Your Tears: No Apology Necessary

Sometimes when I’m with a client she’ll begin to cry and then say something like this:

I’m sorry.

I didn’t expect to do this.

I feel like I dumped all over you.

I don’t know what’s come over me.

I don’t usually act like this.

Of course, crying isn’t the only way my clients express themselves.

They also talk and reflect. Tell their stories. Explore possibilities. Discover emerging desires. Laugh. Ponder. Play with expressive arts. Take actions that support what truly matters to them in life and work.

It’s all good stuff. Including the crying.

Yet it’s not unusual for any of us to initially feel vulnerable about letting down our guards and showing our emotions this way. When we cry in front of others we may feel at our most vulnerable. It can be a tender and fragile place.

But the sweet truth of tears is that they also have the power to pave the way for releasing, healing, hoping and moving forward. So this is what I tell my clients when they apologize for their tears:

Your tears are a gift to me.

I’m honored that you feel safe enough to shed them in my presence.

Page from my art journal; words by Maya Angelou: “Just as hope rings through laughter, it can also shine through tears.’

And if you were here with me today and needed to shed a tear, I would say the same thing to you.

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12 thoughts on “Your Tears: No Apology Necessary

  1. I like this post. It’s so true. You are a special person and I think you make it easy for people to let their guard down…mainly because you make them feel safe about doing it. That’s a gift:~)

  2. I always tell people tears are such a blessing. I was raised to not emote so imagine how it is for me now, allowing myself to feel and to laugh loudly and cry and hug… long hugs. I don’t know how my family can stand me now that I am like this! *Big smile*

    Your art journal page rocks. I love poetry wherever it pops up.

    Happy Art Every Day Month!

    • I imagine your family delights in you, Julie! You sound delightful and full of the zest for life. I’m a big hugger too. I try to remember Virginia Satir’s minimum daily requirements for hugs: 4 for survival, 8 for maintenance, 12 for growth. On days I get 12 I am humming.

  3. I actually love the feeling of a good hardy cry. It relaxes the body and helps me to shake some of the stress. It feels so cleansing.

    A counselor asked me once, “What are the tears saying?” I’ve kept this question with me and pull it out to respond to tears, anger, jealousy, excitement, and any combination of fear-based or love-based emotions.

    It is so wonderful that you provide a safe place for people to explore their feelings and ideas.

    You are a gift!

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