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  • November 20, 2017, 03:23:31 PM

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Author Topic: Public tears  (Read 3632 times)

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RubyCat

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Public tears
« on: October 16, 2017, 06:57:28 PM »
I found myself in a situation a couple of months ago and, though I muddled through the best I could, I wonder if there was a "right" way I should have handled it.

I'd been under a lot of stress: new job, family issues, taking too much on, etc.  I was attending Mass and during the sermon, the Deacon said something that I related to and all of a sudden, silent tears began to flow.  I had left my purse in my car so I had no tissues.  I didn't want to leave and bring attention to myself and, also, I found his sermon helpful and comforting and didn't really want to leave, but it felt very awkward just the same, as I dried my eyes with the back of my hand.  It doesn't help that I have a very fair complexion and when I cry, my face and eyes get red and I look awful. I'm hoping that nobody noticed.  Nobody seemed to notice, or maybe they're just polite. 

I keep wondering: should I have slipped out the back door and tried to compose myself?  Did I do okay by trying to pull myself together and then quietly leaving after the Mass?  I've got some trying days ahead and, although I hope I don't hit such a low spot again, knowing the right way to conduct myself would help. 

(Fixed typos)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 05:57:06 AM by RubyCat »

gramma dishes

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2017, 07:02:09 PM »
Of course you did okay!  I doubt if most people noticed at all and if some did?  Well, clearly they understood that whatever triggered your tears was personal and they were polite enough to know not to intrude.  No one will remember beyond a week or two that it ever happened.

You were clearly not expecting that to happen.  Maybe next time, you bring your purse with you and you'll feel a little better prepared.   :)

Elisabunny

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 07:15:09 PM »
Exiting would have just called more attention to yourself.   In that situation (which I have been in many times), the most discreet thing to do is exactly what you did- stay quiet and wipe your tears when you can.
You must remember this: a ghoti is still a fish...

Winterlight

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2017, 07:33:12 PM »
I think you were fine. You weren't bawling or making a scene.

If I'd been sitting near you I would have quietly passed you a pack of tissues since I usually carry them, but if I didn't have any I'd have pretended I didn't notice.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

andi

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2017, 07:46:44 PM »
Hugs.  Been in bus same situation and done the same thing. Left as soon as hymns were started when everyone stood.

Kiwipinball

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 08:36:40 PM »
I also frequently cry during worship. Sometimes they're happy tears (just really moved) sometimes not so much. It's not uncommon during service in my experience. Some people might try to comfort you (which you can either accept or indicate that you're fine) but I wouldn't be embarrassed and you don't need to leave.

pattycake

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 10:38:43 PM »
I think you were fine. You weren't bawling or making a scene.

If I'd been sitting near you I would have quietly passed you a pack of tissues since I usually carry them, but if I didn't have any I'd have pretended I didn't notice.

Been there, done that, from both sides. Plus, in my church, everyone tends to sit in the same places week to week, and so if two other tender-hearted people are sitting near me, I usually have tissues to hand for them!

RubyCat

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2017, 06:00:27 AM »
Thanks for the reassurance. I clearly wasn't at my best and had been wondering if there was a better way. And, though it hasn't been a problem since, I now keep my purse with me  ;)

NFPwife

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2017, 09:58:45 AM »
You were fine.

I also have been on both sides of this. If I saw you crying and I had a tissue or clean handkerchief, I would have passed it to you. I've also reached over and squeezed someone's hand, if it seemed appropriate. Either way I have nothing but kindness, empathy, and prayers for you if I see you crying. (I'm a crier and I cry if I'm happy, sad, angry, moved, or if they're serving donuts after Mass.)

If I don't have a tissue or handkerchief, I catch tears in my nails or wipe my tears with my hair. When I have a tissue, I put it right at my lower lashes and catch the tears before they ruin my makeup.

TurtleDove

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2017, 10:26:42 AM »
First, hugs to you! I think you handled this well.

The only time I view "public crying" or public displays of emotion as negative is when the person is clearly seeking attention, and not because of an acute issue. For example, publicly screaming in pain after being hit by a car is "normal" in the circumstances. Quietly crying on the bus because you are grieving the loss of your husband (or even your dog) is "normal." Showing emotion when a speech or movie moves you is "normal." Depending on my relationship to or knowledge of another person's struggles, I may reach out a comforting hand or offer a hug in these situations, or I may allow them to have some "public privacy" and not let them know I noticed their emotion.

Conversely, wailing and sobbing and looking to ensure people are seeing you do this at the mall because your boyfriend broke up with you last week is not okay in my book, and is negative attention seeking that I would not want to reward.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2017, 10:50:42 AM »
RubyCat, I think you did fine.  If anyone had asked you could have said the sermon was so moving that the tears just flowed.

((HUGS)).

DaDancingPsych

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2017, 10:55:52 AM »
I think that church is one of the places where we are allowed to be emotional like this. If you were sobbing and making all kinds of noise, then yes, excusing yourself would have been better. But silent tears are ok. I agree, that the only polite reaction that others should have had to you is maybe quietly hand you a tissue, but otherwise it sounds like everyone was being polite.

Now, if you were at a restaurant with friends for a fun night out and the tears were somehow triggered, I would have said that you should have stepped out.

#borecore

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2017, 11:29:34 AM »
I don't think crying is ever something to be ashamed of. And I think it's par for the course in certain settings, including church, that someone might be moved to tears once in a while.

There's one hymn my church sings occasionally that brings tears to my eyes every dang time. I wipe them away with my hand or sleeve.

Not to get too off-topic, but regarding DaDancingPsych's last example about crying when out with friends, I need my friends to be cool with me crying, not because it happens often but because I want friends with empathy, and I believe being comfortable with occasional crying is part of that.

NFPwife

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2017, 11:32:09 AM »
I don't think crying is ever something to be ashamed of. And I think it's par for the course in certain settings, including church, that someone might be moved to tears once in a while.

There's one hymn my church sings occasionally that brings tears to my eyes every dang time. I wipe them away with my hand or sleeve.

Not to get too off-topic, but regarding DaDancingPsych's last example about crying when out with friends, I need my friends to be cool with me crying, not because it happens often but because I want friends with empathy, and I believe being comfortable with occasional crying is part of that.

I agree. On both points. I associate a certain hymn with my late aunt, who sang it beautifully, and I cry every time I hear it. I also expect my friends to have enough emotional intelligence and empathy that they can handle an occasional cry.

TurtleDove

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Re: Public tears
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2017, 11:38:04 AM »
I agree friends should have empathy, but that goes both ways. Being suddenly emotional because of a sudden or current major problem during a girls night out should be met with caring empathy. Hijacking someone’s bachelorette party by ensuring the focus is on (general) you and your continuing self-created problems is showing a lack of empathy for the friend who actually should be celebrated (the bride).

Being able to freely share emotion is important in friendships. Some people use their emotion in manipulative ways - that type of “public tears” is inappropriate in my opinion.