Strength in Tears

I have spent most of my life ashamed of my propensity to cry.  I felt that it showed some weakness in me, some deficiency in my ability to be a strong, real person.  I’m not sure where this came from.  In looking over my life, I can remember trying hard not to cry in the face of conflict or challenge, but the more I tried not to, the more I cried.  In my poor sense of self it was just one more reason not to like me.

My sense of self is changing.  I am becoming more comfortable with things that used to upset me.  I am beginning to understand that things like my tears are not a shameful thing.  I am an emotional person who takes things to heart.  I care deeply and I feel deeply.  That is ok.  That is part of what makes me who I am, and part of what makes me so good at what I do.  My compassion and empathy make it possible for me to be able to make a difference in the lives of the older people I work with.  It makes me able to hear and understand my children and husband when they are struggling.  It makes me a better friend.

I read something the other day that kind of stuck with me, and I guess it is the impetus to this post.  I wish I could find it so I could reference it here.  Basically, it said that tears show strength and the ability to release tension and keep perspective in the face of troubles.  Someone who is able to cry is comfortable with their own feelings, comfortable being authentic and open, and able to express true emotion.  Crying cleanses the soul and allows a person to move forward free of strain.  It is a tool for those who are strong to stay strong.

I like this thought.  It is ok that I cry and it does not mean that I am weak or unable to cope.  I am me, and me is different maybe from you.  Me is strong and sensitive and empathetic and caring and able to navigate life in ways that are positive and effective in serving others.  It makes me a good mom, a good wife, a good sister and daughter, a good Gerontologist, a good Christian, and a good person.  My strengths are uniquely suited to my roles and my place in this world.

Even my propensity to cry!

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The rain

I was driving the other day along a road that is lined with trees and flowers and is just beautiful!  It was a sunny day and I thought to myself that this day would be the perfect day to live over and over again.  I wished that all days could be like that one.  As I thought about it, however, I realized that even though I don’t like gray, rainy days very much, it was only because of those gray, rainy days that we had that beautiful, sunny day.  The thought hit me that if it was sunny every day, even with mild spring-like temperatures, eventually everything would get brown and begin to die.  Those rainy days provide just what the trees and flowers need to grow and be beautiful.  Life is a lot like that.  The times when things are difficult, when it storms in our lives, when the rain comes and stays for a while and makes our lives gray in the end provide the strength we need to grow.  It is the times of testing and struggle that bring success and reward.  Our life would not be as rich without the rain.  Just a thought…