It hit me a few months ago that over the last 10 years or so, I couldn’t remember having cried once.
For some reason, and I’m trying to trace back why, I trained myself to not ever cry. I explored whether that was my environment and concluded it wasn’t since I have seen all of my close family members cry without feeling shame about it. Then I thought whether there just weren’t any opportunities, because my life was too good and that’s largely true, but there were definitely moments where it’d have been more than appropriate to cry, like breakups, the passing of family members and friends.
I tried a few experiments to observe myself in and explore this further. I realized that one of the main reasons I wasn’t crying was because I had labelled this as “weakness” in my mind somewhere. Just imagining myself crying made me feel embarrassed like few other things would. Even in front of myself, with no one around, I felt that same embarrassment in case I was to cry.
When I intentionally tried to watch some sad movies, I couldn’t cry, it was like I was forcing myself not to. I didn’t actively try and do anything, it was like a trained mechanism to hold tears back with force. The more I pondered the fact that I hadn’t been crying the more I felt like I was missing a valuable release valve for my emotions. So for the last few weeks I tried to see if I could relearn crying.
I watched several sad movies, starting with “The Pursuit of Happiness” and struggled quite a bit to cry, but I felt like something was loosening up. It felt like trying to move a huge stone door open, that just didn’t want to move at all. Slowly, over a number of weeks, I felt it was loosening up and opening.
What eventually helped me cry for the first time a week ago or so, was a really touching video that you might have seen make the rounds on Social Media, which is Taylor Swift sending gifts to her fans – awesome! Several friends recommended it with the caption “this made me cry”, which I found very encouraging. I teared up for a few seconds, but it was a truly amazing feeling.
What was particularly interesting was that throughout the whole day and the next one my eyes still felt a bit sore, like having done something they haven’t done in a while. I then watched another movie titled Le Havre and I managed to properly cry at the end scene, which is again exceptionally freeing.
All of this has been extremely humbling and I feel like it’s opened doors to insights I’d kept closed before. I’m excited to experiment with my emotions further and share my findings!
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This was probably the hardest post to write and then hit publish too: “Crying” — Leo Widrich (@LeoWid) January 5, 2015