When was the last time you allowed yourself to cry? Can you remember how that felt? Can you remember a time when you needed to cry but you did not let yourself cry out? How did that feel, to hold in the cry in your system? Did it turn into a physical pain in your throat, chest, or head? Did it turn into anger, or a feeling of loneliness?
The impact of not allowing the body to release the tears and the energetic outburst that is a cry can be very heavy, and can cause blockages in your system that turn into bigger symptoms. Research on our nervous system shows that crying helps balance our emotional regulation, and has a soothing effect on our nervous system. Crying enhances your mood because of the feel good hormones that are being released with your tears, and this in turn releases stress and pain from your body.
Crying releases stress and pain
I want to emphasize that it is okay for you to embrace your emotions. A popular misconception is that crying is a weakness, and that it is embarrassing and messy to cry. You ought to understand that crying does not mean that you are weak, or that you are creating a mess by losing control. Crying is the body’s way of releasing emotion, releasing a shock to the system, and a way to process your experience.
When we grow up being told that we should not show emotion, or that we are too sensitive or unstable when we do, it teaches us to shut down and to abandon our emotions. But our emotions are meant to be expressed and when we don’t they get bottled up inside our bodies. Let out a cry. Release the bottled up energies. When you face your emotions, and give them space and nourishment, you are able to let go of them and move forward. Your emotions are a guiding system that are part of the process of navigating life and relationships. Trust that processing emotions and releasing tears is a part of your personal growth.
A cry shows what matters to you
Crying also lets you know what is important to you, what you care about, what hurts you, what behaviour is inappropriate to you, when boundaries have been crossed, when you’ve been neglected. Looking at that brings you at peace with your tears, and allows yourself to feel the pain and the reason why you are crying. There is nothing wrong with being vulnerable, and it is valuable for you to be with that vulnerability and to truthfully experience it – to authentically be with your tears.
Before you judge yourself for crying, check in with your somatic expression – what do you sense in your body as you want to cry? Instead of identifying with your pain and tears, make the connection with your embodiment and notice what you are embodying. Tend to what you sense. And notice what you care about; what matters to you.
Give your cry space in the body
How can you practice connecting to your cry somatically: Try to breathe out with the voice, opening up your throat, letting out an expressive sigh, and communicate what is stuck in your throat or chest. Let it out without judging yourself. When we show up with compassion for ourselves our body is allowed a safer space to express impulses. When you meet yourself with compassion you learn to listen to your inner voice, your emotions, and to allow them to be.
We tend to control our throat so that we don’t make sounds that could surprise others, or indicate that we have lost control of our emotions or temper. Letting out your breath and voice, is however an act of releasing tension and allowing energy to flow. Holding in our voice so as to not stand out as dramatic creates a blockage in our throat that you can feel. Express what it is that you are holding within, not by sentences, but by noise and voice.
Cultivating confidence to feel
Crying helps you process what you are experiencing, moving you through a state, releasing the stress or pain, allowing yourself to deal with what you are experiencing. With practice your connection to your inner voice strengthens and your understanding of your emotions will deepen. This opens up new possibilities to trust yourself and feel confident in your emotions and your tears.
It can be difficult to feel safe to let yourself cry in the company of others, and show so openly how you feel. It is a very vulnerable state to be in, and this is in many spaces not approved of, because it challenges the status quo of the relationship, be it at work or within a family or circle of friends. People can lack an understanding of what tears are. Don’t apologize or feel embarrassed for crying. The body needs to let the tears out.
Genuinely crying as a means to express authentic emotions and your humane vulnerability is healthy and necessary for your growth and self-healing journey. Cultivate a safe space where you can let yourself cry and release your emotions, whether in nature, in meditation, or during your free dance practice. Cultivate a practice that helps you feel and to put your tears into motion. Cultivate a connection with your body and sensations. Getting into a safe meditative state can support that release, and movement has a way of creating an outlet for whatever needs to flow and move within us. Cultivate a practice of meditative movement, breathing and opening your throat, so fully express what you feel, authentically.
I invite you to try it out and to let me know what challenges your practice, or what opened up for you in your body.