The Blog

Crying Alone: Lessons from the Playground

How we manage our emotions today are ghosts of what we were taught.

I swear, living next to an elementary school is one of the best things that’s happened to me. Despite the midnight snow clearing and periodic school bells, every time I step outside of my house I’m greeted with a new lesson, which sometimes involves crying.

…. Be weird, no one cares. This includes walking in circles alone and mumbling to one’s self.

…. Run as fast as you can, feel the wind in your hair and laugh and laugh and laugh.

… Make up the rules as you go.

Today as I walked by, a young girl was standing by herself, abandoned on the recess field, pressed against the fence. As I got closer, I saw a teacher approaching, asking her to join the rest of the class. “I’m crying”, she responded, pressing further into the fence.

Her teacher’s response? A flat “Well, you can walk and cry. Come on. We have to get inside.”

I was horrified. My first instinct was to judge the shit out of that teacher. She shouldn’t have to cry in front of others? What if her face is red? Or her eyes? What a MONSTER. She didn’t even get down to her level and ask her what had happened? Given her a hug?

And then I got to thinking…

What should the teacher have done? Should she have stopped everything for this child to cry and talk about all the ways she was hurting? Sequester her in a corner where she can continue to feel ashamed of her tears? Or can she process her emotions on the walk, arrive a little bleary eyed, and realize that just because she was hurting, it doesn’t mean she needs to be ashamed.

She can walk and cry. And she can know that she has a few minutes with her teacher, walking hand-in-hand, to talk about what happened and how she’s feeling. She can be offered support that doesn’t dramatize or push aside her reaction. She can arrive, smiling yet tender. Cared for, seen, heard, and over it, or still in it. Without shame, without blame. And just like that, she’s off on her next adventure.

When did we forget that crying is natural and that emotions are safe? Perhaps we didn’t forget, perhaps it was taught out of us. How do we treat ourselves and others around us when we’re feeling deep grief or sadness or rejection? Do we feel powerful? Seen? Heard? HEALED?

Instead of stuffing, filing or pushing our feelings away. Instead of blaming and shaming our feelings away, what other choices do we have? None of these pathways {reject or regret} satisfy the core hurt. So what can we do instead?

We can walk and cry.


Dog treats-When grit and enlightenment aren’t enough-Jo Tucker-#braveblogging, blog, coaching, consistency, desire, forgiveness, intentions, new post, resilience, self love

When grit and enlightenment aren’t enough

I’m doing this new thing. I’ve come to the end of the rope with some of my self-destructive habits. I knew it was time to make a change when I slipped from anger to apathy. It happened in the process of trying not to beat myself up for slogging away in the same old ways and attempting to show myself a bit of fucking compassion. It back-fired. Instead of compassion, I absolve myself of my own actions and quickly became apathetic… and pathetic.

This might sound a bit bizarre, because self compassion and understanding is something that I work with clients on. But, it’s also very very human. We all have days in which we just bury our feelings in chips. Or bludgeon ourselves with ridiculous storylines about how immensely and profoundly fucked we are to not be able to JUST. Get. Our. Shit. Together.

In those soul searching nights, I’ve been searching for the secret button. The secret refrain or hack that was going to take me from conscious awareness to my desired next level: Habit Busting Mastery: Level Infinity. This could take me from knowing the places I desire growth, and choosing growth over stuckness every dang time. With ease, preferably on the beach- cocktail in hand.

So I’ve been on this quest and I’ve come to understand, finally and begrudgingly, that there is no secret pill. And perhaps, there is no Habit Busting Mastery: Level Infinity.

But I have learned a couple of things and I’m experimenting with my methods. I invite you to do the same. Here’s what I have up my sleeve:

  1. Be kind always. this is not a fight or a battle. What does it mean to actual show yourself some compassion? My own coach gave me an excellent analogy. Imagine you were driving with your co-pilot and you miss your exit off the highway. Which gets you back on track faster: ranting and yelling and swearing at the co-pilot? Screaming at them like they’re a fucking failure and complete shit at everything they do? Nah. Breathe, sister. Because…
  2. This is human. Humans the world over are not doing the things they know are best for them like… always. At least you’re aware. And maybe, just maybe… it’s kinda a funny thing that we do. Maybe we can see this in a more playful light. And with that, don’t simply brush it under the rug as an oopsie daisy moment, but get curious…
  3. Stop and cop a feeling. When we are faced with making a decision that would lead to growth, or when we’re at the other end of a series of less than stellar decisions, feel all the feelings. A brilliant sister of mine provides this inspired script: I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.

And then I thought to myself, what if I truly accepted that this was hard for me. Not because of me, but because it’s hard. And what if I truly accepted that I cannot do this on my own. Overtime, I’ve seen that I operate well in a container. A container that is designed and held for me, by someone else. A 21 day detox, an exercise program, an external challenge with external accountability, a coach. And what if I decided that not being able to do it alone was okay. And further to that acceptance— what tools can I use to support myself from a place of strength and resilience?

treat yo'self

Nom nom treats.

I’ve decided that I’m a puppy and am trained through reward. I’ve done the research, and I know that I am not motivated by fear or consequences. The pain method? Hard pass… I just get angry. So from this knowing, I’m designing my own rewards system. And like a puppy being trained, I am not holding a grudge or making up some story about how if I were a real grown up I could do this on grit and enlightenment alone.

I’ll be implementing my super-science-sophisticated points system around here in a few days so check back in and hold my feet to the fire!
Does any of this ring true to you? Do you reward yourself with gold stars? If so, how? Inspire us all with your brilliance in the comments below.

Do you need a little help with some of your habits? Let’s work together. I’ve got a few free 45minute sessions available. Book yours here.

This blog is a part of the #braveblogging project from Makeness Media who are awesome. 

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