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Crying Our Eyes Out

Recently a conflict management coaching client told me she had “cried her eyes out” about a dispute she is having with a co-worker. I have used this same expression myself when I’ve been extremely upset. On this occasion – hearing my client describe her reaction – I was struck by how dramatic this phrase is. It says so much about the depth of feelings experienced – and even the length of time expended in a state of distress.

Of course, we don’t really cry our eyes out. But, the symbolism is poignant and I began to wonder about what the idiom really reflects. Is it about not being able to see anymore? Is it about losing something visual like ‘seeing’ the other person as we want her or him to be? Is it about having to change our vision of ourselves or them? Or, what else might it be?

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to answer the following questions by considering a conflict situation that was or is difficult for you, such as you, metaphorically, said or would say you “cried your eyes out”.

  • What is or was the situation?
  • What is or was most devastating about this situation such that you “cried your eyes out” (or would say this idiom describes your reaction to the situation)?
  • What three words describe the depth of your emotions about this conflict?
  • What stopped the tears – literally or figuratively – eventually?
  • When you stopped crying – literally or figuratively – what new vision do you have about the situation?
  • What might you have lost sight of in this conflict?
  • What new vision do you have about the other person?
  • What new vision do you have about yourself?
  • What else do you see now that you didn’t when you “cried your eyes out” (or felt like you could “cry your eyes out”)?
  • What do you realize now that you consider how you experienced this conflict that reflects the symbolism of saying you “cried your eyes out” or feeling as though you could?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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