Why are we ashamed to cry in public?

Holding back tears in a public place because you don’t want people to know your upset, or ask questions.

Really excited about something and just want to scream and dance but can’t because people will think you’re crazy.

Super angry at your spouse but just give them the evil eye because you can’t have an argument in public for fear of what others will think.

Seeing a theme here?

Showing emotions in public is something we fear. We worry about what other people will think. Whether we’re sad, happy or angry we don’t want to show it. Then when we see someone who is showing strong emotions in public we ignore or walk away.

Why is this? Why is showing emotion so shameful?

The other day something happened that I was clearly upset about it in a public place. It was nearly impossible to hide it, but I definitely tried. I was embarrassed to be so upset over this thing. I’m learning that feeling these emotions and expressing them is good for you. There I was at a crossroads of wanting to just run away to my car and cry, but also wanting to sit with these emotions.

To be more specific I was at my Barre3 studio, and was auditioning to be an instructor….again. This was my last shot to get it right and start training to be certified at the end of July. Unfortunately I was just not ready. This is something I truly want and something I know I can do, but more than that it’s something I feel I’m meant to do. When it didn’t go the way I was expecting I was disappointed in myself.

What happened? What am I doing wrong? Can I fix this? Will this ever happen for me?

I auditioned right before a class I was planning to attend, and I was torn on whether I should stay for class or get out of there. I opted to stay because being in that studio just makes me feel good. It’s a place where I can work out my body, but also get clarity within my mind. This is likely why I want to be an instructor so badly, because I want to help others feel the way I do when I’m in class. Swollen and red eyes, I decided to stay because I knew it would help me feel better.

I was ashamed of being so upset and wanted to put on a strong face that I’d be fine. It was a full class so there were a lot of women walking around. Out of the few women who I ran into before class while sitting in the bathroom or while I was in the studio before class texting my husband and friends, only one woman asked me if I was ok.
Yes, I was embarrassed and didn’t want to talk to anyone, but I appreciated her acknowledgement so much. I kind of wanted to explain myself, but all I could say was “I’m not ok, but I will be. Thank you for asking.”

Then I wondered if I would have said something if I saw a stranger visibly upset before class. Would I have the courage to ask if they were ok?

As much as I’d like to think I would, I honestly think I would have ignored her. Talk about disappointment in myself! Just a few words can be so much to someone and I would have been so uncomfortable in that situation that I wouldn’t have said anything. Geez!!!

How do we change this about our society?

How do we embrace our own emotions?

How do we let others know it’s ok to show emotions?

Unfortunately I don’t have the answer because this is something I’m clearly working on.

I’m starting with myself, with being ok to show my own emotions. It’s also something I am strongly trying to teach my boys. At the ages of 5 and 3 they have very strong emotions and I don’t want to hinder them from showing them at all. I let them cry, I let them yell and get angry.

Especially because I’m raising boys I want them to know it’s ok to cry and it’s not something to be shameful about. I also want them to be comfortable around others when they are upset. When someone is upset in our house we work on first asking if they are ok, then asking what we can do to make it better.

I saw this just today as my 3 year old got hurt and my 5 year old came over and asked if he was ok. Then we all sat on the floor and my 5 year old put his hand on his little brother’s back and rubbed it. Then he said he wanted to be silly to make his little brother happy. If my heart could have exploded with joy it would have right there!

Let’s not hide our emotions, let’s feel them in all their ugliness and all their joy! Don’t hide, don’t run away, don’t scroll on your phone to numb the pain. Feel it, embrace it and then learn from it!

When you see others showing emotion in public whether they are adults or children, give them a smile, ask them if they are ok and acknowledge their emotion. I was appreciate that someone asked if I was ok, I didn’t give her my life story or say what was wrong, but even though I was embarrassed I was thankful that she asked me.

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