The other day I became a part of a conversation about whether or not it was healthy to shed a few tears. What was interesting about this conversation was not that most of the people who responded said that it was healthy, but that the idea that shedding a few tears is not healthy.
For centuries, we have been socializing males to think it is not healthy to openly express their feelings and increasingly I am seeing women and girls of all ages question whether it is okay to express their feelings. It is interesting because there is actually a medical diagnosis called alexithymia. It is the inability to express or talk about our feelings. When we disconnect our heart from our head, then we not only lose the ability to express our feelings, we lose the ability to nurture ourselves or others.
Being able to shed a few tears is healthy for so many reasons. It means our head and our heart are still connected. It means we can empathize with others and not only care for others, but for ourselves. Caring for ourselves is a healthy thing.
So often, we are told to be strong, and not express our emotions. However, what we feel, and the ability to feel, is natural and it is a gift from the Divine. It is a way the Divine communicates with us and through us. So shedding a few tears is not only healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally, it is also healthy spiritually.
Being able to feel requires one to not only empathize, it requires that one be creative. You cannot empathize if you cannot imagine yourself in someone else’s situation. I may not be going through what you are going through, but I can empathize with it because I can imagine what it would be like for me if I were in that situation. I may not feel the same thing, but I can still imagine and empathize.
When we are intentional about nurturing ourselves, then we also nurture our relationship with the Divine within us. It is only when we fill ourselves with the nurturing of the Divine that we can begin to nurture others. So let’s foster the connection between mind, body, and soul and give thanks every time we shed a few tears for the gift of being able to do so.