Friday, May 13, 2011

Yes, I’m Emotional … and It’s Not a Weakness

I had my final seminary class of the semester this week and I got quite emotional.  As a class we have gotten very close. We have talked about our joys and concerns, prayed together, and shared parts of our lives together over the course of the last four months.  Some in the class are leaving next week after our graduation ceremony.  Others are leaving campus to go on their internship year.  Some will stay here but I may not have them in class again.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this group of students and had a delightful time teaching them.  I will miss them.  So these are the very logical reasons why I got emotional, but the truth is I cry a lot.

I cry during sad movies and TV shows.  I lose it during tragedies.  I take extra tissues when going to concerts and events with my family.   I weep at sappy commercials.  (The Christmas Folgers commercials get me every time.)   I shed tears over things that make my son roll his eyes at me -- often.   I am not alone – my parents are weepers, too.  It is genetic.  I am sure of it. I know they did this to me.  Over my almost 49 years of life I have had to try to accept it.

However, there have been times when folks have used my tendency toward being emotional to assume I am weak because I cry.  That is so far from the truth that it is laughable, but many have made that mistake.   At the same time, I have fallen prey to believing their “truth” – that crying did make me weaker or that it was a bad thing.  I believed the hype.  And it is everywhere.

I have heard parents tell their sons not to cry when they are hurt because “big boys don’t cry.” (Not a practice I gave into at all.)  I witnessed a mother tell her daughter that she was “too pretty to cry.”   I have heard others tell themselves or others that showing emotion is being a crybaby.  I was even told by a boss once that I must be trying to garner attention on purpose when I cried while telling a story.  The message of emotions equaling weakness is prevalent.

But why is being emotional considered a bad thing?  Isn’t it evidence of someone in tune with themselves and with their inner feelings?   I have decided not to believe the hype.  Here is what I think.  Being emotional is a sign of strength.  Being willing to show one’s emotion is powerful.  Connecting to one’s inner feelings is a good thing.  It is a part of me that I have moaned about in the past.  It is a part of me that I have actually prayed to go away.  But it is part of me – it is strength and power.  So when I cry – it’s me.  My parents passed it on me, but more than that – God made me this way. 

I confess … I’m a Crybaby … and PROUD OF IT!!

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