Let me ask you a question: When is the last time you cried? And I mean, really cried. Like, Snot running down your face, can’t catch your breath or form words, sobbing.
Maybe you cried because someone you loved passed away. Maybe you cried because your kid went to their first day of kindergarten or graduated high school. Maybe you cried because you were laughing too hard and it spiraled out of control until you peed your pants and had to change clothes. (If that hasn’t happened to you, then it hasn’t happened to me either.)
But when is the last time you cried because someone hurt your feelings?
This week, I cried because I got my feelings hurt. It took me almost 24 hours to cry it all out.
Obviously, I’ve had my feelings hurt plenty of times as an adult. But for whatever reason, the intensity of emotion I felt hit me like a ton of bricks. And I cried. Hard.
As adults, it seems like it’s OK for us to cry about things like death, kids and weak bladders. It’s common and acceptable because those things are “normal” and easy to relate to. Society knows the appropriate response, and you’ll find that women come out in droves for these things, rallying around you to hug your neck, share their own stories and lift you up.
There are casseroles and long hugs when someone passes. People will hold you close and pat your back and your sobbing is acceptable because loss is hard. Women can be silent while they hold another women crying over the loss of a loved one, because silence in that situation is appropriate. There are no awkward silences when mourning.
When kids go to school and your tears come so quickly at the thought your little person heading into the big bad world, there is an army of mamas there to hold you up. They tell you stories, they assure you your little angel will stand out among the other little hellions and they promise you that your kid’s teacher will love them as much as you do, all while you cry like a hot mess in your yoga pants and oversized graphic T-shirt.
And when you laugh too hard at a joke that you end up in tears and wet your pants, it's completely acceptable to share your embarrassment with the women in your circle because you know they’ll laugh with you and perhaps find themselves in the same situation some day.
But hurt feelings? That's not something we as adults are supposed cry about anymore. In fact, we start teaching our kids at pretty young ages to be "tough."
But sometimes that’s not enough.
Sometimes we have to cry about our hurt feelings, too. Sometimes we have to let it out and release the frustration, hurt, anger and sometimes feelings of betrayal that come along with having our feelings hurt.
The hardest part about crying over hurt feelings is that there aren’t usually many people there to hold you during that time, because we’ve conditioned ourselves to handle this type of crying privately.
We’ve taught ourselves that we should be tough, so when we cry over our hurt feelings we aren’t only letting ourselves down, but we are showing our weakness.
But here’s the thing. It is OK to cry over having your feelings hurt. It’s OK to let the snot run and let the sobs shake you.
It’s OK to admit when we cry over our feelings. It doesn’t make us weak. In fact, in my opinion, it’s quite the opposite. Because when our feelings can be hurt, it means we are human.
A strong person isn’t a person who doesn’t cry; a strong person cries, sheds tears and then gets up and fights.