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If you can accept that many of your choices and decisions are driven from your inner world then it is critical to know the details of that world and its nature.

This is particularly important for insight seekers, because anything you encounter in the the behaviour of others will be mystery to you if you cannot find the part of yourself that could behave or feel in a similar fashion. Not only will you be puzzled, but it may be difficult to stay with the person demonstrating the puzzling behaviour.

The clearest example, the one I hear most freaks out insight professionals, is people crying in groups. I cannot count the number of times this has been expressed as a concern. It is as if the insight seeker is suddenly alarmed by what h/she may have set in motion, feels responsible for the upset and wants to put it behind h/her as soon as possible. It is also coloured by some basic beliefs about crying that suggest it must be stopped as soon as possible. [Big boys don’t cry!]

Crying is a physiological sign of strong feelings – exactly the kind of feelings we are often seeking to explore – rather than the bland ‘OK’ platitudes that make up most public exchanges. Let’s use self-awareness to explore what we can do when crying occurs.

What would you most like if you were crying? Would you prefer everyone to ignore it/pretend it didn’t happen? That’s our typical response in commercial group work. Often I would prefer it if someone said: “I notice you’ve had a strong reaction to something. Here is a tissue [if the tears need mopping up]. When you’re ready, if you’d like to tell us a bit about what happened, I’d love to hear about it.”

This creates both an opening for important information and an opportunity for the cryer to say, “No thanks, its just something personal.” In my experience, 99/100 times people will want to express something of their process and help the group make sense of their tears. People don’t want to look weak, weird or daft.

It’s worth bearing in mind that even if we are uncomfortable with public tears, we may have a safe place where we can cry. Often this is in front of movies. Once this was a truly private haven, when we watched films in the dark on a big screen. Now it is less so, since we may be in our living rooms with other members of the family. My wife never fails to ask: “Are you blubbing?” when we’re watching a tear-jerker. After all, that’s why they’re called tear jerkers…so that we must cry. It’s good for us.

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As a psychologist, psychotherapist and research practitioner of 40 years, I've had the benefit of the experiences of more than 100,000 people around the world. They've talked about their daily lives, hopes, fears, ambitions and needs. These experiences have helped me to contribute to innovations from Beds in Business and the Fast Track for airlines to television drama and online communities. Specialties:Large groups, facilitation, application of psychological theories to commercial issues