Dear Therapist: 'I tend to cry very easily'

By Prateeksha Shetty

Published: Thu 6 May 2021, 12:55 PM

I find myself crying quite easily from a very young age — when people shout at me or even when I’m having a simple argument. I’m worried this might translate to poor work ethic at workplace. How can I work on this?

— Name Withheld

Dear Writer, I can see that you have fair insight into who you are as a person and have recognised being sensitive as an obstacle for personal and professional advancement. As this is a trait inherent to you, it can be modified to a certain degree. I believe that greater self-awareness through mindfulness or reflective writing (journaling) can help you understand what triggers/upsets you. For instance, are you more likely to have an outburst when you argue with someone you love or someone in power? Do you feel rejected or is it the loud tone or words that hurt you? Certain beliefs may also feed your sensitivity-helplessness, self-image, feelings of inferiority or even anxiety.

Traumatic childhood experiences can also make one more sensitive as compared to peers. When you become more aware and analyse the context in which it occurs, you would be able to recognise that you are upset but don’t necessarily act upon it (by crying). You would, in a way, develop a ‘pause’ button, to be able to regulate your emotions better and perhaps vent out to a friend or loved one (in a safe space).

In situations where a conflict or argument is anticipated, you can try rehearsing the conversation and practising better expression of emotions. You could also try expressing your sadness by verbalising the pain. With time, these strategies will come naturally to you.

People’s reactions are not always related to you as a person or the work that you do. Understanding this and learning to detach as required can help you become more confident.

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