I’m afraid to cry in a crowded train

When adults express emotions just like a child its looked at as a sign of weakness. I’ve come to see it more as completely the opposite of that. It’s a strength. Here’s why.

Imagine, I feel dread or grief like I am right now on a train with several people around me. I can hold it in – not express it at all and you know I’m being very nice because I’m not disturbing those nice people around me.. they can keep going about their business in their own personal oblivious bubble as usual. Isn’t that what a real grown up man should be doing? Be considerate to others and hold my emotions in? I don’t want to show any uncomfortable feelings to the outside world and that’s what I’m doing. I’ll even take it a step further – I can tell myself I don’t even have negative emotions. Now I can start to express the opposite and have a big smile on my face. If I repeat it enough, so I start to really believe it: there’s no grief, there’s no feelings of dread in me… there’s no grief, there’s no feelings of dread in me.. None at all! None at all! None at all!

After all, isn’t that thinking all just a skewed thought process? A big human made illusion? Not really real?

What a great philosophy – imagine that… like a puff of smoke – all gone and low and behold I don’t feel bad after all!! What’s to feel bad about now? It’s a new day, I can smile, smile, smile, smile!

It’s not working – why’s it not working? More positive affirmations, that’s got to be it:

happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile.. happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile.. happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile.. happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile, smile..

The affirmations seem to be doing something but why does jaw still feel tight? It’s tighter than before, my teeth are clenched and that big smile on my face is starting to look clearly psychotic!

The fact is, in my mind, I don’t care too much about disturbing the people around me. I even think it’s good for them (so I tell myself). What’s stopping me must be fear. And that fear is telling me that I do care about disturbing people, otherwise I wouldn’t be afraid. I’m afraid that if I disturb them I’ll be judged – judged as a weak person. A weak person who can’t contain his feelings. But I’m not a weak person, am I! Weakness doesn’t exist – it’s all subjective – it’s just in my mind, no?

You know the funny thing is, if I really felt that I’m not a weak person and I really knew wholeheartly that I’m a strong person, no judgement could ever affect me. The whole world might think I’m a pathetic weakling but if I really felt strong in myself – if I was actually strong, then nothing could ever falter that certainty. So the truth is I feel weak and because I feel weak… I am weak after all. That’s the feeling I need to experience – being weak – being incapable.

One way I could experience that is to open myself up to the judgement that I’m afraid will confirm my weakness. Where’s the best place to get this judgement – a peak hour city train would be perfect! So if I cried like a baby, really cried out, bellowed and screamed for mummy – I’d be then totally in the feeling of being weak. I’d be sure to be experience it precisely because of that core belief imprinted in me is that crying in front of people is a sign of weakness. They’d be no getting away from it. I’m showing all the signs of weakness – I’m finally feeling weak!

And why would I even consider doing this?

There’s definitely an emotion in me about being incapable. Because I don’t want to experience it – because I’m afraid to, I don’t want to own it, I don’t want to admit it – I project signs of strength to myself and to others wherever possible to cover it. This is not authentic. I’m not being true to myself. This is not me. And all this covering the fact is after all is more of a confirmation of weakness than fully experiencing that emotion for real. To experience an emotion I’ve frozen inside of me – is to put it back in motion and release its grip on me and all those false behaviours and thoughts aimed at denying that I feel weak.

So, I need so much more strength to act like a baby as an adult than acting my age.

Experiencing emotions like a baby is actually a sign of strength.

Am I willing to do this? Are you?

2 thoughts on “I’m afraid to cry in a crowded train

  1. Peter Hagerty

    Love this post.
    There is so much certainty in society in general that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness… but why? Because it is apparently…

    I recall a business meeting where one of my shareholders cried openly, weeping. My business partner tried to console her, she told him not to and affirmed that this was her way of processing the stress she was experiencing after we presented our intentions of what we intended to do with the company. It was exciting stuff, but exciting can be stressful.

    A few minutes later she was in flow and contributing highly valuable material to our company. Emotional flow often equals creative flow.

    1. David Wall Post author

      That makes a lot of sense Peter – thanks for that. I’ve noticed in myself that the pretence of being infallible is actually the most infallible part of me. If we’re all running around acting like nothing is affecting us – that we’re these emotionless beings just doing things robotically, sucking in any emotion that makes us “vulnerable” to the world around us – it’s no wonder we have so much disease and dis-ease, stress and anxiety and all the variants of addictive things to help us suppress emotions. It’s so ingrained that it’s mean’t to be a “normal” way of living. It will be a long road for me to start de-normalising that pattern. If I plunge, step or just tippee-toe in, tomorrow will tell.


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