed or defensive. In reality, the tears herald none of these things! I have a great sense of humor, and I’m about as sensitive as human beings come, but I find that to be as much an attribute as it is a flaw. So why the crying guilt?
There are so many reasons to cry. Whether it’s a joke that struck the wrong chord, someone genuinely being cruel, or an instant of pure bliss that just overwhelms you with emotion. Sometimes I excuse myself briefly and let the tears evaporate on their own, other times I let the person with whom I’m sharing this human experience see the tears. More often than not they’re either alarmed, surprised or concerned. It’s this reaction that causes me to want to avoid crying in the first place. This makes me wonder, why am I more involved in the other person’s reaction than my own need to release my emotions? I think we should never feel embarrassed by our crying. This is why: