It is OK to cry at the workplace
This is an extract of an article that I recently read this week at The Intelligent Change.
Have you ever felt embarrassed as soon as you shed a tear or two in public? Then you must also know the urge to immediately cover your emotions, switch them off, unfetter from their tight embrace as quickly as possible? Even though crying is a natural human reaction, it makes people uncomfortable.
The Tough Gets Going
Quite reasonably, we tend to associate crying with babies, innocent creatures who need our protection from the dangerous world. Perhaps, that’s most of the reason why we perceive crying as a weakness. Yet, we were all babies once, and we are, and forever will be, nothing more and nothing less than human. The quicker we learn to accept our nature, flaws and all, the more efficient we will become, especially in a workplace.
While research provides mixed results as to whether crying is a cathartic experience or not, the bottom line is – always listen to your body. Take time to understand your reasons and reactions. If letting out a good cry proves to be a mood-enhancing and self-soothing behaviour in your case, don’t think twice. Otherwise, whatever made you upset will pile up and turn into a snowball rolling down the hill to a nervous breakdown. Crying is the quickest attempt to defuse the tension.
We get it; some jobs and tasks require stellar nerves and focus. After all, your masculine energy gets things done. Yet, the most demanding people you know still cry (yes, that includes your boss, too). They might do it discreetly, maybe they care about maintaining their indestructible façade, but there is still a beating heart under the thickest skin. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Then, they wipe their tears when nobody’s watching.
We contain multitudes of childhood traumas, existential crises, family issues, depression, languishing, health problems, heartbreak –. Is this a surprise that such emotional combinations bring us to our knees with mental exhaustion? And, more importantly, can we decide when that happens?
Next time you feel the impulse to cry growing in strength, try to dissolve the negative energy by either going for a short gratitude walk or direct it into problem-solving. Let your tears fuel your productivity, and before you know it, somewhere in the state of flow, they might dry out.
A Word to Employers
Dear employers, in today’s rapidly changing world, thinking outside the box is of vital importance more than ever before. It is in your hands to display compassion, create a safe space for employees to express their worries and concerns, and even allow rewriting the job descriptions on the level of an individual. The world needs a new definition for business as usual.
Open The Floodgates
Crying does not make you weak. Instead, it’s a signal and a message that needs to be taken seriously. If you are a sensitive person, try finding a supportive work environment to help you grow without pushing you to change who you are. And if you see somebody else in pain, be a friend. You never know what’s going on in other people’s lives outside of work. The toughest of us sometimes trudge through blood, sweat, and… tears.