Take Back Your Life!

It’s okay.

October 15, 2010 by Giulietta Nardone

Hello warmhearted folks.

For much of my life, I tried to hide my tears. Somewhere along the line I learned that tears were bad. Tears were weak. Tears were failure.

Instead, I counteracted the emotion that wanted to come out by thinking happy thoughts. Breathing in and out quickly. Turning from the person. Letting my hair droop over my eyes. Excusing myself to go to the bathroom.

Then about seven years ago, while having coffee with a new friend, I saw a very tall woman in the coffee-shop. I mean really tall. The tallest woman I’d ever seen. Yet she carried herself with such grace and dignity that I felt moved to tears. Not out of sadness. Out of happiness that someone in this world that didn’t quite physically fit in managed to feel good about herself when many who do fit in never seem happy. She laughed and bantered with her companions. She seemed genuinely in love with life.

My inclination, though, was to hide this emotional release from my friend. She couldn’t know. I had to be strong and always laughing. But I couldn’t this time for whatever reason. The happy thoughts didn’t work.

So, my friend, despite my best efforts, saw these tears and do you know what she said?

“It’s okay.”

What relief I felt. That was the first time in my life that anyone ever said it was okay to cry. A small act of compassion that made something I’d been ashamed of for years feel acceptable. Talk about a release. I felt reborn emotionally, freed from the shame tears seemed to bring.

In my life shops, sometimes people cry. When you let your insides see the light, it can be so emotionally overwhelming that you cry tears of release, like the time I saw the tall woman who felt good about herself.

What do I say to the people who cry in my life shops?

“It’s okay.”

Muse thx, Giulietta

How do you deal with the tears of others and your own tears?

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26 Responses to “It’s okay.”

  1. Tears are easier for me when they are those of others. It is okay – there is nothing wrong with crying – and there are often times when tears crowd my eyes without reason at all… and I let them. My challenge – there are times when I want to cry and find that I just can’t. I am not sure if I am holding so tightly to control the emotion or that I just don’t feel it enough to let it go… no idea. I want to cry; I know I want to cry; and yet… no tears.
    The Exception recently posted..A Beautiful Mouse- A Magical Voice- and A quest to be Heard

    • Hi TE,

      I’m sure many people want to cry, too — yet can’t for some reason. Can we cry without shedding tears? I’m guessing we can cry with our hearts for ourselves and others. Thank you for this lovely comment. G.

  2. Tessa Zeng says:

    It’s really beautiful and brave of you to share your story. I’ve always been far too emotional to hold back tears in public, and while I get a little embarrassed when it happens, I also think it’s beautiful that we shed tears in the first place. It reflects our humanity and vulnerability- and I often feel honored when someone trusts me enough to cry in front of me.

    I do know people who find it hard to cry, though. And I wonder if they need to hear “it’s okay,” too, or if some of us are just less inclined towards showing our emotions.
    Tessa Zeng recently posted..A Leap In Thinking

    • Hey Tessa,

      I knew when I read your entry for Danielle LaPorte’s contest that you shared a sense of aliveness. (So, I voted for you!) Love these words, “It reflects our humanity and vulnerability.” It’s easy to get numb in a world that exposes us to so much violence and anger. I feel that crying does just what you say — shows that we are still human. I remember when Princess Diana died. People were crying all over the place and most of them never met her. It seemed to provide an outlet to be human. I’m guessing that since crying isn’t really accepted that many of us learn to hold it back or reroute it and at some point we get too good at it. Thanks for visiting! G.

  3. This is a beautiful and touching story, G. Thank you for sharing it. I’ve become very good at crying. And I’m in a profession where people cry around me a lot. Often they initially feel embarrassed about it. I tell them that I’m honored that they feel comfortable enough to let down their guard in my presence. My way of saying “it’s OK.” Because our tears and vulnerabilities are some of the most precious gifts we can give to ourselves and others.
    Patty – Why Not Start Now? recently posted..Kind of Like in Life

    • Hi Patty,

      I’m so with you on vulnerability being a great gift to give ourselves and others. That’s when we remind ourselves that we’re humans not robots.

      Holding back tears feels more painful to me then letting them go. Yet another place where we can let go and really free ourselves.

      Your clients know they can trust you. Hey, I trust you!

      Thx, G.

  4. J.D. Meier says:

    One of my mentors once said, “Where there’s emotion, there’s truth.”

    He reframed the tears of a classmate in that instant and, yes, it was OK.
    J.D. Meier recently posted..Getting Results Knowledge Base is Ready for Action

  5. Hey J.D.,

    A great quote. If you think about it, if there isn’t emotion what’s that all about? Chances are good you may be bored, disconnected to yourself or beaten down from not following your heart. Emotions reveal what you hide from yourself and others. Thx, G.

  6. Tears remove the pain of life, with joyful thoughts of acceptance and vulnerability. It’s okay to vulnerable. But sometimes, you just need a good cry.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • Hi Jonathan,

      You’re so right that sometimes we just need a good cry. I always feel emotionally better after releasing my tears into the world. A bit like a mini-rebirth. Nice of you to stop by and leave a comment. Most appreciated! Thx, G.

  7. Hannah Katy says:

    I think my mother and you would be great friends. Seriously. I read your words and am wrapped in an instant comfort. You always speak to my heart, just as my mother does.

    I love everything about this post. I have been crying a lot lately, so it is good to read that I am not going insane or out of my head, that I am actually o.k. Better than o.k.

  8. Hi Hannah,

    I’m honored to speak to your heart. We need more of that between people – heart to heart conversations.

    From my life experiences, crying is a sign we are awakening, ready to move from whatever place we are in now — physical, spiritual, emotional, financial — to a new one.

    The transition may be a long one, but our tears will sustain us.

    You are better than o.k.! G.

  9. I cry a lot. It scares me to think what would happen if I let all that emotion stay pent up inside. Your friend gave you a wonderful gift by telling you it was okay. It reminded me of a night in college eight months after my grandmother died… I started thinking about her and I couldn’t contain the sobs. My roommate jumped out of bed and over to mine and embraced me. After months of grieving, it was the release I needed to really begin the healing process.
    angie mizzell recently posted..Another year That is the gift

  10. Hi Angie,

    What a caring roommate! Amazing what a simple hug can do.

    I agree with you that it’s dangerous to keep emotion inside. I’m guessing we wouldn’t have tears if we weren’t supposed to use them. The world needs a giant cry-a-thon. Maybe it will clear the hostilities everywhere. I never had much of a relationship with my grandmother. She clearly needed a good long cry.

    How nice that must have been. Thx G.

  11. Penelope J. says:

    What a good subject. Tears can be such a relief but on some occasions, I find my own or other people’s tears still make me feel uncomfortable. Some people use them far too freely, often as an emotional weapon.

    For many Americans, tears seem to be a common way to communicate their feelings. However, I belong to a generation brought up in a stoic post-war England where tears were frowned on.

    On the surface, I used to be like you, held back the tears in public and when I cried, which I did a lot, it was in secret. I found that I actually enjoyed those tears – in a masochistic way. That stopped when I stopped drinking alcohol. My tear ducts opened and I cried over things that moved me, tears of relief, happiness, seeing or hearing about someone’s incredible recovery or journey, and occasionally, sadness. And sometimes, I still find myself “weeping inside” where no one can see them. At least, I have realized that tears are just part of an emotional process.
    Penelope J. recently posted..Care to Gamble Open a Restaurant

  12. Hi Penelope,

    Yes, tears can definitely be used as a weapon. “Please, I don’t like it when you cry.” Your awakening phrase “weeping inside” reminds me of that movie with javier bardem called The Sea Inside. He says, “you learn to cry inside by laughing.” I wonder how often we show one emotion yet feel another inside?

    Thx for your lovely words! G.

  13. Paul Zelizer says:

    Guilietta,

    What a simple and elegant message! As I read your post, I was thinking of a recent client who said (after LOTS of tissues), “These tears are OK because they are washing away the stuckness and helping me get back into the flow of my life.”
    Paul Zelizer recently posted..Are You Seeing ALL of Your Opportunities

  14. Hi Paul,

    Good to see you here again! Excellent quote from your client. And tears do wash away the stuckiness!

    I never thought a post on crying would elicit so many terrific responses. Who knew?

    Thx G.

  15. I am British and brought up with the stiff upper lip mentality. It has always been hard for me to accept myself crying. I would love to be one of those people who just let a drop or two drip but once I start, I can’t stop until eventually they end or I get distracted. But it takes a while. Wish I were a bit more in control.

    • Hey Alison,

      Thank you for stopping by this tear-a-thon! I almost want to write a book on crying or at least an essay. (Think I will!) I can relate to the tears running until they run out. Happened to me at a job interview of all places. The woman revealed what I couldn’t reveal to myself — that I didn’t want the job — I excused myself and retreated to a bathroom stall (now these places have held the tears of many women) and it flowed, like you say — unstoppable — for 30 minutes. My interviewer even came in to see how I was doing. The rest of the story appears in an essay published in a book. I’d forgotten about it until just now.

      Your comment has given me all sort of ideas!http://giuliettathemuse.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?p=2450&approved=1#comments-form

      Thx for your honesty, G.

  16. Michael says:

    Brought up in a house full of women, I was never indoctrinated into the “men don’t cry” club, something for which I was always pretty thankful. Mostly now, it’s the weirdest things that set it off now; being alone in the wild, a moment of utter honesty, a sense of complete injustice. But I was and am rarely ashamed of or embarrassed by it.

    It’s a great message to bring tot he world, G. Thank you for your constant courage.
    Michael recently posted..climbing part one

    • Hi Michael!

      Great to NOT be a part of the “men don’t cry club.” Real men cry!

      I like what you say about it being, “a moment of utter honesty.” It’s how we feel at that moment. Why anyone would want men or women to suppress that to engineer a different emotion doesn’t make sense.

      Thx as always, G.

  17. Totally okay. Even more than okay.

    I was privileged to be included in a very special and very private, intimate party this weekend and one of the performers was k.d. lang. She sang so beautifully, digging soulful feelings deep within, and I, of course, cried through almost the entire set. I didn’t care that I was a blubbering baby, though I wished I’d brought tissue.

  18. Hi Belinda,

    KD Lang has a gorgeous voice, one of the most lovely I’ve every heard. How fortunate you were to hear her live and in intimate setting! I’ve sung a few of her songs at karaoke. I can see how her words would bring on tears of beauty.

    Thanks! G.
    Giulietta Nardone recently posted..It’s okay

  19. Earthianne says:

    I welcome tears now. When it pours, the lightness I feel afterwards make me feel good. However, I still prefer to do it when I’m alone (it doesn’t look pretty, lol).

    It’s great you’re reminding others that ‘it’s ok’.
    Earthianne recently posted..Put your Empathy where your Mouth Is