Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Tear Jerker

The movie “The Holiday” is one of my most watched movies.  It’s a cute story, but there are lines in the movie that I find charming and revealing about the characters.  We find out, in the movie, over lunch that Cameron Diaz’ character hasn’t shed a tear since she was 15 years old.  On the other hand, we find out that Jude Law’s character is “a weeper”; you know the kind, the one who cries at movies, commercials, greeting cards or if the wind happens to be blowing from a certain direction.  I will share with you that I too am a weeper, I try and contain it to movies and commercials.

Yesterday a client called me because she was frustrated and had been arguing with someone.  She finally took a deep breath and said, “I think I just need to cry”.  You see, crying isn’t simply about sadness or happiness (you know the happy tears), but can be related to a host of emotion.  I know from sitting in rooms with thousands of individuals facing a health challenge that crying is part of the process and may even be part of the healing plan.  When Christina Applegate was on Oprah she stated that she cries every day since her breast cancer diagnosis.

What if we didn’t generalize the tears?  What if the tears were far more significant than simply salty water running down our cheeks and cloud our eyes making them puffy and red?  Tears follow a trail down the face.  They are individual otherwise if all your crying left your eyes at once you’d have a waterfall from your eyes.  Each tear makes its own unique way down the face.  Ever notice that sometimes we just let them fall where they may, and other times we make a point of absorbing them off our face as quickly as possible.

What messages are your tears sending you?  Do you find that you have certain triggers that begin the flow of tears?  Do you feel better or worse after you’ve cried?

How will you honor each and every tear that falls?  Will you allow yourself the safety of shedding tears as a means of ultimate self-expression?  It’s usually a time when we’re extremely vulnerable, but can you achieve that place of vulnerability without the tears?  I’m not sure.  What have your tears meant to you?  When are you most likely to shed your tears, a particular incident, a test result, good news?  It’s important to understand your tears because they are a barometer of your emotional being.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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