Growing up, I heard my father use the phrase “suck it up” a great deal. Stub your toe? Suck it up. Get your heart broken? Suck it up. Bust your knee open while riding a bike? Yep, suck it up. He wasn’t a big fan of people who don’t handle situations with gusto and strength. But I will tell you what he did believe in. Tears. The kind of tears that soak a man’s face like he’s just been washing off in the sink. Tears that drip off your jawline like rain off the side of a house. So far this isn’t sounding too motivational is it? Being told to deal with hardships in life and crying like a kid whose Christmas toy comes up missing on December 26th.
Here is what I want you to reflect on today. How can you expect to encourage others or yourself when you have pent up emotions? You know the moments. When you are sitting in the driveway, music up and no one knows you’re home yet. You just want to lean on the steering wheel and let it all out. Maybe it was just a stressful day or maybe the boss took his frustrations out on you or maybe you don’t know if your days are being spent with purpose. You feel the tears coming, they reach the edge of your eyelid…and then you “suck it up” and walk to the door. You have a meal to fix or a yard to mow or kids to help with homework. Maybe there is someone who left a voicemail earlier that needs a listening ear or a community project you are heading up. You can’t cry. People need you. People need you to be strong. Right?
No, you need to cry. You need to let out some wet and sloppy and snotty tears. It will honestly exhaust you if it’s been awhile, but do it. If you have to (I would), schedule a time and place to cry. That sounds silly, but maybe you need to set a time to get in the shower or close the bedroom door to let it out. No one watching, no one judging just you and all of those powerful emotions trying to bust out. And then, if you are feeling really brave, find people to cry with. This can be a true challenge for men, but women will find this hard as well. Crying makes you vulnerable, real. In that moment, your heart is wide open and one hurtful word can crush it. You (and me) need people we can entrust with our tears.
So there you go. Sometime this week, go for it. You may just find yourself smiling much more than before.
*I would love to hear your story if you take the time to cry. How it made you feel and if you were able to find people to cry with you.