When we were in Silver Falls I saw a family of three – a father, a mother and a girl. The girl looked very similar to April, I suppose she was 2 years old at the most. And one time she started crying. I don’t know why but it surely didn’t sound good. She didn’t get any support though, instead of a fully understanding and compassionate father she had someone who raised his voice and commanded: “don’t cry, don’t act like a baby, be like a big girl!”
I thought I really wanted to say that she won’t act like “a big girl” because she’s not one. Because she’s a small child who can’t speak yet and explain what’s happening, what she feels. I wanted to tell him that I feel sorry for her because she doesn’t have any support in her own father, she can’t count on him in a situation when something wrong happens.
But I didn’t because I didn’t have enough courage.
It doesn’t matter if the reason for her cry was serious for the father or maybe just something silly. What matters is that she was in distress, whatever it was. She reacted the best way, the best way she could.
Stories like this end up with children not being able (and not wanting to) to express their emotions, feelings. They lose their confidence, they doubt themselves. They think they overreact, that they shouldn’t feel what they feel. They’re ashamed. That’s why we then have adults who can’t cry and when a tear just comes to their eyes they wipe the eyes and pretend that everything is fine. Man have it worse because they’re told not to be a “sissy” and not to act like girls and later they’re stuck with this rule that “boys don’t cry”.
Cry is good! It helps manage emotions, express what’s happening, go deeper, talk things through. It often heals us from how we feel, from our worries, will help us feel a relief. 85% of women and 73% of men feel less sadness and anger after they cry. It’s our way to survive as well, if you look at it from a scientific point of view. Because stress increases risks of different diseases, including a heart attack. A child cries for a long time because she’s simply not able to express her feelings in any other way. It’s her way to show that she needs something, that there’s something missing, something’s wrong… And she’ll never learn the right way if she’s stopped by other from tears. If she’s humiliated, embarrassed, ignored, ridiculed and more. And this, unfortunately, very common and I don’t about you but it really bothers me. I prefer to live in a world with people who live together in peace and are able to show their emotions and when they’re sad they’re just sad and they’re not afraid to say it. I’d like people to feel safe and if it’s not possible in the society in general then in their families at least.
I still hope it’ll change.
I’ll see you next time,
Photo: Viknesh Vijayakumar