Learning to Not Be Afraid to Cry

When I made my first appointment with my mental health counselor, I started our session with telling her, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

I shared stories and situations with her and as I told my stories and spoke to my counselor, she identified a common theme: I was apologizing a lot.

When I started crying mid-session, I said sorry. When I was describing how I felt in my stories, I said I felt bad for crying or sorry for expressing my boundaries to others. I felt bad for doing things that some others would not feel bad for.

When I told her that I didn’t know what was wrong with me and that I cry at the littlest of things, she simply asked me, “What’s wrong with crying?”

“It makes others uncomfortable,” I said. “And I feel like I cry too much.”

“But you are expressing your emotions. Is that not better than suppressing and holding them inside?”

Her words, although few, made a strong impression on me. We worked over a few sessions to settle my discomfort and to increase my comfort with myself. I was basing myself off of what others wanted me to be and I was not being who I truly was. I felt bad for crying because growing up, I was told crying is unlucky and that I shouldn’t do it. I felt bad for being “masculine” because I was interested in martial arts and was told that it is something only males do. I felt bad for expressing to peers that I did not feel comfortable doing certain tasks. I felt bad for doing things that I liked and things that resonated with myself. My counselor helped me realize that I shouldn’t feel bad for being myself.

I was still concerned, however, that my crying was more frequent that my other peers. I cried during Finding Nemo and other movies. I cry when I am frustrated, and I cry when I am angry. My counselor helped me accept that this is my way of expressing myself and a part of who I am. Though I could work on refraining from crying in certain situations, I should feel safe expressing myself when I can.

Crying was something that made me feel shame and embarrassment in the past but it is something that I am comfortable doing now because it is a part of who I am. I am lucky to have found a partner and friends that understand how I express myself and do not shame me for it. It is still something that I am still working on within my family as there is a big stigma against expressing emotion and being honest with how we’re feeling, but I am in a much better place since my teen years.

Now I realize that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. The people around me just made me think there was.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s