Crying is great therapy. At age 51 I am just starting to do it right. For so many years I had to be tough and strong. The only time I seemed to cry was when the stress became so great that I just had a total melt down. Other than that there seemed to be no time much less need to cry, and who the heck would listen anyway. I had no girlfriends as I was consumed with a challenging husband, work and 3 kids. So I sucked it up and charged ahead.
Not too long ago, my husband asked me “Adri how do you turn it off?” He couldn’t understand why I rarely cried at very emotional movies. I then asked him “How do you turn it on?” For many years I was in survival mode, there was little opportunity to feel anything. As a result I turned it ALL off, that became my coping mechanism. I understand why I had to do it that way; I had 3 little kids totally depending on me as their mother, father, provider and nurturer, a daunting task. They were my first priority at the expense of myself. On top of all that I worked in an industry that had little empathy for the uniqueness of women forcing me to behave more like a man and less like the woman I am. So in lieu of crying I dealt with the pressure and got migraines instead. I had no idea then the impact all this stress would have on me down the road.
So now I have learned how to cry, when I feel the tears well up I no longer push them back but allow them to flow. Even my husband is learning to not be concerned but to view the tears as a healing sign. It’s almost like mourning, reflecting back on memories of someone or something that was important to you and it brings out so many emotions, happy tears, sad tears even angry tears but it’s the tears that are important.
With all this newfound knowledge what would I say to other women, younger women balancing life, family, and work? I don’t know if I could have done things any differently especially while in the thick of life when so many people were depending on me. What I can share is what I have learned to do now, and perhaps it will help some of you develop healthier, productive coping mechanisms.
1. Journaling: I have begun to journal, this simple act is one way I can express what I am feeling without the thought of burdening another. This was a bit uncomfortable at first but I used some great books to help me get started. I find the more I journal the more benefits I receive.
2. Listen to music that stirs your soul: I have made a conscious effort to listen to music that touches my soul, that gently entices my feelings to flow. In the past I would turn this kind of music off and find something more upbeat to support the adrenaline that was driving me every day. Find an artist that moves you and keep that on your IPod or in your player and use it before you journal or when you are sitting in the bath or exercising. Find a few quiet moments where you have the space and opportunity to feel. Have this specific music available all the time, you never know when you will get those 5 free moments of aloneness.
3. Become more mindful as to how you spend your time. I have become more wary when I fill my time with tasks, projects, things to do instead of just sitting and reading, resting or feeling. I love lists, with a good list I don’t have to think much less feel. With a good list I can just do and NOT feel. Having a project makes me feel productive and provide a great distraction to the challenges of life. Even shopping can become an avoidance technique, making you feel good superficially. Trust me I’ve been there, it’s still an urge I have to curb. If you can’t do without the list then add 10 min. of quiet time to that list so that you can be certain it will get done.
We are all unique and as such must find our own unique ways to manage the challenges of life. Don’t expect any one thing or activity to make the difference. Find a number of simple methods that opens the door to a little peace and a few tears. As women in the working world, stay tuned to your feminine self. She is a wonderful being that allows you to be so much to your family, your friends but more importantly to yourself. Don’t ignore her; embrace her for all the beauty she is, for all the beauty you are. To continue explore your feminine strengths visit www.YourPinkOffice.com today.