We cry in this house.
We cry when the grandma dies in Moana, we cry when we don’t get our way, and we cry when we’re tired. It doesn’t matter if you’re a toddler or an adult–everyone in our household cries.
What happens when we cry? We comfort one another, we pass the tissues, we offer drinks of water. Do you know what we never do?
We never say, “Don’t cry.”
There is nothing wrong with having a good cry. Crying is the physiological reaction to a rush of emotion. It is a natural response.
When you tell someone not to cry, you might as well say, “Stop feeling what you’re feeling.”
Why do we feel the need to stop others from crying?
Maybe it’s because we don’t like to see them sad, but maybe it’s because we’re uncomfortable with crying. For many of us, the lesson has been that crying is a form of weakness. I do agree that people who cry are soft and sensitive, but I don’t think that’s a weakness. I think that softness and sensitivity show strength of character.
That is why, in our house, we never say “Don’t cry.” We will acknowledge your tears and we will pass the tissues. We will sit with you and let you know that we are with you.
Crying is a release. Letting tears fall is an opportunity to flood out the big feelings that can overwhelm us. When we cry, we are acknowledging those feelings instead of forcing them down where they will lay in wait.
Feelings are not meant to be ignored. They are meant to be felt — it’s in the name.
So, in this house, we cry. We also laugh and smile and yell. We make room for all of those emotions because they are real and they are meant to be felt. It is in our family culture to acknowledge our emotions and to honor their validity.
Our tears, our laughter, our shouts of anger are our expressions of who we are. These expressions need to be heard. So we listen, we comfort, and we honor. We are there to dry the tears but we will let them fall.
You will hear many things in our household, but you will never hear us say, “Don’t cry.”
Originally published on An Unexpected Family Outing
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