Since I was a young child, I have always cringed when I hear someone being called a “cry baby”. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves, and others, to always be strong? Why can't we cry, or show emotion in a healthy way, without fear of judgement?
When I was a young adult, and a young wife and mother, someone close to me made a complaint that I cried too much and too often. This hurt me of course, and gave my already sensitive self-esteem, something else to worry about.
I mentioned this to a good friend and neighbor of mine. She was a young wife herself, and a lovely Christian. She didn't offer me advice on how to change my flaw. She offered me a story instead.
She told me of how her mother-in-law had been suffering from bad headaches and fatigue. Her mother-in-law had always been an active, healthy lady. After much influence from her family, she agreed to see her family doctor for a checkup.
Expecting to hear that she had something physically wrong, she was surprised when the doc gave her a clean bill of health. So why the headaches and fatigue she asked?
My friend's mom-in-law was asked this question by her doctor; “When was the last time you cried?"
What kind of question was that she thought? She quickly answered with a convincing explanation of how she was a strong, Christian, grown woman who could handle anything life has to give her. She was not an emotional person. The doctor replied, "That is exactly your problem".
He went on to explain how taking on everything as this strong, unwavering individual, and never allowing herself to feel or release any of the emotions she had, was manifesting itself into headaches and fatigue. The doc's prescription was simple. "Take some time all to yourself, and "allow" yourself to cry!" My friend's mom-in-law took her wise doctor's advice and pretty soon was relieved of her headaches and fatigue. She went on to share her story to other women.
My sweet neighbor also went on to tell me about the many times it is written in the Bible that Jesus himself cried. The simplest verse to remember, and also the shortest verse in the King James Version of the Bible, is "Jesus wept". Found in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, verse 35. Those two words have stuck with me to this day. As did my friend's story. They set me free from at least one of my many issues that may try to lower my self-esteem from time to time.
I was reminded of my friend's wise words today, when for the first time in a very long time, I cried. A true, cleansing of the soul, cry. I realized, after the fact, that it had been months and months since I had really allowed myself to cry. Without trying to hold back the tears. Without telling myself I needed to be strong and fight what I was feeling. And I felt better! I still have the same problems that need to be worked out. But I felt better having released that little bucket of tears.
I plan to continue this way of thinking, along with a brisk daily walk in the park, as I go forward on my journey of taking better care of myself. If you don't take care of you, who will?