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HEALTH & BEAUTY

I’m Not Sorry for My Tears: A New Movement

“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

A few nights ago, I was at a groovy, loud Mexican restaurant with some friends. In between sips of spicy margaritas and bites of chips with guac, I was talking with one of my friends privately about her latest struggles. She was confiding in me that she was still quite emotional about losing her mom.

Although it had been two years, she still found herself crying alone and in front of others when she talked or thought about her mother. She mentioned that the week prior, someone at work had asked her a question about her mom and, upon answering, tears had started to flow freely. Then, she was embarrassed and quickly took her hands to her face to wipe the tears and started apologizing profusely.

“I’m so sorry!” she quipped. “I did not anticipate getting emotional. I apologize for the tears.”

This stopped me in my tracks. I was literally stymied by it all right then and there. I thought about this, and it hit me. What the heck is wrong with our society? Wait, don’t answer that. There are way too many things, but I’m referring to this one in particular.

Why do we apologize when we cry? It absolutely should be the opposite. Crying is opening one’s heart and soul. It’s being vulnerable. It’s being real, open, and in touch. It’s exactly what we’re supposed to do when we’re hurting. We are purging ourselves of our sadness with our tears.

When my boys were little and they would burp or fart, I would always say, “Better out than in,” and this is the same. Better out than in. Let them go. Release the flood. Cry your eyes out. And, for the love of all of us, do not apologize.

Instead, I propose we start a movement. Instead of apologizing, how about we do the opposite? Upon tears starting to fall, how about saying, “I’m not sorry I’m crying”? This is taking our power back. It’s taking pride in knowing that you are being real, vulnerable, and open.

My best friend is a therapist. I discussed this with her, and she told me that almost every time a client cries, they apologize to her. Think about that. They are paying her quite a bit of money so that they can be “seen,” and they tell her they are sorry for crying. She told me that she always tells them to never apologize for crying, but that generally doesn’t stop them from saying it in each subsequent meeting.

After realizing the glaring phenomenon of apologizing when the tears start to flow, I noticed it everywhere. It was exemplified in every reality show on TV, as these seem to be prime platforms to cry. Every single time I witnessed someone crying, they uttered the words, “I’m sorry… ugh, so sorry…” as they tried to compose themselves. I could see the embarrassment in their faces and their mannerisms.

I also attended a funeral recently and noticed that every time someone relayed a story to me and started to cry, the next words were always “I’m sorry.” It is ubiquitous. I have never been around someone or seen someone on a show or movie say, “I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry for showing you my heart, opening my soul, and being vulnerable.”

Think about how you feel when you’re with someone who begins to cry. For me, I completely soften inside. No matter what the circumstances. Even if I am mad at the other person, I don’t like them that much, or I don’t know them very well.

The moment someone cries in my presence, I melt a little inside. Whatever guard I had up, whether it was big or small, it comes down. I truly see them as a feeling soul who just happens to be human. I am drawn to them. I feel connected. I want to be closer to them.

I am also a bit honored that they feel safe crying in front of me. I feel a little special, even if that is totally unintentional on their part. I feel like they are letting me in and showing me more of who they are.

So, after coming up with this new manifesto, I knew I needed to start practicing it and see how it felt. It came up two days later. I was telling my husband about a memory I had about his dad, who had recently passed, and in this tender moment, tears started to fall.

I fell into my rote way of thinking and feeling and quickly apologized.

“I’m sorry I’m getting emotional,” I said, and then I remembered. Oh shoot, nooooo, not that. So I course-corrected. “I’m not sorry, I mean.”

The funny thing is that I’m certain he didn’t even notice my backpedaling. I, however, did. I noticed that it felt better to say I wasn’t sorry. It gave me agency. I didn’t feel weak. I felt power in my words and in my tears. And it’s not even about power; it truly is about being real and honest.

There is power in being completely transparent. Life is hard, and our hearts break a little and a lot, and sometimes often. It is our opportunity to truly live the human experience. To cry is to be human. There is no reason to apologize for being human. Let it go. Let it all out with gusto, and then stand strong and say, “I’m not sorry I’m crying” and see how that feels.

I’m not sorry.

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