I have recently noticed my need to validate that it is okay for me to cry to others. Sometimes, when we are feeling too overwhelmed, we cannot contain our emotions, and sometimes the situation practically calls out for our tears. And weirdly enough, I have noticed that when I am about to cry in front of someone, I have an urgent need to reassure them by saying,” I’m about to cry and that’s okay, it’s okay if I cry”.
At times, I wonder who this reassurance is directed to. And deep down, I do know that my need to state this phrase is due to the fact that our culture is judgmental towards our display of emotions.
What I do not understand is why. Why is it so shameful to cry? Why do we associate sadness and overt expression of emotions with weakness? God created these emotions within us, so why are we ashamed of them? We definitely cannot change our emotions; we can merely manage them.
Talking about our emotions is healthy. On the other hand, repressing our feelings may result in long-term negative psychological effects.
The first step in counseling is actually expressing one’s thoughts and feelings in a safe and non-judgmental environment. The second step is accepting these emotions. There is no need to be afraid of such emotions. We usually fear that if we accept our sadness or our anger, it would consume us. However, when expressed regularly and appropriately, accepting these emotions would lead the way to processing and overcoming them.
Remember, we are human. It is normal for us to feel. It is as okay for us to cry as it is to smile.
We are humans.
Samah Salem is the school counselor at HIS; she has a BA in Psychology and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She additionally hold s office hours at her private practice.