One thing about me is I’m gon’ laugh. Hard too. Sometimes inappropriately, but nothing is better than a laugh that makes your stomach and cheeks hurt. However, laughing is only one form of releasing emotions. Let’s talk about the emotion that most of us shy away from and have been encouraged to only do in private. Crying.
Remove all the negative narratives you've been taught about crying. For many of us, in our childhood, we were conditioned to believe that crying as an emotional release was a pointless act and a form of weakness.
I am at the age now, where I recognize that re-parenting myself to unlearn the stigmas around "undesirable" behaviors (i.e. crying) is a key component to my healing. “Since our subconscious minds are developed in childhood, that is where we learn how to process our emotions. We tend to be protective and defensive around our childhood experience, but the truth is we have a unique opportunity to heal and consciously choose different behavior as adults...re-parenting is the act of giving yourself what you did not receive as a child”. (via the Holistic Psychologist)
Leaning into our vulnerability is what makes us human and the more we normalize crying the more we learn to fully embrace our humanity. Moreover, research shows that crying is also one of the best mechanisms to self soothe, release toxins and release stress. Crying also releases good emotions aka Oxycontin and Endorphins to help enhance people’s moods and lift people’s spirits
On a more personal note, last week I cried while giving a presentation at work. I was presenting on the work I’ve been doing at my job to dismantle anti-black and systemic racism. During my presentation, I began to cry as I spoke to my majority White staff about how Black people are watching our people die at the hands of police (RIP Dijon Kizzee, and Daniel Prude) as we simultaneously mourn the loss of our heroes such as, Chadwick Bozeman and Coach Thompson. And still having to show up at work and in all-white spaces. It’s triggering.
Now, crying at work was completely embarrassing and out of the norm for me. Because two things I don’t do is, cry at work and cry in front of White people. But I was quickly reminded by a friend that vulnerability is important and allows others to see my humanity. For me, crying is a form of healing that allows me to release the emotions I cannot put into words. When I feel the urge to cry, I lean into it and take it as my spirit releasing and replenishing itself of what no longer serves it.
As I grow more comfortable with crying, I want to encourage my free spirits to embrace their emotions and humanity. The journey to liberation means allowing yourself to release and regulate your emotions. It won’t be easy or comfortable but you deserve to heal as you pursue wholeness. Let’s normalize crying.