You know what’s common between Roger Federer and Hilary Clinton? They cry. In fact, both of them have cried in public and that too without feeling a sense of shame that most attach to it. Their reasons may have been totally different but the reaction to situations was pretty normal. Unfortunately, not everyone gets it. Some people think crying is a sign of weakness while others believe that it’s a weapon that is most-oft used by women to fake or ‘appear’ vulnerable!
The question is WHY? Why is crying confused for weakness? Why can’t we stop confusing tears with weakness? Is it that difficult? We don’t think it is.
We can all make crying at work normal because IT IS NORMAL. We don’t need always to show we are strong when we are miserable and melting on the inside. You might think it’s important because it’s ‘unprofessional’ or too ‘womanly’ to cry. But, who taught us this? What has office decorum and gender norms got to do with how a person feels on the inside? Don’t we all run out of steam? Crying is the most normal response to stressors.
The point we’re trying to make is that it is high time to stop making it a big deal. Some studies say that women cry more than men at work, but doesn’t that also reflect on our society? One where you have to man up and look strong or resilient? But, is that how it should be? Nope!
Now, what if you were in the mood to cry? What would you do? We suggest you think of the following and do as necessary.
Step away and catch up on your breath
Walk out of a heated argument especially when you know tears can roll down any moment. That’s because if you continue to be a part of the conversation, you may not be able to verbalise your thoughts. And that could frustrate you more. However, if you get away, then you will be able to gather your thoughts. Eventually, you will have a much more sound conversation where every emotion is under check.
Whether your colleagues get to know you cried or if you broke down before them, don’t apologise. Don’t say, “I shouldn’t have cried.” Instead say, “I guess you know how deeply I feel about it!” Then laugh it off and get going with your work.
Never pin the blame on anyone
You crying is your response to a situation. It’s not someone else’s doing unless they are stone-hearted enough to beat you out psychologically. Anyway, the thing is just own your tears. Don’t be embarrassed about it.
Now, let’s talk about being in a leadership position and handling emotional colleagues.
- The first thing you should do is normalize crying. If you feel vulnerable then perhaps lead by example and let them know that it doesn’t matter who you are, crying is healthy behaviour. It is an element of self-preservation.
- Practice compassion. Show empathy towards colleagues in their weak moment. Listen to them. Don’t enter the conversation to judge them. When others see you do this, they will learn to be more understanding.
When you do these two things, you are sure to turn a previously toxic work environment into a healthy one. Your colleagues won’t fear being ridiculed for being emotional.
What is your opinion about crying at work? Do you think you need to embrace your vulnerabilities or adopt a new attitude towards crying? Tell us in comments.