Why I Encourage My Boys to Cry: The Importance of Embracing Your Feelings

My 6-year old son is in this phase of crying a lot. It seems to be over many small things. Things that don’t seem worth crying over to me. I realized that my first reaction was to tell him to stop crying! 

I mean seriously nobody wants to be around a cry-baby. And boys don’t cry. Right?

Well, I quickly realized I was sending the wrong message.

It is not only okay to cry if you need to, it is good. It is healthy. It is important.

It is crucial to let yourself feel however you feel.

You don’t have to suck it up and push your feelings inside. In fact, that is the worst thing you can do.

quotes; crying

Life is amazing and beautiful and miraculous. Feelings of happiness, joy, love, success, peace, gratitude, and overall positivity are wonderful. They are feelings I know I want to feel all of the time.

But, in reality, life can be really hard.  Bad things happen and sometimes the pain can seem unbearable. Other days life just feels hard for no reason.

The perception of pain and sadness is so unique. Certain situations that are no big deal to others may feel like the end to you. I don’t think it matters what the situation, if it hurts, it hurts!

And often there is nothing that can help, but time. You just have to feel the pain.

Accept the situation. Embrace it for what it is. Feel every emotion that comes to you.

If you mask the bad feelings with denial/rose-colored glasses, drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling, eating, over-exercising etc., the internalizing will eventually come back to get you. It will show up in the form of stomach aches, skin problems, headaches, depression, anxiety, an overall feeling of yuckiness and other illnesses.

Emotional awareness is so crucial to our well-being. It is hard to feel sadness, anger, worry, anxiety, betrayal, disappointment, overwhelm, grief, embarrassment, despair. etc. But, it is so important to just FEEL the emotions.

Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you are feeling.

It’s important to remember that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to yell in your pillow when you are angry. It’s okay to feel so full of grief you don’t know what to do.

And it’s so much easier to feel these painful emotions, when you know that after you acknowledge them, you can choose to be positive and know there are better times ahead.

“The word happiness would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” – Carl Jung

You can make the decision to deal with your feelings in a healthy way.

Besides crying, my favorite tools for embracing my emotions are talking and writing. My family, friends and other support groups are there to hear me vent. Journaling, writing letters that I don’t send and blogging are my writing outlets.

Here are some other practical tools for getting your feelings out and working with uncomfortable emotions.

Meditation, mindfulness, exercise, massage, relaxation, baths, painting, and prioritizing self-care are all tools I also try to use to help cope when dealing with tough times. Things that really help me are wine, popcorn, movies, and ice cream. The challenging part is doing those in moderation and not to the extreme I would prefer!

I remind myself and encourage my kids, especially my 6 & 8-year-old boys, to feel all of our emotions. The good ones, the bad ones and the ones in between. Acknowledge them and express them appropriately.

And if you need to cry- do it! It’s not a sign of weakness – it’s good for our well-being!!

Do you let yourself feel your emotions?  What do you think about crying? What other healthy tools do you use?