Let the Tears Flow, They’re Medicine | by Judy Walker | Pragmatic Wisdom | Mar, 2024

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Welcome crying as part of your healing

A young boy with a gentle smile and a lake in the background.
Photo by Dottie Di Liddo on Unsplash

About halfway through my twenty-minute silent sit on the park bench, I heard the voices of a man and a child. Since my eyes were closed and I was “supposed” to be meditating, I assumed they were playing in the playground.

Suddenly, instead of happy squeals, the child broke into a loud cry—a full, unbridled, using-all-her-lung-power sort of cry.

Being a mother, I know this type of cry could only come from a place of sudden hurt. I opened my eyes and saw a little girl, maybe four years old, sitting on the sand, hugging one of her legs close to her chest.

The man, likely her father, knelt opposite her, his hands around her shoulders and his face a few inches from hers. He spoke calmly to her, and after a minute or two, she returned to playing once again.

This made me think about what happens as we move into adulthood. Why do we find it so hard to fully express the hurts we feel?

Not long ago, I sliced my thumb on a sharp knife. The cut was deep and bled profusely.

Instead of tears, I berated myself about how stupid I was to leave a knife in the sink while washing dishes.

I’m an adult. I should know better! I swore under my breath and tended to the cut while muttering, “Stupid, stupid, stupid.”

And what of our inner hurts? Those that don’t show up on our bodies as cuts or bruises but instead tattoo themselves on the surface of our hearts. Do we allow ourselves the luxury of a loud, no-holds-barred cry session?

I was raised in an age when babies were left in their cribs to cry it out. This was a method used years ago to teach a baby to self-soothe. I imagine I cried, but since there’d be no one coming, I eventually learned that no matter how loud my cries, no one was coming. I probably fell asleep from exhaustion.

As I grew older, I was told to “Stop crying,” or “there’s nothing to cry about,” or my favorite, “I’ll give you something to cry about.”

I recall a scene I witnessed at Walmart a few years back. I rounded a corner with my cart into the cereal aisle and came upon a man…

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