You would be surprised how many times I hear, “I’m so sorry I’m crying” from clients in my office. I hear this at least once a day! You would think the experience of sitting on your therapist’s couch with a box of Kleenex in front of you would be enough to free you from your inhibitions of crying in front of another person.
I get it, though. When we cry, we feel vulnerable.
There are so many other feelings tied to the feeling of vulnerability. They’re different for each person, but can range anywhere from feeling not safe enough to express feelings to feeling weak or feeling ashamed.
I’m going to share with you 3 reasons why it is more than OK to cry, so get your Kleenex ready!
The first reason why it’s more than OK to cry is because it’s in our biology.
Why do our bodies produce tears if not to cry? Why do we want to cry when we’re sad if releasing tears wouldn’t be a helpful way to process our sadness? My husband was in the military for nine years, and he is famous for saying, “If the Army wanted you to cry, they would have issued you tears!” Hahaha, honey! I don’t think so. My response to that was always, “It’s about time and place, dear.” Obviously, you’re not going to cry on the battlefield, but when you are home safe around the people you love and trust, please let it out!
That leads me to my second reason why it’s more than OK to cry.
It feels good to be comforted by another person. When we cry, we open ourselves up for people to encourage us, to connect with us, to create deeper relationships. It reminds me of my little guy who is only 4 years old now. When he is sad about something, whether it be not getting the last Popsicle, to not having a screen to play on, to not having his favorite pair of jeans clean, he doesn’t hesitate to cry. He crawls up in my lap and lets it out.
I know he does this in part to connect with me, his mom. He wants to be comforted, to feel loved, and to be told with words and snuggles that someone cares about what makes him sad. If you let those tears flow in therapy, you will also be met with encouragement, and I hope you leave knowing that I care about what makes you sad, as well.
This leads me to my third and final reason why it’s more than OK to cry.
It’s more than OK to cry because you will just feel so much better afterwards!
No, I know … the crying won’t take your pain or problem away, but it will give you time to process your sadness. Our brains are doing hard work as we cry.
They are processing the sadness, grief, loss, and pain we are dealing with in that moment. I know this one is really hard for “task-oriented” people. You are thinking, “It doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s useless.”
Actually, it accomplishes a lot that you just can’t see. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. Next time you feel sad or upset enough to cry, let it out, let someone comfort you, and see how you feel. If you start to feel those old feelings about crying, go back to reason one, your biology allows you to cry so just let it go!
If you find your way into my office, please know that crying is encouraged.
I will support you, hear your pain, and walk with you through whatever storm you are facing currently or from your past. There has been a lot of controversy amongst therapists about whether you should or shouldn’t hand your client a Kleenex when they’re crying. I know—therapists—we like to analyze everything!
Just know, if I hand you a Kleenex, it’s my way of saying, “Go ahead. It’s more than OK to cry.”