Baby, It's Allright to Cry
Baby, It’s Allright to Cry
There’s this thing people do when they’re feeling insecure or self-conscious: They minimize themselves by saying “sorry.”
Why are you sorry? Because you’re sharing good news? You feel like you’ve talked about yourself longer than you should? Heaven forbid, you started crying? Men and women are equally guilty of apologizing for showing emotion. But why?
We’re told we should be humble so we don’t make others feel bad. We shouldn’t talk about ourselves too much—that’s bragging. We shouldn’t cry because that’s weak. Or, if we receive a compliment, we dismiss it because we can’t possibly be as good as they say.
Why do we do this? Societal conditioning. Gender norms. Or, as little ones our parents attempted to control, quiet, label, and shame our natural emotional responses, likely because that’s what their parents did to them. All outside influences usually aiming to invalidate our true feelings so we can fit in or not make someone else uncomfortable. How sad!
Have you ever been complimented about how healthy you’re looking after you’ve trimmed down ten pounds? Then, as if the person doesn’t know what they’re talking about, you say, “Oh thanks, but I still have ten more pounds to go.”
Maybe you’ve just given a presentation that you were really nervous about and a coworker pats you on the shoulder, giving you an attaboy. What’s your response as you recoil in your skin losing two inches in height? “Ugh, well, thanks, but that definitely wasn’t my best.”
What is this twisted belief we have that we’re not enough just as we are? Why do we deflect something aimed at making us feel good and miss an opportunity to let that in? Did you ever stop to think about why it’s so difficult to pause and savor the goodness of a compliment?
When we dismiss a compliment, it perpetuates a false ideal that until we get there, wherever there is, we’re not allowed to be okay with where we’re at today. It keeps us out of experiencing and enjoying life in the present.
It also doesn’t appropriately acknowledge someone who made the effort to speak up and say something nice to us. If you put yourself in the complimentor’s shoes, when you make the effort to admire or appreciate someone else, you aren’t lying, are you? No!
It sounds silly to even say, but it is healthy to let yourself feel good. Our bodies release natural endorphins when we receive praise and connect with people. This results in stress reduction and creates a more positive outlook.
Similarly, allowing tears to flow sends the same endorphins on a mission to reduce your pain and deliver a heightened sense of well-being. After all, it’s a natural, physiological response to genuine emotion. If you’re prone to cry and worry about your mascara or nose running, just carry extra tissues.
In my opinion, the most confident people are the ones who don’t apologize for their tears and gracefully receive compliments. If you’re not there yet, I invite you to experiment with it. If someone offers you a positive affirmation, pause, take a deep breath, and say, “Wow, thank you. That makes me feel really good.”
And, if you notice your eyes starting to sting, allow the emotions to well up so the tears cascade down your cheeks. You’ll be an example to someone else that it’s all right to be human.