There it is again.
You desperately struggle to keep the tears down as you fight back the emotions of frustration and overwhelm. You hate getting like this. It gently whispers that you may not be as strong as you walk around pretending to be and the worst fear is being looked down on as someone who can't handle their situations.
Pushing back the vulnerable moment, you walk away from yet another opportunity to do what can heal us all:
It's not that you don't feel anything. You just constantly battle with the risk of feeling powerless.
I know well, because I've struggled with this too.
I'll never forget the day I truly realized I had entered the real world as an adult.
It was a bright and sunny day in January but I laid on my cold floor as envy swelled inside me like a giant hater-wave. I scrolled through every social media site I owned, watching all my friends showcase their first day back to school. Just a few weeks ago, I had been on cloud nine. After accomplishing my degree, I had a camera roll filled with celebratory post-graduation nights. But with no job, no money, and no real plan as to what I was about to do next, I felt a hopeless cloud creep into my dark room.
I opened one too many Snapchats and couldn't hold it in any longer. I burst out in tears. Through my Kim K. cry I questioned, “Who was I now?" College had given me an identity and sense of accomplishment, and I didn't know what I would do without it. I was a mess.
For decades, crying has been seen as a form of weakness. Especially relevant in the black community, we often put down our own for showing any sign that we are deeply hurting and looking for a way to cope with the load we silently carry.
Crying has been a huge insecurity of mine because I never wanted to feel that I was being too sensitive. But allowing myself to embrace my tears is what has held together my growing pains. I learned to cry when I was happy, surprised, angry as hell, in complete panic and every emotion in between. I hated feeling weak for expressing myself the best way I knew how but in that moment on my floor, it all seemed necessary.
If you are struggling to release your tears or even feel guilty for being “emotional," here are three advantages in letting it all out:
Crying Makes You Feel Amazing
Have you ever heard of having a good cry? The process of crying opens up emotions that may have been locked up by shame or embarrassment. When we cry, we release endorphins, the “feel-good" hormones that act as natural pain fighters. As you feel overwhelmed in your adulting journey, a way to move past it is ironically crying your eyes out. It's something about a deep tear fest that feels good to the soul.
Crying Cleanses Your Stress
Besides healing the heart, crying also physically relieves stress in the body. Studies show that when we release tears, we also release certain physical toxins that have been stored inside us. Crying is a great way to deal with stress-induced pains that can lead to ulcers, high blood pressure and heart attacks.
Crying Eliminates Mental Blocks
When you are vulnerable enough to let out a cry, it allows new and positive energy to flow in. A clear head can create a path to rationally figuring out solutions to issues. For example, after my post-grad breakdown (many more followed), I found baby steps that I could take that eventually pointed me in the right direction to a clear head and a career I enjoyed.
Being emotional takes courage. It takes the guts to overcome the ones who said that you were fragile if you let it all hang out.
But I never felt as free as I did after my world-ending cry in my room that day. When I was finished, an unexplainable peace came over me like a comforting best friend. I didn't know how life was going to turn out but I had released my fear and anxiety of the future in the purest way.
Your path to success is already written and that's a fact. Don't be afraid to let your tears lead the way.
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