At some point during the hundreds of hours of counseling surrounding my broken first marriage, my shrink once asked me, “When you cry … do you fight it?”
Uh? I dunno.
“I mean, do you tense your body, squinch your face and try to control it?”
Yeah, I guess I do. Is there another way?
The advice that followed surprised me: “Next time you cry, sit peacefully and let it flow over you,” she said. “Just let it happen, and allow it to soothe you. Let it cleanse you. That’s what tears are supposed to do.”
I admit that I thought–as you might be thinking right now–“What a bunch of hippie … dippie … baloney!” to quote Lord Business.
But then I tried it. And you know what? It did feel different.
One day, on a very, very bad day, I sat. I wept. I relaxed my body. I moaned and rocked myself like a lunatic. And afterward, I actually felt better. I didn’t have that all-too-familiar post-crying headache. I didn’t have any residual pent-up emotion. I released it, I wiped away my tears, and I went on with my day. Weird right? Unexpected.
We live in a world where we are not accustomed to letting things play out naturally. We get sick, so we take medication. It rains, so we pull out an umbrella. We want to cross the country in one day, so we hop on an airplane.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for medication and umbrellas and airplanes … But trauma is different. I’ve found that during the healing process, there are no short-cuts. It takes time.
As I said recently in a post for The Togetherness Project, there are no substitutes for years and tears.
We all go through hard things. We all have bad days. Next time you do, give yourself permission to grieve, to mourn, to cry a little. Don’t fight the process; go through it. You may be surprised with the results.