Tears Help Heal the Soul
I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. My initial reaction was to fight the tears, to hold them in, for I thought that if I did the pain might go away. I decided to let them go, and I fell to my knees as the tears streamed down my face. I could feel a sense of relief, as though each tear held a piece of my pain, and the pain was being released, one piece at a time.
Making the conscious choice to release my tears allowed my pain to be released, and sent me on the path toward healing.
When we truly want to grow and become better people, we may find and utilize healthy ways to heal and grow, including therapy and self-care. They are good routes to take, but many people avoid them, as with them often comes pain.
It can be easier to avoid pain by following pathways full of numbing agents, whether our vice of choice is alcohol, drugs, food, sex, etc. While stumbling down those pathways in a foggy haze, however, we forget how to feel. We become a shell. We hide from reality and we often hurt others in the process, even inadvertently.
NUMBING THE PAIN
In recent years I became so good at numbing my feelings that I almost forgot how to feel pain. Numbing my discomfort was something I used to say that I would never do (I saw it as a sign of weakness and just assumed that I would always be “stronger” than that), and yet it became something I did for quite a while.
After my divorce, I started making mental and emotional progress (at least I believed that I was) and eventually I thought I would try dating. Almost instantly I became addicted to the good feelings that came along with it — the admiration, the infatuation, the sex, etc. By doing so, I was subconsciously avoiding the negative feelings that I had buried down deep. I started to see how addictions can come to be.
Divorce is not something I ever saw myself going through, and it was tougher than I expected it to be (it is the second most stressful life event, after the death of a spouse). Divorce is an emotional trauma, and afterward, you have to rebuild your identity and your life. Life is funny like that — life occurrences ultimately end up happening despite our best efforts to avoid them.
I began to snap out of my murky state somewhere around the 2-year mark after my divorce, despite it being amicable, which is exactly when divorce veterans said it would happen. I realized I had been resorting to risky and toxic behaviors instead of confronting and working through my feelings.
PAIN DOESN’T JUST GO AWAY
In some cases, emotional detachment helps us protect ourselves from becoming overwhelmed by people or activities. Other times, we detach to defend ourselves from experiencing more pain from causes such as abuse and trauma.
Detaching emotionally could also be a symptom of depression. Some signs of emotional detachment are loss of motivation and interest, having less empathy for others, having difficulty being loving or affectionate, and feeling overall less emotional and even unable to cry.
It is not uncommon for people to shut down after a traumatic event. However, shutting down your emotions for a long period of time not only blocks negative emotions but can also block positive ones. Being emotionally detached and continually numbing your pain prevents you from making and keeping genuine connections with others and finding true happiness. Using alcohol or other short-term “solutions” will only serve as a bandaid, and will not make the pain go away.
GO AHEAD, CRY IT OUT
People will go to great lengths to avoid crying instead of accepting that it is a natural and healthy way to heal. We often associate crying with negativity, when crying is far from a sign of weakness.
When I started allowing myself to let the tears start to flow, I felt significantly better almost instantly. Crying is an emotional release that lowers stress and boosts your mood. It not only helps to release negative thoughts and feelings and toxins from the body, but it also releases feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin and endorphins into the body.
Therapeutic crying is perhaps the most all-encompassing and natural healing agent and is a great first step down the pathway to recovery. Finding a safe place, such as a therapist’s office, where you can feel vulnerable and talk openly about your feelings and experiences, is key. When you allow yourself to relax and open up, you may be surprised at what comes out. The release of years of pent-up negativity feels worlds better than temporary and toxic “fixes.”
GROWTH FROM PAIN
Despite the pain that comes after a breakup or a separation from a loved one, many lessons are learned in the process, and growth can occur as a result. We can become stronger and experience personal breakthroughs. Even though we may hurt for a little while, or even a long while, the pain won’t be as strong forever. What appears to be a dark dead-end can even end up opening new doors to bigger and better things.
Mindfulness is the best route to take in order to come to terms with your emotions, and that can be done through journaling, meditation, yoga, and therapy. Reading books, practicing positive self-talk, creating art, and exercising are also healthy ways to work through issues.
Therapy is the most effective way to face our emotions head-on and get to the root of the cause. Once the pain and darkness begin to fade, we start to see the lessons in the light and take our power back.
To feel is to be human, and running away from our feelings for too long never leads anywhere good. Numbing our emotions only leads us to dead ends, and we are forced to turn around and re-trace our steps. When we slow down and force ourselves to feel, we stop running in circles and can finally venture down the path that leads us to a better life.