When there is something hurtful, either physical or emotional, the natural response is to cry. Obviously, tears were shed when my husband died. It was the display of a horrible event. It was the natural thing to do when the hurt was so deep.
As the days went by I was encouraged to cry. “Let it out” I was told. “It is helpful to cry”. “You will feel better if you cry”. “Crying will cleanse your soul”.
I am here to tell you that I don’t agree with any of those statements. But to be honest, I have made the same statement to many people. I really believed it to be true. I thought there was something therapeutic about shedding tears.
Now I put these statements in the same category with those other myths my wonderful mother said to me. You know, things like “If you cross your eyes they will get stuck like that forever” and “If you go outside without your coat you will catch a cold” and “If you swallow seeds they will grow in your stomach”. We grow up and figure out that these are myths. Now I believe that ‘crying is cleansing’ is yet another myth.
Don’t get me wrong. Crying has a place in our lives. Babies use crying to tell us something is wrong. They are hungry, uncomfortable, sick or distressed. It is a way to alert us that someone needs to pay attention. Older children also use crying to let us know that they are hurt or need attention. You fall off your bike, skin your knee and need to cry to alert someone that it hurts.
But crying does not make the hurt go away. It is a way to get attention and to alert people to a need. But to me, crying is not cathartic. It is not cleansing. It is not therapeutic. It gives me a headache. It makes me more sad. It deepens my despair.
I realize that I may feel this way because I see crying as a loss of control and…
let’s face it…
I am a control freak.
I said it.
I know it.
I own it.
I don’t know why or how I got this way but I do not want to let myself be out of control. Therefore, I do not like to cry.
I know all of my friends are trying to help me the best they can when I get emotional. After all, they heard the same myth from their mothers. And they want to help me. So I do appreciate them when they say I should cry it out.
I am trying hard to be rational, logic, sane and non-emotional. I try to block all of the sad thoughts. I try to put myself in control mode and think happy thoughts.
But just in case I am not successful, I will announce to you now…
My red eyes and sniffling nose is because I have bad allergies.
And I have lots of headaches these days.