• Ariana Friedlander

I am human, hear me cry!


A few months ago my daughter came downstairs as I was concluding my morning journaling time. Skeptical of the scene, she nimbly sat on the chair instead of snuggling up next to me on the couch.

“What’s that pile of tissues for?” She asked inquisitively.

Debating how to respond, I opted for the truth, “I’ve been crying.”

Naturally, she then asked, “Why?”

After a brief internal debate, again, I opted for the truth and somberly told her, “because sometimes, life is really hard.”

Satisfied with my answers, she came to join me on the couch as I tossed the tissues away.

I didn’t realize until a few years ago that I had a habit of resisting crying. Any time I felt tears coming on I clench my jaw, get a tightness in my throat and stand guard against the invasion of such “negative and weak” feelings.

Even after I became aware of the need to allow myself to feel my emotions, the instinct to block, deflect or stuff them remained resolute. And that’s one of the reasons I value my journaling practice so much. Because, clearly, on this day, I needed to let myself cry and it wasn’t until I started writing that the old guard stood down.

As the words flowed onto the page, my thoughts and feelings came pouring out of me. It was hard, awkward, painful and cathartic. And while I didn’t feel particularly comfortable in the moment, I’m glad I was able to release those feelings from my body. After all, I know from experience that keeping them in leads to dis-ease…

There are two parts of my journaling practice that help me manage such emotions. The first is allowing myself to write, openly, honestly and without a filter. That’s been part of my practice for years. The second is something I’ve developed more recently that I call the voice of compassion. Whereas before I might judge or ridicule myself for having bad or negative feelings, now I simply practice self-compassion. I show myself a tenderness I learned since becoming a mother.

I have come to learn that we all have messy moments and messy feelings. And we all have mechanisms for avoiding or trying to control these feelings, which never works out. I invite you to take some time to reflect on your own relationship with your feelings by following these journaling prompts.

  1. Are there emotions you prefer not to feel? What are they?

  2. How do you handle those emotions when they arise?

  3. How has that been working for you?

  4. What if you allowed yourself to feel through those emotions?

  5. What would it look, feel and sound like to accept your emotions without judgment?

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