Can we please get over the big deal about women and crying?
And how that apparently means we are weak?
And how we should never do it at work?
Or in public? And barely in private?
It’s JUST SALT WATER, folks! THE most inert stuff on earth.
Salt water helps heal wounds, freshens breath, takes the sting out of bee, mosquito and poison ivy pain, and rehydrates us when we have forgotten to pay attention to drinking fluids. And get this- it removes red wine stains from clothing! Who knew?
97% of the water on earth is salt water. Really, it’s not like it’s uncommon or anything. And, once in a while it comes out of our eyes.
And we all freak out. And start apologizing.
But why? We know crying is good for us. Crying reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and releases toxins from the body, like Manganese, which is a by-product of emotional stress. It’s one of those few things that make us uniquely human. It’s an expression of emotion, which is a sign of caring, commitment and desire to collaborate to make things better for ourselves and the world around us. And anyone who has ever tried to hold tears in because it was the wrong time or place, knows that those little rivers of saline have a mind of their own.
So, why do we make such a big deal over the healthy release of some stress-reducing toxins?
My belief is it is one more way women are disenfranchised in the workplace, separated out as “emotional beings,” and thus, somehow ‘naturally’ less competent. When, in fact, we are using the tools and mechanisms we have ‘naturally’ to rapidly work through a healthy process that will deliver us and the outcomes we seek, through a rough patch and to the next level quickly.
Let’s support each other in making tears okay- wherever and whenever they come out. Instead of warnings about the career killer of crying at work, how about we offer supportive statements to the crier like, “thanks for letting me know how important this is to you,” or “I appreciate your willingness to be so open about this, and to really let us know how you feel.”
Who remembers “Free to Be You and Me”? It was a post-Hippie cultural monster of magnificent songs and stories that were gender role neutral. My mom got it for me in the early 1970’s and I LOVED it!!! There’s a song about crying that I often sing my children (now they sing it back to me and roll their eyes….)
“It’s all right to cry
Crying gets the sad out of you
It’s all right to cry
It might make you feel better!”
So, let those tears flow as they will- and the red wine along with them!