When is the last time you had an indulgent, messy cry? For me, tears have become a part of my daily life. Work life, that is. I sometimes say that I make people cry for a living. Because during sessions, clients receive a safe space to release built up emotion through tears, and more often than not, they do. I know that healing is happening when I see their eyes begin to water.
You can imagine it’s nearly impossible to fully process every emotion within 30 to 120 seconds. According to leaders in the industry, that is the amount of the time we have to process an emotion before it sticks in our system, eventually manifesting as a physical symptom. Tears can be a helpful treatment to release anything lingering in our system.
Have you noticed how the energy on someone’s face completely shifts after they’ve had a good cry? There is something so powerful and releasing in a juicy cry. It reduces stress. It releases toxins. It almost always shifts your energy to feeling more positive afterwards (studies have confirmed this). My acupuncturist once told me it’s our soul’s way of releasing the old for something new to enter.
As I was going through my own transition recently, I was getting “cry envious” of my clients. For a solid month I wanted to cry. I waited to cry. I wondered when it would happen. I craved the release that comes along with a good cry. But, no tears. Until last week.
My cry came when I least expected it….on a webex call with my CPA. As she went through what felt like a brutal, torturous, excruciating amount of detail, my buzz from the meditation garden a couple hours before disappeared. My voice went mute inside. My mind went blank. I couldn’t follow her after a certain point. And then they came. Tears.
It didn’t start out as an ugly cry. It started with soft tears gently rolling down my face. Then, as she opened yet another spreadsheet to look at the same numbers a bagillionth way, it turned into an ugly cry. My mouth curled down, the space between my eyebrows furrowed, my eyes scrunched, and I muted my phone as I wiped tears off of my face. The details were getting the best of me. (Now I know some of you might be thinking she was just trying to help me by being so detailed, but as someone with low detail-orientation, it felt like a direct attack on my sanity.)
Of course it was more than the spreadsheet that was causing my reaction. It was the unwelcome realization that I would have many more calls like this in my future as a small business owner. Perhaps some other unprocessed emotions surfaced as well. 😉
While my ego was in disbelief that something relatively benign was getting the best of me, I felt grateful to finally cry. Afterwards, I felt lighter. And the circumstances in which it happened continue to amuse me.
Fortunately, the only other being in the room at the time was Miles (my Frenchie). As my CPEO (Chief Positive Energy Officer), he was in no way phased by my display of vulnerability. He intuitively understood it was healthy for me. (Either that or he was exhausted from playing with his two Doberman Pincher cousins for a day. But, I like to think it was the former.)
Although it didn’t for Miles, tears can trigger strong and varied responses in others. I saw a beautiful example of this a few weeks ago. During a corporate training, a brave soul shared a very personalized account of how his experiences in life made him the leader he is today. After only a few words his eyes welled up with tears. He needed several minute-long pauses before he was composed enough to proceed with his words.
The room was silent. Seeing a 6-foot four-inch man express his vulnerability in such a candid manner in the corporate environment isn’t something you see everyday.
The reaction in the room was mixed, like it is in life. Some people were able to fully be present with his vulnerability, even feel inspired by it. They cheered him on because they knew what courage it took. Some people were uncomfortable. It struck a chord inside of them that they didn’t want to deal with. Some people appeared flat out shaken up by it. Others seemed to be contemplating how they’d respond to it. And of course, some were judging. But, I can guarantee that each person who witnessed it was changed by it in some way.
So, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider giving yourself permission to release your emotions through a good old-fashioned cry. If possible, choose circumstances that feel comfortable to you. Is it with someone? By yourself? At home? Outside? If it’s unplanned and spontaneous, give yourself a pat on the back for having the courage to be so genuine. Our ability to be that vulnerable can take a tremendous amount of strength.