“He hurt me and I refuse to spend time crying about it because he does not deserve my tears or my time. Engulfed by a river of the emotions welling up inside me I find myself trapped between a rock and a hard place. Either I give into these emotions and spend hours sorting through the vines that have wrapped themselves around my heart or I carry on with my life as though nothing happened and perhaps he just never existed.”
The struggle between allowing yourself to be human and being strong is one that could tear you into two. Being a woman of strength and crying are like water and oil, they don’t do well together instead they make a mess and are difficult to clean up. Well, at least that is what we tell ourselves.
For years men have been told that real men do not cry. Obviously this is an indication that crying has been viewed as a weakness. But is it really? Often we have said we refuse to cry or release certain emotions because whatever it is that has pushed us to the point where tears are even an option, is not worth it. If it is because of a person, as with forgiveness; is working through your emotions actually about them? Or, is it about helping yourself, learning and growing from whatever pain they clearly caused?
We were sitting in church one day and our Pastor, Pastor Debbie Sloane, said something so profound that many of us agreed the sermon could easily have ended right there. She told us to imagine we were holding a 500ml bottle of water with our arms outstretched in front of us. The bottle is not heavy, but the longer you hold it like that the more it hurts and the pain just keeps getting worse. Moral of the story, put the bottle down and you will be fine.
We tend to hold onto things because we are afraid of being weak and we don’t want to give whoever hurt us that power over us. Let’s stick with the bottle analogy. Let’s assume the bottle represents the issue. The person who hurt you hands you the bottle walks away and leaves you standing there with your arm outstretched. You watch them walk away. You huff and you puff, refuse to do anything about the bottle in front of you because you refuse to give the power to the other person. I must remind you that the person walked away, and they have probably long forgotten about the bottle.
I need to tell you my friend, you look a bit silly with that bottle outstretched in front of you. Put it down before your arm falls off. Crying is not a weakness, it gives you strength. The strength to move on. And because we are all different, perhaps crying is not how you release your emotions. If that is the case then throw something around, scream into your pillow, whatever it is you need to do, do it. But in the end what you do needs to help you put the bottle down and walk away from it.
I tend to put a limit on the time it needs to take me to get over something, and as I write this I am preaching to myself. Take this advice: there is no time constraint to your emotional release. This is not a test, relax. This is an assignment, and the great thing about it is you can keep applying for extensions and there is no grade.