“Crying won’t fix anything”, my mother used to say to me. Yes, she was right. It wasn’t going to put my newly destroyed toy back together. There was nothing magical about my tears and puffy eyes that was going to reverse this situation. She was right in that sense. However, there was something that crying was going to do that was way more powerful than fix my toy. It would allow me to deal with my emotions honestly.
Most of the hurt and pain I have felt in my life has been dealt with by swallowing down my emotions and plastering on a brave face. This was a learned response to avoid crying and showing any vulnerability at any cost. However, this does more damage than any good. Emotions do serve us a valid purpose. They allow us to feel as a result of whatever situations play out in our everyday lives. Sometimes they do seem silly, but they are all valid. It’s very natural. Take a lesson from a young child who has not been taught to mask his emotions and you will understand how we are meant to function.
When a young child falls and scrapes his knee, he feels pain. His response is to cry because he is hurt. Once his pain is gone, he stops crying. Simple as that, no more. He accepts his crying and pain, and once it’s done, so is he. Life goes on, and he does not give it a second thought. That’s actually a very powerful lesson that many adults miss.
Emotions are a natural part of life. Experience them for what they are, give them validation. Then, when you are done with it, let it go. It’s a very simple and straight forward way to live. What happens when we bottle these emotions up? They stay with us, for days, months even years. Emotions get stacked on top of each other and pushed down into some dark corner of ourselves. There they wait until their moment comes to be validated. Typically, after shoving down all these emotions we will reach a limit. At some point our bottle over flows and everything comes flying out all at once. More often than not, it’s over something small that typically would not warrant a second thought. However, it was just enough to tip the bucket and before you know it you’re crying on the kitchen floor over a cup of spilled milk.
Lighten your load. When you are faced with an emotion, deal with it head on. Know that it does have a meaning and is important at this moment. Then, once you’re done experiencing that emotion, simply let it go and be done with it. Continue on with your life and don’t look back. It’s done, it’s in the past, and you are in the present. Through facing your emotions as they come at you, life will seem a little easier to handle. Carrying all those excess emotions will only weigh you down and make your journey harder. Drop the backpack and enjoy that you can now skip along your trail freely.