What happens if we cry more?

if we aren't allowing ourselves to express an emotional response through crying, then what other emotions are we no longer able to access?

When was the last time you cried? Outside of the final celebration of some over-the-top sports movie, I can't recall the last time I really cried. Why don't we cry more?

Last night, my little one hurt herself and had a good cry about it. I realized I hadn't heard her cry in a very long time. At what point do we stop crying as kids? When do we lose connection to that response as we are hurt physically or emotionally? How do we release the sensations of being hurt or saddened?

If not by crying, where does that energy go? If we aren't crying, we must be shutting down sensations somewhere, which also means we're shutting down the equal and opposite sensations on the happy and celebratory side of the emotional equation.

If we aren't allowing ourselves to express an emotional response through crying, then what other emotions are we no longer able to access?

So say we wanted to cry more? How would we go about that? Open the floodgates, here come the waterworks, we want to feel more, be more open to sensation, let the world in all its ups and downs take us for the proverbial ride on the emotional roller coaster. If only crying were that easy.

Is emotional fluidity and openness simply something we age out of? Do we lose touch with our emotions like we begin to lose our sight or hearing? Can we reclaim our connection to raw emotion? Honestly though, where have all the goddamn feels gone?

Maybe, if we allowed ourselves to cry more, and fought back against the stigma surrounding openly crying, and started to break down this desire to protect ourselves all the time, we might be able to feel more of the feels. Imagine what happens when we feel openly. Without a hint of self-consciousness or shame.

One thing to consider: how would this openness impact our ability to connect with each other? 

We’d certainly have a more open dialogue about the hard things in life, about the things we avoid at all costs, about that militarized middle ground, about that dirty word compromise. And maybe, just maybe, empathy rears its ugly head.

Everyone is so damn prickly. This writer included.

If we were to allow ourselves to have a good cry out in the open, wouldn’t we learn a bit more about ourselves and each other? To see each other break down and recover, to understand where those boundaries are, to witness each other near or at our lowest, and make space for that within ourselves and for others, what does that world look like? Little less prickly, no?

So how do we break down this crying stigma? How do we help each other—and more importantly our kids—understand that if we aren't crying, we aren't really feeling?

If we work to eliminate a good cry from the spectrum of emotional access, then we also lose the equal and opposite connection on the other side of the spectrum.

What have we been missing from the highs as we’ve stopped crying?

We can't just expect to feel the highs all the time, you know this in theory. But if we aren’t crying, we aren’t being practical, we aren’t putting this emotional awareness into practice.

If we open ourselves to the lows, if we expose ourselves to the deepest sensations of loss and grief and disappointment and anger, we will practice the acceptance of the lows, they will become routine; and so will the recovery from the lows.

As we practice overcoming these emotions, as we learn to process them, we ultimately gain access to those highs, they also become routine, and we begin to get better at balancing our emotional fluidity.