I cry a lot. I bet I cry every day. Sometimes several times a day. But probably not for the reasons you are thinking.
There are more than just tears of grief.
I felt my eyes well up as I caught a glimpse of the waxing gibbous moon in the eastern horizon through the tongues of flame reaching up out of my backyard firepit last night. My song of the day moved me this morning. I could easily go on and on.
I would not have openly admitted this until recently. What changed my mind was a conversation that revealed this admission. “I wish I could cry like that. I haven’t cried in years.”
And it wasn’t a guy admitting this.
I’ve never bought the idea that men don’t cry. However, I was convinced to purchase the image that never showed them. But I returned it to get my money back. I didn’t need that depiction any longer.
Through conversations with my grief counselor, she is convincing me that the ease in which I can cry and hold emotion is actually a gift, not a curse or a quirk. And all gifts are meant to be given away.
I believe the response of tears is one of the most amazing features in the physical body. It’s a release function. It allows something to be expelled from the body that should not stay pent up. To shut down this function is to inhibit the body from working properly. The absence of tears should signal concern.
There is a big difference in propensity and ability. Some people aren’t “cryers” like me. Strike that up to personality type, conditioning, permission, etc. But to lose the ability to shed tears is another story.
Tears can make people feel awkward, but even this reaction might be the appropriate response. If my eyes might leak as I listen to you tell your story, and it makes you uncomfortable, what does that say about us?
This subject is so relevant, Dr Brene Brown makes her living teaching about it. She has one of the most viewed TED talks in history. She describes the inability to be vulnerable is one of our culture’s most devastating losses. Her work is incredibly important in helping me restore my truest heart. Tears are an indication of vulnerability. They send a signal to others that it’s OK to feel this way and that you aren’t alone.