During my recent passage through some significant life transitions, I discovered what I call “the art of crying”. Unexpectedly, crying has become an instrumental tool for my own personal growth.
This might sound ridiculous because I think a large part of society considers crying to be a negative experience, something to be avoided.
Often, people feel crying is a sign of weakness, a breakdown of the apparent strong façade we maintain. We want to appear strong, not weak, so we do our best not to cry, especially in public. We tend to see crying as reliving pain and sorrow.
It is not usual to hear: “Why are you crying”, “Don’t cry, it will be all right” or “I am sorry that you are crying”.
However, there is an enormous amount of research and information on “therapeutic crying”. Crying and its effects have been studied so extensively. Studies have been done to find out why we cry, how crying starts and the effects it has on the body and the emotions.
There are times when crying is viewed as acceptable, such as, the loss of a loved one, a tragic experience, sad movies, or weddings. These are well known reactions to specific life situations, and they do provide an emotional release.
My experience with crying has been a bit different. When I choose to cry, it is proof that I am feeling. Getting in touch with true feelings is vital for growth and life transition.
I am not advocating the replay of painful situations or decisions of the past. Such activity can get in the way of personal growth. Instead, I use crying to examine my feelings since they are there for a reason.
Crying and the feelings flowing from it, is a way to open a doorway to my heart and put aside the ever present, noise of my mind. My heart can speak to me and I want to listen.
This is true for joyous feelings as well. Many times, overcome with gratitude, I have cried and feelings of pure joy flowed. It was wonderful. In fact, I think my sense of gratitude was actually heightened.
Accessing my feelings is essential for discovering beliefs I have, even those I may not be fully aware of. This presents opportunities to examine beliefs and understand why they either bring joy, or if not, allows me to discover why I would hold on to them if they are harming my growth.
Several techniques I find useful to initiate crying include:
- Enjoying heart and healing meditations
- Listening to emotional music
- Engaging in personal journal writing and contemplation
I feel fortunate to stumble on a perhaps unconventional way to help me grow. I believe the traditional, conditioned view that crying should be avoided is actually a barrier to personal growth.
I found a writer who has a similar view.
I now have no hesitation in saying, “Please pass the Kleenex”.