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Originally published on, October 1, 2020

Standing in the living room, fighting back tears, talking about everything that she was going through. More and more, it just kept coming… and I couldn’t help but wonder: Why are you holding it in so hard? Don’t you feel like crying? Don’t you feel like you need to let yourself go a little, and get the pain out?

She sniffed…. pulling it back in, right through her nose. “I can’t do that,” she said. “I can’t let my kids see me breaking down.” But I had to wonder… Really? Is that the way it works?

There seems to be a general consensus in our world that down is a one-way street. Like once you go down, you stay down. Once you’re broken, you’re broken. But if that’s true, what are tears for?

Are we really helping ourselves by holding back tears? Are we better people when we grit our teeth all the time, and bear it? Or let me go a little deeper with that: Are we better people when we give off the impression that we are ok?

Let me ask you two really serious questions. I do hope you see them as serious…

1) How much do you hold back in this world?

How much do you try to make it look like you’re ok? Even happy?

2) Who do you have in this world, that you can cry to? To whom can you talk about EVERYTHING, and I do mean everything? Yes, it’s ok if you have different friends for different topics in your life. But do you have people - at least one person - in whose arms you can break down, and trust them that they will hold you and love you even when you are broken?

Breaking down is not a one-way street. And it doesn’t leave irreversible damage, either. The sooner that becomes the consensus, the sooner we can grow. And heal. When I was 33 years old I remember lying down on the ground - outside, where everyone could see me - and pretty much declaring that I just couldn’t hold myself up anymore. But here I am, seven years later. Children cry all the time, and they can laugh moments later. Can you even imagine a baby holding it in? Couples fight, and then they make up. This is a sign of a healthy relationship. Countries might go to war, but eventually they make peace. Crises come, and crises go. There is nothing wrong with breaking down. It doesn’t mean you’re dying, and it doesn’t mean you’re going to stay broken forever. It's about time that it stops meaning you'll lose your reputation.

A famous drummer once told us, back in college (and I’m sorry that I don’t remember his name), that you don’t sing the blues when you are sad. You sing them when you are healing from your sadness.

So who do you have in this world, that you can cry to?

Photo by Josue Escoto, Unsplash


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