I don't like crying. It makes me feel crazy and needy and overly emotional. It's awkward and ugly, and I'd prefer that nobody, even myself, ever sees that side of me. So I avoid doing it at all costs. One of these costs is my sanity. I start to feel like an automaton.
I let things build and build and build as long as physically possible to put off the inevitable emotional breakdown.
And the other night, I burst. It was over something small -- so small that I honestly don’t even remember what it was. But the burst itself was by no means small. It was not a cute little tear that managed to slip down my cheek.
There was nothing cute about this cry. It was the kind of heaving, snot-everywhere, physically-convulsing sort of cry.
It's the kind that makes you wonder if you are a grown adult or a big, blubbering baby.
It leaves you with no choice but to laugh at how crazy you're being, so you end up doing that even crazier thing where you're simultaneously laughing and crying like a deranged maniac.
So, yeah, the process wasn’t pretty. But you know what happened after? I felt really, really, really, REALLY good.
I felt like everything I had been bottling up suddenly burst out of me, and I remembered that I was a person again. I feel things! I care! I can be vulnerable!!!! BOOYAH!
I finally let myself be so sad that I got to be really happy again. And then I started thinking about how great would it be if I could let myself cry every time I feel like it. I wondered how much happier I would be all the time.
So, the next time I want to hold back, I'll look back at these reasons to TREAT MYSELF to a good, old-fashioned cry.
Crying is a healthy outlet for your sadness.
If you bottle up your feelings long enough, they are going to come out one way or another -- usually in a massive freakout. This will not be pretty. Imagine yourself viciously throwing plates across a room in a drunken rage.
When you want to cry, cry. Let those emotions pour out, and be done with it.
Crying puts you back in touch with yourself.
You need to be in tune with yourself to recognize what you're feeling. And when you do that, you'll shed necessary tears.
Lots of us, myself included, like to keep ourselves constantly busy -- so much so that we forget to get in touch with our emotions. We know what we're doing, but do we know what we're feeling?
Taking a minute (or an hour, or a day) to cry lets you get in sync with yourself again. It reminds you that you are not, in fact, a robot moving through life on autopilot.
Crying sparks creativity.
Vincent van Gogh. Ernest Hemingway. Anne Sexton. Some of the most creative people also happened to be the most emotional.
Embracing your feelings in a good cry can often lead to a creative spark. I know I've felt it.
Crying is a sign of how much you care.
Crying tends to follow a triggering moment -- and those moments are frequently public. (This is especially true once you've taught yourself how to be vulnerable, as I wrote above).
As embarrassing as it might be to cry in front of someone else, it's often the most effective way of showing how much you care. Also, you might be surprised at what triggered the tears, and you'll learn something new and important about yourself.
Crying feels good.
Possibly more important than anything else, crying feels f*cking good. Bottling up your feelings for long enough can actually start to hurt. It takes a physical toll on you.
Crying takes that load right off of your shoulders. One good, ugly cry suddenly purges you of all of that negativity and leaves you feeling like a million bucks.
Crying forces you to face your fears about being vulnerable.
Crying is petrifying, especially as you get older and gain more social awareness. It is the ultimate tell of vulnerability, aka MY WORST NIGHTMARE. But being vulnerable, as awkward and horrifying as it can be, is often necessary.
You need to be honest with yourself about how you are feeling before you can even think about being honest with somebody else.
Crying is literally an emotional cleanse.
According to an article written by Judith Orloff, M.D., for Psychology Today, “Biochemist and 'tear expert' Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears also contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying.” Simply put, crying literally purges your body of the toxins that were making you upset in the first place.
Crying makes you feel human.
Take it from someone who has a hard time crying: Bottling up your emotions for too long starts to make you feel like a robot. You feel like you're constantly living life on default mode, without ever really feeling anything on a visceral level. A good crying sesh is the best reminder that you are a living, breathing HUMAN.