"Moments of Mental Health I" by Becca DeMent
Moments of Mental Health is a series created to offer small digestible excerpts about mental health and offer friendly ways of healing and thinking about the self. Short pieces of work offer a brief and easily understandable point that can be meditated on for a day and offer a piece to the thousand-piece puzzle of self-reflection.
Tears of Strength:
Tears are often viewed as weakness and sadness alone. Womxn are called hysterical, hypersensitive, and overreacting, and men are told that it makes them weak, feminine, and childish. We’re told as children to stop crying. For a long time, I was too tough to cry as well. I thought it made me unstable, but I was in denial.
The first thing humans do out of the womb is cry. It’s a sign that we’re healthy and alive. When we cry, your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol, out of the eyes. Basically, our body has developed a physical mechanism for reducing stress almost immediately. That’s why we feel so much better after we cry. Instant stress releasing a quick and easy process. Tears aren’t a lack of control over emotions, it's an expression of them and physical healing. Imagine if such a power could be controlled? It can.
Many people, including myself, have a mental block with crying. Somewhere somehow we were told by our parents that it was weakness, teased by the boys for “crying like a girl”, or made fun of in school for being a cry baby. That can leave a stone in the heart that blocks the way of harmless helpful tears. Unlocking the power of crying calls for finding this little stump and taking the first step over it. Once you do, you can start to utilize crying and harness its physical power.
Learning when and how to cry is extremely powerful. Crying is not a lack of control if you control it, but this isn’t about dominion over the self. It’s about a relationship with it. Being able to take a moment and realize, “I need to release emotion. I need to release stress”, and then being able to set into practice the process that will do it, is strength, not weakness. When overwhelmed, crying is emptying and freeing. You deserve that care and freedom. The relationship with the self can be dealt with through crying. Have compassion towards yourself for feeling very human emotions. Imagine seeing your best friend cry. You wouldn’t want them to feel embarrassed, or bad for it, in fact, you’d want to comfort them. You’d want them to process and feel better. Have those very same kind wishes towards you.