Big girls don’t cry…but maybe they should.
Very few of us are taught to freely cry whenever we feel emotional.
Instead, we’re taught to stop crying, stuff it in, never let them see you cry.
That may have been necessary to get through life not so long ago, but we live in different times.
In these times we know a lot more about emotions, emotional wellbeing, and expressing ourselves in healthy ways.
It may be difficult to wrap your head around at first, but crying has actually been shown to support the release of pain.
Check out this episode for insights on why you might need to have a good cry.
Referred to in this episode:
Read the full transcript here:
This is Laura Lummer, The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go-to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.
And hello, hello, welcome to another episode of The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach Podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer, and I want to get this show started with a huge thank you to two lovely people took the time to leave a review for the podcast. Valerie Rancord from Canada, thank you so much, Valerie, it's a beautiful review, just know that I do read every single review. And they're just so meaningful. So I appreciate so much your your kind words, and I appreciate what you're going through. So I'm so happy to hear that the podcast helps you in any way. And thank you for taking the time to leave a rating and review. And also sale lit lab is the username for another review. Thank you so much. And you've been listening for almost a year now that is so cool. Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate that support. And I want to make sure to acknowledge the effort that you go through because you know what it takes effort, right? It takes effort to stop and go to either the phone or get on your computer and go to the right place and leave a rating and review. So it means the world to me. And thank you so much. And I'm sending you both tons of love and good vibes. Thank you so much. Okay, so this week's podcast is about something that I see very often, in I've seen it in a few coaching calls this past week in a very powerful way. And it tugs at my heart. And it just makes me think that this is something that needs to be talked about more. And this is allowing yourself to cry. So often I will get on a call, and someone will start to share what they're going through with me. And immediately emotions come up. And I can see when they tried to stop those emotions, or they share their story with me and then cover it up with it's okay, I'm doing okay, I'm doing okay. And then as I asked questions, emotions come up again, because there's a lot of emotion there, rightfully so. And I want to share some insights on this because I think that allowing ourselves to cry is a really important part of letting go of that first pillar of breast cancer recovery release. So first, I want to share a quote from a lovely book that was gifted to me by a person who means the world to me, it's called "The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse." And it's a lovely book of sketches and each page has just a little insight, a word of wisdom, and you can read it in 20 minutes, and I've read it and reread it and earmarked it. And I want to share this one saying from this book, again, it's called "The Boy The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse." And it says, "Tears fall for a reason. They are your strength, not your weakness." And I think that that's a very important thing to really understand.
Because one of the primary things that I see, preventing us, preventing the women I work with, preventing me something I work through all the time, from allowing ourselves to experience emotions, allowing ourselves to release emotions through tears, is this story we tell ourselves that it's weakness, it is anything but weakness because it takes so much strength to be able to experience emotions and really be in them and sit with them. Recently, I heard this analogy about suppressing emotions, and I'm going to share it with you because I thought it was so cool. And the person I was listening to said if you think about your emotions, like a ball floating in a pool, and you're in the pool and the ball is floating around and it doesn't do much damage, it might bounce right off of you, it might float around you, you might even use it to keep yourself afloat. But if you take that ball and you press it down under the water, and you try to hold there, think about all that energy it takes to hold an inflated ball under the water. Right? It takes a lot of energy. And then when you let go of that ball, it just burst to the surface, right, it flies right out of the water, there's so much power behind it, it's opening the floodgates. And so using that analogy to look at our emotions, this is the same thing that happens when we suppress emotions, we hold those emotions in, it takes so much energy to hold your emotions in. And we do it and we do it. And we do it until we cannot do it anymore. And then bam, they all come out and it's so powerful, and it's exhausting.
And so then, as we continue to progress through life, through cancer treatment, through all the really tough things, we tell ourselves, why don't want to feel that again. And that was really uncomfortable. As we hold the ball down, again, we keep pressing it down, pressing it down, pressing it down until it explodes again, and you may have heard yourself, say this, I know, I've heard myself say this, that's all I can take, right, that's the straw that broke the camel's back, and I let them have it, or I just let loose, or I couldn't hold it in anymore. This kind of mismanagement, I will say, of our emotions, it can lead to problems in relationships. And it also just leads to problems in ourselves, getting to know ourselves, getting to manage ourselves, understanding how to treat ourselves with care, and gentleness, and love. Now, when I ask a client, tell me why you resist experiencing this? Why do you resist allowing yourself to go into this emotion to allow tears to just flow? Why do you resist it? I hear anything from, you know, I don't want to be weak, which I just talked about, I want to be strong. I'm the strong one. But I also hear this statement of, I can't take it. Right, I'm spent, I can't take any more sadness. I've had people say to me, I feel like it will literally kill me. I feel like if I allow myself to cry, it will never end it will never stop. That's a whole lot of emotion to be holding in. But let's look at that thought, let's question that thought. If I allow myself to feel and to begin to cry, it will never stop. Now, that's really a thought error, right? There's no truth to that. There's probably been some very difficult times in your life. Well, if you're listening to this show, I know there has been at least one really difficult time and that was getting a cancer diagnosis. But we all have challenges in our life above and beyond, in addition to dealing with cancer. And I'm sure there's times when you have found yourself in tears. And sometimes the tears can come for a long time. And I remember when I was going through the divorce from my first marriage, how much I cried. And I remember thinking, Why am I crying so much. I'm not sad over the end of this relationship, right? I'm actually relieved to be getting out of the relationship with this person because the relationship was so toxic. And yet, I just felt so much emotion for such a long period of time. And I didn't know then, but thanks to years of coaching and working on myself, I can look back and I realize that was a release of so much emotion that had been held in for years, suppressed for years, held back for so long, that it had to be released. And that in the release of that emotion, in those tears was truly a cleansing. You know, you know, sometimes you say wow, you feel better after a good cry. And it's true. And there was just such this beautiful release, and eventually, it will end and you may look really crummy while it's going on and have puffy eyes for a long time. But it will end and in the end, if you allow it to happen. It is going to contribute to your ability to heal and move forward emotionally, to feel better. And to let go of that intense, exhausting energy of suppressing and allow yourself some freedom. Allow yourself just to feel so if we go back again to thinking about a relationship, if you hold in the things that you want to say in a relationship, then you hold them back you hold them back until one day you let loose you say everything and the person you're in a relationship with is like a deer in the headlights looking at you going what the hell is happening right now? Where All this coming from? You never told me any of this stuff, right? And that can get really ugly, really fast. And it can be difficult and painful for both you and for the person you're in the relationship with, who was just dumbfounded and blindsided by all of this emotional release. But if as you're going along a relationship, you're telling someone, you know, really bothers me when this happens, or I really prefer something to be this way, and you talk as you go through it, you see challenging things come up and you address them, then it's really pretty cool relationship. Right? You don't have the fear of being the person on the other side of that emotion, you don't have the fear of someone blowing up on you. And when you're the person feeling those emotions build, then you get to just constantly manage them, right? You look at what you're thinking, you see how it's affecting you, you see the emotions it's bringing up in you. And then you talk about it, you release the energy of that emotion. And this applies to internal relationships, as well as external relationships, so it applies to ourselves. We don't have to avoid or resist something as much, because of this fear of how horrible it's going to feel if we allow ourselves to process and release along the way.
Now, here's an interesting thing. I Googled, why we cry, why we don't cry, I looked into this information, just because I love that stuff. And an interesting thing was that most of the results that came up when I was looking into crying were how to stop yourself from crying. And I thought, isn't that fascinating? A lot of these articles said things like, you know, it can be embarrassing, or it can be uncomfortable. And I thought look at this conditioning, right? We have this conditioning since we're kids don't cry, be a big girl behave, don't be sad. And I see it reflected in our world as adults. How do I stop crying? How do I suppress emotion? But then I look and I found this article by Harvard Health Publishing and Harvard Medical School, and it's called Is Crying Good for You. I'll post a link to that article in the show notes for this episode, which you will find actually, if you're listening on Apple on iTunes, you can look at the podcast and see the links right there in the show notes on your phone. Or you can go to my website, thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/164, and find all the transcripts and show notes there. But let me give you a couple of really interesting points that I read in this article. One thing that I thought was very important for us as breast cancer survivors was that studies have linked repressive coping so the suppression of emotions, the suppression of crying, with a less resilient immune system, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and mental health conditions. So isn't that interesting? So we're telling ourselves being strong, you're holding back emotions, you know, it feels awful when you're holding in those emotions, right? You feel it somewhere in your body, we all experience it in different places. But if you stop and notice it, it does not feel good. And then here we find studies saying that it actually can create a less resilient immune system, which is something that as people coping with cancer, recovering from cancer, living with cancer, we certainly do not want. So that's very interesting. We also say that crying makes us uncomfortable, right? As I just shared with you, I saw these articles on how to stop crying because it's embarrassing, and it's uncomfortable. But here's a really neat statement in this article. And it says crying has been shown to increase attachment behavior, which means it encourages closeness, empathy, and support from friends and family. So when those tears start coming in, the first thing out of your mouth is I'm sorry, I'm sorry, and you hold back, we're actually putting another block another barrier between that person that we're having an opportunity to connect within that moment, and us between allowing empathy and support and really connecting to that person who is with you. And that's really important thing to consider. But even more fascinating was that studies showed there were three types of tears. And these tears are called reflex tears, continuous tears, and emotional tears. The reflex tears and the continuous tears are the type that either get dust, smoke, debris, something like that out of our eyes or protect our eyes for infection and keep them lubricated. And for these first two types of tears according to this article, the content is 98% water. But for the third type of tear, this is so cool, for the emotional tears. This article says that these tears flush Stress hormones and other toxins out of our system. And they potentially offer the most health benefits. Studies have shown that this type of emotional tears actually releases oxytocin and other endorphins, feel-good chemicals in our body. And these feel-good chemicals help us to feel better emotionally, and physically. I mean, how cool is that? So crying, first of all, is nothing to apologize for. But more importantly, is something that actually benefits your emotional and physical wellness. So you wonder, as we're going through breast cancer, and we're re-examining our life, we're looking at, we're facing our mortality, we're questioning all of the things in our life, that brought us to the point where we're at and the things going forward, and the way we actually want them to look, and all of this emotion is coming up. And it's a part of the whole experience. It's actually a part of that process of our healing, of dealing with the emotional and physical pain, not only of the diagnosis and treatment of cancer but as you know, when you're listening to this, have the emotional pain of making critical changes in your life, of realizing all the times you didn't speak up, all the times you withheld emotion, all the times you suppress those tears and told yourself, be a big girl don't cry. And all of this now is just brimming at the surface. It's all right there waiting to be released. And then you start to feel a come up, and you stop yourself. You're actually stopping that process of cleansing and releasing what is causing you pain. It's not the tears that are the hard part. It's what you're holding in by not allowing the tears. That's the hard part.
Now, of course, we don't want to walk around being a sobbing mess all the time, we want to have a safe place where we express our emotions. And we want to be with people that we trust when we're expressing our emotions, or we want to be alone with ourselves and just allow everything to be there and allow yourself to feel. And that just goes so against everything we were taught right? To just say, You know what, I'm just gonna have a good cry. I'm gonna stay home tonight. And I'm just gonna feel everything and see what happens because you know what, you will get through it. emotions come and go. They're not going to go on forever. But you're going to get to feel them and experience them. I think this is a great time to share another which is one of my most favorite quotes from the book I shared earlier, The Boy, The Mole, the Fox, and The Horse. And this says I wonder if there is a school of unlearning. Because if we could only unlearn so many of the things that we've been conditioned and reinforced and believed for so many years, were not good for us. Imagine the kind of lives we could live. So I just close the show out with giving you permission, my friend, to feel it all. And to let it all go. Support your healing by letting the tears flow without judgment. If you need more support, you can always come and join us in The Breast Cancer Recovery Group. It's my free Facebook group, we have hundreds and hundreds of survivors, women in treatment, out of treatment, long out of treatment, and share it's a safe space to come and share what you're going through. And we all need that because things are hard enough, but they're a little less hard when we're all together. Alright, I will talk to you again next week. And until then, Please be good to yourself and expect other people to be good to you as well. Take care.