I Cry Sometimes. Why Shedding A Tear Sheds Light.
Is crying healthy?
When I was a little girl, my father would yell at me to eat my peas (barf emoji with medical mask). At this, I would cry, which would prompt him to become even more exasperated with his picky eater.
Years later in my personal life, I continued to be criticized for crying, and once was even accused of using tears as a manipulation strategy in a relationship. Had he known me like I knew myself, he would have understood that crying is a symptom of my working through a crisis. When I experienced frustration, hurt, anger, or disappointment at an amplified magnitude, I spoke from my heart and often tears accompanied.
Professionally, when I was in an interview, I was asked “the question.” You know the one, where the interviewer wants to know one of your weaknesses. I scrapped a seemingly entry-level response “Oh I just take on too much work” (eye roll emoji) and instead went with “I am incredibly sensitive.” I have cried at work before—not recently—but when I did it was because I was doing my best and it was met with disapproval instead of what I was expecting: appreciation or gratitude. Despite the frustration I felt at the time, looking back now I consider this a milestone. Within what seemed like a disaster, I uncovered what my boss was looking for, even if she didn’t communicate it to me at the onset of the project.
Gold or Platinum?
We have heard of The Golden Rule but what about The Platinum Rule? Doing unto others as others would do unto you is out, and The Platinum Rule is the new black: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Had my boss and I understood our distinct personality types (her as the thinker, me as the implementer), we could have better communicated to each other at the onset of the project to set clear expectations. After the twists and turns, and the clearing of my mascara smeared eyes, I emerged from the fog feeling clear: when it comes to marketing, I am a natural, exceptional project leader. Implementing a strategy across multiple communication channels? #wheelhouse. Even though learning this was rocky, it has helped shaped my career decisions ever since.
Scientist Dr. William Frey believes that crying could be a safety mechanism of sorts because it rids the body of stress-related toxin. Great! Crying is healthy! No need to add a good cry to your to-do list, but no need to beat yourself up about letting the tears flow, either. Sometimes I even preface tough convos by saying, “I want to share something important with you and I will probably cry” so that my companion has a heads up. (Okay, let’s get serious, other times I just call my baby sister already a crying mess) Anyway, when I do share what is on my mind, I think that when the person on the other line or next to me listens and or offers empathic responses, it is helpful to my sorting-through-the-mess process. btw, Brené Brown, Ph D talks about this in her latest book, Rising Strong.
Some of my brightest milestone moments have followed after muddy, foggy, chaos.