The Detriment of Stifling Tears
“I remember standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and telling myself, ‘I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry,'” she told me.
“What was wrong with crying if you were hurting?” I asked.
“He made fun of me when I was upset or hurt. Every time I cried, he’d ridicule me. I got to where I got strong enough that I didn’t have to cry anymore,” she explained.
“And now, I can’t cry. I’m all dried up; he wasn’t able to make me cry anymore.” Her last words were said softly, almost as if she realized the significance of what she had just said.
Women are wired for tears. That doesn’t give us an excuse to use tears to get our way or to pout for attention. Yet closing up those tear ducts because we’ve been ridiculed is not the way to go.
The Veneer from Stifling Tears
My friend was a caring and compassionate nurse; yet there was a veneer about her that kept others at bay. She could be fun to work with, but not many people were allowed to get in under that veneer. For so many years, she had endured the ridicule of her spouse – especially when she became tearful. In making fun of her tears, he put the onus on her instead of on his own behavior and poor choices. In defense of her emotions, she locked them up, thinking no tears meant no pain.
Whether your tears are over a difficult marriage, a fractured relationship, or a wayward child, don’t ever stop shedding those tears. Don’t let your spouse or a rebellious child make you feel guilty for caring, for crying, and for praying.
Our loving Father keeps a record of our tears – and stores those tears in a bottle. When He cares that much about our tears, then we have no reason to feel shame.
When we stifle those tears, we become hard. When we continually refuse to cry, we’re not acknowledging that there is pain or heartache. We build a wall around us – keeping others away. No wonder we find it difficult to develop close relationships with others, because we are unable to identify our true feelings.
Many years after my friend had learned to stifle those tears, she recognized that her response to her spouse had hurt her much more than it hurt him. She reckoned with the fact that their marriage certainly hadn’t improved due to her lack of tears.
The Road Back to Tears
It was going to be a long road back, but she determined to take those steps and allow her heart to feel pain and grief. Instead of allowing her spouse to dictate her emotions, she decided she was going to work toward becoming a woman of caring and of tears.
Stifling the flame of joy and tenderness will result in a lack of luster in our lives. Refusing to feel pain so the tears won’t come will result in developing a veneer that hides the true person underneath. Allow tears to mellow you instead of managing you. Use tears to express emotion and not manipulation. You’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier you.
And those tears? He will keep collecting them in His bottle – because He cares about those tears – and you.