being vulnerable

I could tell something wasn’t right when she walked in. And within five minutes of our session starting, she was in tears.

I said, “Do you want to sit down?”
“No,” she said, “I need a good workout. I just really want to work out.”

I get it.  No one wants to admit that they are struggling.  But problems are an inevitable part of life.  Why is it that we think that pushing through, working harder, and suppressing our emotions will make stress go away? 

It seems to be common thought that if you cry, you are weak.  And that makes showing emotion and being vulnerable difficult. 

So you try to keep up appearances.  Fake smile.  Shove those emotions and stress down.  And then, like an alligator who has been lingering just under the surface waiting to strike, those emotions surface in an explosion of tears.

Then you get mad at yourself.  You tell yourself things like, “I can’t believe you let your emotions show” and “you should be stronger.”

But here’s the thing. Those emotions need to come out.  Your body is asking for a release…for help.

We’ve all been in these situations when you cry at inappropriate times.  Maybe in a coffee shop.  Maybe in the warmup of your workout.  And then you’re just plain embarrassed. 

The solution is to allow yourself to cry more often.  Seriously.  One big breakdown a year is not enough to cope with all the stresses we face each and every day.

Crying does not equal weakness.  This belief ends up holding you back.  Refusing to allow yourself to cry means you give your power and control away.  Life starts running you instead of you running your own life.  The more you hold in, the more distracting those emotions become.

Processing Your Emotions

Start listening to your body.  You’ll feel a good cry coming on.  The next time you feel your emotions building up, let them out.

Give yourself time and space to let it all out.  Write in your journal, paint, listen to music, or talk to a close friend or coach.  The point is to provoke the emotions.  Allow your tears to wash away the pain. 

Crying doesn’t remedy the problem, but it fortifies your mind.  After a good cry, you get your focus back.  So you can turn your attention to what needs to be done.

We’re a society failing at stress management.  The common remedies are to get better sleep, exercise, and establish boundaries.  But what about crying?  It’s so healthy.  It’s a detox.  It’s the best therapy.