I was talking to a guy at work the other day. Not someone who works for my company, but someone whose path crosses with mine often in our work life. We were talking about work stress and he confessed “The other day I finally had to get away. I took a walk. All of a sudden I found that tears were coming down my cheeks. I was crying! I’m a grown man, Kim….I don’t remember the last time I cried. It’s just not healthy.”
I laughed at him….yes, sometimes I am a terrible person….and told him “That was probably the healthiest thing you have done in a long while.”
As we continued to talk he realized that things really did get better after that little meltdown. He was surprised. As I told him, sometimes you have to let the emotions out and refill with proper perspective and determination.
I am a crier. I cry fairly easily…..but sometimes inappropriately. A major work problem…I can handle that with no tears. If there is a job to be done and problems to solve, that is where I excel. A critical co-worker, however….it probably will be a gully washer (hopefully in the car as I drive home.)
I’ve found I cry most often when people disappoint me….or I feel I disappoint other people. I cry when I am frustrated and can’t figure out a way to change people or circumstances and make them “right”. The idealist in me just can’t understand why things aren’t fair… why people don’t care about others and try to do the right thing. I don’t understand why they can’t see me as I see me. On one hand I know we can seldom be the person other people think we should be….but a part of me just can’t accept it.
I cry where someone else may get inappropriately angry. Same emotions felt….different ways to deal with it. I heard the quote “Anger is fear masked” once and it changed the way I looked at anger. I think tears are also a mask for fear. The good thing about both tears and anger is they cause us to release some negativity. The bad thing about both is sometimes we do it inappropriately. Sometimes it doesn’t really release the anger and frustration, but gives life to it.
I think we have to be careful dealing with anger and tears in others. Neither are pure forms of expression. We have all seen crocodile tears and bursts of anger used for dramatic effect…so someone can get their own way. When that happens you have to learn “Please don’t feed the emotion.” When we let the emotional outbursts let someone get their way, we reinforce that as an appropriate and effective behavior. We can console, we can help the person determine why they are emotional, but we cannot enable the behavior. Yes, it’s tough to balance, but if we care about that person, we cannot reward a negative behavior pattern. You can love them in spite of it, though.
Life is hard, work is hard…..sometimes the emotions overcome. We need to be there for each other. We need to remind each other that most of us feel overwhelmed at times. We need to stay away from the very wrong platitudes like “God won’t give you any more than you can handle.” We need to shift our view. When you are feeling overwhelmed, sometimes it is simply we are willingly taking on more than God intended (maybe because we won’t utter that word that scares us….”no”). Sometimes we are not keeping things in proper perspective and we are making them more important in our lives than they should be. We need to re-balance. And sometimes we are not handing over our too heavy load to God and trusting that he is able to handle it on our behalf.
““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Release, relax and rely on God and those people he has placed around you to help carry the load. You are not intended to do it all alone. And it is OK to cry.