Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Crying Shame

I met someone the other day who last saw me when I was a little girl.

"Oh, I remember you," he said.  "You were always crying."

"I still am."  I replied.

I obviously showed a talent for it from an early age because I cry for a living now!

Don't get me wrong, I don't go round howling and sobbing, in fact I'd say most of the time I'm pretty chirpy, but these days I'm as comfortable with feeling tears of hurt as I am experiencing tears of laughter.  I've overcome the shame I used to feel as a child and the confusion and frustration I experienced being told to stop crying or that my feelings were wrong.  I've learnt to honour feelings of hurt, rejection and heartbreak and no longer feel shame or judge myself as weak or stupid if I feel vulnerable - I just see crying as point on my emotional spectrum.

With the right approach crying can help gather intelligence about a situation, it can feed back information about your circumstances and help you make better sense of your world.  Emotional intelligence isn't about controlling, naming or talking about emotions, it is the intelligence we gather from FEELING our emotions.

People often don't allow themselves to cry because being vulnerable brings up feelings of shame.  Many of us have been punished, teased or humiliated as children and make a solemn vow never to be be that vulnerable again.  As a result we either employ something like the Great British Stiff Upper Lip or we cry alone behind a locked door - and hate ourselves for it.

Crying, like love, is better when there's someone to share it with.  

Crying is an art and, like any new skill, can feel awkward at first.  The results can be a bit messy until you get the hang of it.  Now that I'm so good at crying I teach people how to do it.  Its actually very easy and can lead to something rather magical.  One of my clients calls it 'crying club', I think it is a source of creativity and like any creative art it needs practice and can be fun to do in a community of like minded people.  It also gives you membership to a laughter, creativity and friendship club.

This place inside, the crying place, can be a source of inspiration.  Poets, musicians and artists have used it to fuel their creativity.  Some don't want to heal their dark side for fear of losing their muse, but they have misunderstood the nature of their pain.

When we're out of practice and have a lot of 'cry' in us, we cry and all the other hurts try to escape at the same time, making the whole thing a little alarming.  However, with time and understanding you can get so good at it that there are few tears and little drama, just profound heartfelt emotion.

Being comfortable with your own vulnerability builds empathy and helps strengthen relationships.  Accepting your own emotions builds stronger bonds with others and understanding your feelings gives you the confidence to communicate better.

We don't realise that the strategies we use to hide our tears are so effective they block off the good feelings too; when we shut off our tears we deny our tears of laughter.

And that's a crying shame.

Family@Heart  starts September 2014.  Feeling your feelings and do it anyway!


No comments: