Have you ever heard someone say “don’t get emotional” or “stop crying” to a person in tears? Maybe you’ve said it or gotten it from a friend. While the intentions behind these comments are supportive, the phrases themself are quite the opposite.
As a friend, I always encourage letting it out. Allowing yourself to feel each moment. No guilt, no sorries, no need to hold back what is true to your journey. There is nothing wrong with crying. There is nothing wrong with getting emotional.
Leaning on a friend is being vulnerable. Sharing your struggle and allowing for help. Vulnerability thrives with acceptance. We must try our best to open our arms to someone else’s vulnerability. Offer a safe place to be authentic and open.
For some people, crying may seem unwanted. Like the goal is to refrain from it all together. But the truth is that crying is release. It is raw and natural and appropriate in whatever moment it happens. I personally take advantage of the times I feel like crying. An opportunity to loosen tension in my body, clear my head and refresh my mind.
As the cryer, I appreciate when my company embraces me. Maybe asks what I need or simply reminds me that it’s okay and it’s going to be okay. As an empath, it’s important to me if the people in my presence are comfortable. It is helpful to be reassured that I am not bothering anyone. So as the supporter, I can only offer what I know. “Cry for as long as you want, I’m here.” Your crying is important. I am supportive of you and all your emotions. While it hurts me to know you are hurting, I am happy to be by your side.
Any moment of vulnerability deserves to be valued. Emotions should be felt without judgement. It is a big responsibility to shut down someone else’s feelings. Write them off as unworthy. While this may seem like common sense, it has become too normal of a response to respond to tears with “stop it.” I hope we as a community can phase this out entirely. As a society of loving people who want the best for each other, I wish for us to let it out and encourage each other to do the same.