In the last few months, I’ve had a few clients that have noted that an unexpected side effect of the work we are doing together is the regained ability to cry.
Some of them mistakenly think that tapping is a way of avoiding sadness and that we are “tapping away tears.” This simply isn’t true in EFT sessions delivered by a skilled practitioner.
These sessions had me contemplate my own journey with shedding tears. From an early age, one of my primary defense mechanisms was to shut down my emotions. That included my willingness or perhaps my ability to cry. The decision I had made was “Sure, you can try to hurt me physically, but I’ll win the emotional battle and not give you the satisfaction of seeing me that vulnerable.”
Whenever I did let down my guard and shed a tear, I felt a lot of self-imposed shame about it.
The older I got the easier it was for me to “hold it together.” My mind and body get accustomed to that swelling-up feeling in my throat, the watery eyes, and before I knew it, my shutdown response flew into action, just in time to stop the spigot. It all can happen in the blink of an eye, automatically and mostly below any conscious awareness.
This all seemed to be working just fine for me until I suffered a great loss. Soon after the devastation, I developed a serious autoimmune condition. In retrospect, I believe the emotional cause at the heart of what caused my illness wasn’t the trauma of the loss as much as the inability for me to really cry about the loss.
That all changed when I discovered tapping. Tapping opened up the fullness of my emotions, ranging from tears of joy to those of sorrow. It happened for me and happens regularly for my clients that have had similar patterns.
If you haven’t had a good cry in a long time, I highly recommend it.
One of the most socially acceptable places to do this is at a tear-jerking film in a dark theater. If you are a David Bowie fan, try listening to “Please Mr. Gravedigger.” I believe most people have a sense of how they can allow their tears to flow without activating an intense personal trauma, by doing it in a gentle, less direct way, such as through a book, movie, or song.
Here are a few other reasons for recovering an ability to break out the Kleenex:
- Research performed at the University of Florida found that crying is more effective than any antidepressant currently on the market. Study results revealed that 88.8% of those that cried felt better (8.4% said it made them feel worse). The study concluded that crying can be self-soothing.
- Crying (like sweating and urinating) offers a way to release toxins from the body. It releases the proteins prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormones, and enkephalins, which can help to reduce pain.
- In a romantic relationship, if the love bond is strong, when a person finally starts to shed tears, the conversation will often shift toward the deeper emotional aspects of the problem instead of the superficial ones. An example of the latter might be the commonly repeated source of irritation: “You left the toilet seat up AGAIN, damn it!” We know it’s never about the actual toilet seat, don’t we, ladies?
Here are 5 tapping prompts for getting in touch with crying:
- Tap on the shame you have felt in the past when you cried.
- Tap on the shame you think you would feel if you were to cry in a future situation.
- Tap on the fear that you’ll upset other people if you cry in front on them.
- Tap on the false belief that crying is a sign of weakness.
- Tap on the belief that you think that once you start crying, you won’t feel any better (and maybe worse!) or that you think that you will never stop crying.
I share this as a recovered “dry-eye aholic.” I can honestly and absolutely say that it was worth facing my stubborn, arms-crossed young girl experiences, tapping on them, and opening to a new part of myself that can feel a fuller range of emotions, including vulnerability, intimacy and greater love and joy.
It’s worth it, really, and, for me, tapping was the way to get there.