On Emotions and Strength


Crying too often gets a bad rap. To cry is considered to be a show of weakness. I’m a big crier of all kinds (happy tears, moved tears, overwhelmed tears, and sad tears) and I’m here to tell you that’s total bullshit.

Crying is absolutely not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It’s actually a show of strength and of emotional intelligence. I’m a person who feels a lot of things pretty much all the time. Sometimes those emotions literally well up inside of me to the point they need to have somewhere to go…and out come the tears. Crying is literally a way for me to get out my emotions and deal with them. It’s not my inability to deal with what I’m feeling, it’s my ability to deal with them.

I almost always know exactly what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it. What’s way more unhealthy than crying is trying to deny your emotions. To keep them bottled up inside to the point they have nowhere to go or come out in the form of anger or aggression. To try to numb your emotions or avoid feeling anything (though trust me, sometimes that option sounds very appealing to me).

Being emotional or crying is something that’s all too often associated with a) being a strictly female trait and b) being a negative female trait. Women are told they don’t make good leaders because they’re too “emotional.” This bullshit excuse has been used for centuries as a justification to keep us out of positions of power because showing emotion has been considered a sign of weakness or not being able to handle things. If crying was something men did more often, it would be considered a sign of strength.

I have absolutely no shame about being someone who cries and if you are too, you shouldn’t either. I’m not saying you need to be an emotional unloader, meaning you unload your emotions on anyone and everyone who will listen because you need to get them out (I’ve met that person, I know how draining that can be). But you should absolutely embrace feeling every iota of emotion that runs through you and if crying is the way you can get that out and process, then you grab that box of tissues. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you won’t make a good leader because you’ve cried before. Don’t let anyone tell you to just suck it up. Don’t try to hold it inside because it’ll only make you feel worse. Feel what you’re feeling, acknowledge what you’re feeling, and then you’ll be able to let it go and keep going. If people judge you for that, it’s because of their own ignorance and preconceived notions about what defines strength and what defines weakness.

Anyone, male or female, that can be in touch with their emotions is actually what makes a great leader. I don’t want a leader who doesn’t empathize with me. I don’t want someone who is all business and seems to feel nothing about anything. I admire people who are honest about who they are and what they’re feeling, not someone who just keeps a stiff upper lip. I want a leader that’s a human being because I’m one myself. I don’t want to have to “hold it together” all the time because that’s just too much pressure and only makes me feel worse.

photo credit: frederic.gombert sisters of Light via photopin (license)


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