Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness. Steve Maraboli, author
“Crying activates the body in a healthy way,” says Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UCLA and director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. “Letting down one’s guard and one’s defenses and [crying] is a very positive, healthy thing. The same thing happens when you watch a movie and it touches you and you cry… That process of opening into yourself… it’s like a lock and key.”
This must be good news for those of you who are prone to tears. Growing up in a “stoic” family environment, for me tears have always felt like a show of weakness and I avoid them if possible. However, there’s nothing as satisfying as a good cry when watching a sad or heartfelt movie alone. Or, an Olympic athletic realizing her lifelong dream.
Affirmation: Crying is a healthy thing.
Coaching questions: How do tears (your own and other’s) affect you? When do you give yourself permission to cry?
So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good. Helen Keller
A woman I spoke with who had lost her mother years ago called her sudden memories of her mother “bubble-ups.” One bubble-up for her was, “My mother had many friends, sometimes I wonder where they were after she died.” One of my bubble-ups is when the University of Nebraska football team takes the field. In that moment, I can’t help but shed a tear because I feel the presence of my beloved dad.
We are frequently blind-sighted by our bubble-ups. A memory suddenly assails us and brings tears, anger, or guilt. Be patient with yourself as the memory comes and goes. “Tis the season for bubble-ups.
Affirmation: I accept my memories as they come.
Coaching questions: What “bubble-ups” have you experienced? How have you handled them? If necessary, reframe them from annoying to precious.
Think of all the incredible things we didn’t get to hear because someone was scared we would see them cry. Jennifer Palmieri, author
In her book Dear Madam President, Jennifer Palmieri writes an open letter to future women leaders. Her advise is, don’t try to immolate men, be who you are. Jennifer writes, “Think of all the times you have heard someone say they passed on sharing something that was particularly moving because they didn’t think they could get it out without crying. That’s a shame.”
I know I’m holding back a part of myself that might be valuable to others when I don’t share my tears. Some of our most important communications are through our tears.
Affirmation: My tears are a special part of me.
Coaching questions: What have you held back because you were afraid of displaying tears? What difference might you make if you are willing to be vulnerable?