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How Do I Stop Crying?

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Crying is one of many ways to release emotions, especially when going through a significant emotional event like divorce. It's stressful. Many days you will feel as if you are on an emotional rollercoaster.

And you are.

Crying is a natural way to deal with these emotions. After days of crying, you may wonder, "Why am I crying so much?" Followed by, "When will I stop crying?" The answer is simple: You will stop crying when you're emotionally ready to stop crying.

The media and perhaps even your upbringing may have taught you that crying is a sign of weakness. Television sitcoms often feature lines like "tough it out" or "suck it up" when a character is crying. Growing up, well-meaning parents or relatives may have told you, "Big girls don't cry."

Society teaches us you're a stronger person if you stuff your feelings deep down. The reality is that some of the strongest people I know -- both men and women -- cry when they feel sorrow and even joy. They allow the wave of emotions to flow through them and they don't resist the tears.

I was brought up by parents who understood the healthiness of expressing emotions in a constructive manner; it was okay to cry. However, my husband was not raised in such a household and he didn't take well to my tearful emotions. Overtime, I learned to suppress my feelings to keep peace in the family. What I didn't realize is that I was also suppressing me.

In suppressing my emotions, I stopped feeling emotions -- including joy. I became numb.

When it became evident that divorce was imminent, my tears started to flow. I cried every day for fourteen months. What I discovered is that all those feelings I had stuffed down over the course of my marriage were emerging. I can honestly say that it was an exhausting process but it felt so good to reconnect with myself.

In the beginning I was ashamed of my tears, but the people who supported me understood that my tears were my feelings all bubbling to the surface. I was rediscovering who I was through my feelings.

Crying is not a weakness; it's a natural, human response to sorrow, pain, fear, anger, shame, grief, despair, depression and sadness. During my emotional healing, I felt all of these feelings.

A friend suggested that when I felt the tears coming, to ask myself, "What are you feeling?" In the beginning, I couldn't identify the feeling because it was foreign. After a period of time, I started realizing that this is what anger feels like, what frustration feels like, etc.

Overtime, you will find your tears diminishing, which indicates that you are becoming emotionally healthy. It may take days, weeks or even months. In the beginning, I couldn't talk through my tears; my crying was so intense. Over time, the tears diminished to eventually being a single tear that would slide down my cheek when discussing my divorce.

One of the rewarding aspects of crying is that day when it's different. Crying is also a built-in response to joy, feeling deeply touched or loved, being awed and experiencing tenderness.

And for that, I'm thankful.

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