Writing. Drawing. Painting. Sculpting. Singing. All are forms of express, which engage others in some way. These disciplines take what is inside transform it to a relatable form that others empathize with. Through this process a soul deep connection can form between two strangers.
These are forms of art, but they are not the only forms that deep expression may take. Crying is an innate, instinctive expression which humanity is born with. In recent years, I’ve seen regular references to what is known as ugly crying. This phrase is appropriately descriptive, as ugly crying usually involves blotchy-face wailing, swollen nose, blood-shot eyes and a depletion of an entire box of tissues. It’s not pretty. Thus, it is ugly crying. And such a bout of raw emotionalism can leave a person drained and feeling ugly.
The good cry, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of that.
Tears may flow freely, but the expression they carry with them can be cathartic, releasing tension or a mix of emotions for which we do not have names. As odd as it sounds, sometimes we just need a good cry. The trick is to have the good cry without devolving into ugly crying. Releasing pent up emotional tension can be like the opening of a floodgate. The good cry opens the gate just enough for the emotions to pour out, but not enough to drown in one’s own tears.
The best ways I’ve found to trigger a good cry come through song and film. The right song can pull on the heart strings just enough to get the tears flowing and offer that cathartic release. The right movie will build to an emotional climax that tums the faucet of tears to a medium trickle for a little while, then slowly shut off. The flow should be substantial enough, but not enough to overwhelm. In my experience, it’s best to imbibe those forms of media which draw me into other people’s pain. This shifts my focus away from myself, and keeps the good cry from devolving into a pity party. (If absolutely you must have a pity party, set a firm time limit on it.)
Crying is one of the aspects of the human condition which is not always the easiest to handle, in others or ourselves. It is usually associated with a whole host of negative emotions and often a solitary endeavor. No one wants to feel bad, and most people don’t wish to see others in pain to the point of tears. These are noble desires, but it’s not realistic to assume they will be fulfilled every day. Even if we don’t wish to see tears, they have a place and purpose in our existence. Ignoring or denying the need for such raw expression is not a healthy way to handle the negative emotions we all feel. Sometimes, we just need a good cry to make it through the day.