So guys… I’m going to broach a topic that we’re all pretty goosey about… emotions and crying. I’m going to get real transparent too. You see, a few weekends ago I had to announce that we were leaving… and I wept. Yeah… not just a few tears or a sniffle or two… I wept. I couldn’t help it, control it, or even prevent it from happening. The only thing I could do was take a walk and try to compose myself… which was only partially successful. But… it made me think.
You see, over my life, I’ve been known to stuff emotions. I know none of you probably ever have done that! 😉 Most of us have been trained…
…Keep a stiff upper lip, don’t let them see you cry, don’t be a crybaby, you have to be the strong one, strong men don’t cry, cry privately if you have to cry, if anyone sees you cry they’ll think you’re weak, you’ll lose respect if you lose it as a leader… on and on.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized stuffing it has taken a toll on me and those around me. The longer I kept everything stuffed, the squirrelier I got. I got more reactive, sometimes less sensitive, anger flared easier, the more focused and driven I got… all to my own detriment and, to my chagrin, damaged relationships. Sometimes I can’t stuff it anymore and it all comes out in a… please don’t judge me… a private cry fest. And then to add to my consternation… it makes me feel better!
Guys… deal with and show your emotions… shed some tears… it’s okay in the right setting. If you need something science to justify it, an article in Medical Daily, by Lizette Borreli, says there are six health benefits to shedding a few tears:
- Releases toxins
- Kills bacteria
- Improves vision
- Improves mood
- Relieves stress
- Boosts communication
But you may say… that’s written by a woman. They always cry. How about this… in a blog post about how tough it is for men to cry, Derek Whitney said:
“Until recently, many cultures believed that tears were a sign of manliness. World history and literature are filled with male leaders who cried publicly. Tears meant that a man lived by a code of values and cared enough to show emotion when things went wrong. Medieval warriors and Japanese samurai cried during times of epic tragedy. In Western culture, a man’s capacity to cry indicated his honesty and integrity. Abraham Lincoln used strategic tears during his speeches, and modern presidents have followed suit. Despite all this, until recently, men shedding tears have been viewed as less than masculine.”
I also liked his point in the article that there are definitely times that shedding tears isn’t the best… times that it’s better to be the calm, collected, strong guy. So guys… here’s some advice… deal with your emotions when they happen if the situation is right. If you feel like you need to shed some tears, do it. I’ve come to realize that many people see it as a sign of strength… being willing to be vulnerable and genuine while still being strong. If you want even more encouragement, check out what many claim to be the shortest passage in the Bible about Jesus… God himself:
Jesus wept. John 11:35
Jesus Christ, our Savior, Creator, Redeemer, Word made flesh, Light of the world… wept… even when he knew the outcome.
Is there something going on in your life or from your past that you haven’t dealt with and it would help to shed a few tears?
You have permission… Jesus himself wept!