Opening The Valve
After tennis icon Roger Federer’s final pro match last Friday in the Laver Cup in London, something beautiful happened.
He cried, and so did Rafael Nadal, his doubles match partner.
With Federer’s retirement announcement earlier this month, this final moment was coming. After a few post-match emotional words, the audience responded with an outpouring of heartfelt applause.
Rafael Nadal, who has been alongside Federer for much of their parallel careers let his tears flow, too and later stated that with Federer’s departure, an “important part of his life is leaving too because all the moments he has been next or in front of me in important moments in my life.” (CNN)
What this moment is showing us is that it’s okay to cry, and it’s especially okay for men to cry. In fact, it feels good. We need it. It’s healthy for us all.
The very act of seeing those two tennis stars show their emotions is therapeutic for men.
Some commentary has called this moment the human side of the sport. Sure, this is true. Men are indeed humans, but let’s acknowledge that showing emotions without having to explain them, especially in moments like this, is also a good thing.
We need to see more of this kind of thing because we know that athletes, and anyone who puts themselves out in front of the world this way has likely had more private tears than we know about.
It’s the tears and emotions we see in public that get our attention because we see emotions in real time, and it reminds us that we are humans with those same emotions.
The other day, I was having lunch with a new co-worker. We started talking about our healing journeys and before I knew it, I was crying. Hard. We had created a space to be vulnerable men with emotions. Just that short time of opening the emotional valve helped as I had started the day in a bit of a slump.
The rest of the day I wavered between happy and sad, decompressing a busy weekend with lots of heightened emotions. I kept going back to what my new co-worker JC said at the table when I was crying: It’s about our intentions and how we communicate with our hearts.
Once that channel is open, the healing begins. The healing begins for ourselves, and then we are able to help others, with the intentions of our heart flowing forward to others, then back to us.
It’s a beautiful cycle and one all we human—human men—can benefit from.
This Post is republished on Medium.
Python credit: Unsplash