Does crying make the pain go away?

Crying1Advice:  The question above was asked by one of our faithful readers.  Good question, don’t you think?  The answer to that question is no, no, no.  It does not make the pain go away, but it does have its benefits when you are grieving a loss.

There are many theories on crying, such as “tears cleanse the soul” or “crying endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” or “don’t cry over spilled milk.”  Many were told as a child that crying is a sign of weakness.  Tears are a way to release pain graduallySo when grieving a loss, do you cry or try not to cry?

A friend who is going through a divorce recently sent me a thank you note for supporting him during a crying episode.  His note included the following statement, “Thank you for saying that it is okay to CRY!  Although everything hurt afterwards (my head, face, and eyes), those were cleansing tears and today I am better than okay!”

When you have lost someone or something dear to your heart, when your dreams have turned to nightmares, when you have lost all hope for your tomorrow, crying is a normal and natural response.  What makes the difference is how you react to this physical emotion.  Do you try to hurry it up and get over it, or do you embrace it as part of the healing experience?

I encourage having a cry party when you are grieving a loss, but with limitations.  Give yourself a set time so that you don’t overwhelm the body and cause emotional and physical health related issues.  Why not consider it an activity?

Oftentimes, grief bursts are unexpected and they come out of nowhere for no apparent reason. In this case, you might not be able to plan the cry party.  Still embrace it.  Holding in emotions of loss can compound the loss and delay the grieving process.  If you are able to take your cry party to a place where you are alone, go for it.  Maybe take a keepsake or music with you, set a time limit for the party, and give yourself permission to cry it out.

CryingSoldierKnow that since this is natural and normal, and no one can tell you how to grieve, your crying episodes might come and go for a lifetime.  Yes, even many decades after a loss or disappointment, you may have crying episodes.  So, let’s conclude that the crying will not make the pain go away, but will help you deal with the pain, if you choose to see it that way.

Next time you remember a loved one that is no longer here with you or a situation that broke your heart, and you feel the need to cry, let the tears flow; think of a beautiful memory; and, end your cry party with a smile.  I bet you will feel better.