“Crying does not indicate you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.” – Charlotte Brontë
Have you ever felt uncomfortable, vulnerable and embarrassed when you cry? Many people worry that if they cry, others will think they are being dramatic, “losing it”, or can’t handle stress. Additionally, many people feel self-conscious about crying because they believe they will be perceived as “weak”, when they are just stressed out or sad. We can all relate to that! While most of us feel vulnerable when we cry, vulnerability does not equal weakness.
If one continuously stifles the desire to cry or to openly express their feelings, the pain andpressure that builds up over years may lead to much less productive ways of regulating emotional expression. As a therapist, I have seen this internal turmoil lead to severe anxiety, self-harm, substance abuse, defensiveness, and aggression towards people and things. I would reason that one suppresses many other expressions if they hold back tears on a regular basis.
On the contrary, have you ever let yourself have a good cry when you really needed it, andrealized few things in life feel more cathartic? This is the positive side of crying. Crying relieves stress and helps us to acknowledge we have something to confront. By crying when you feel you need to, you can intermittently release the tension and negative feelings inside, instead of letting them build up over time. It is a way to confront the pressures of our everyday life, as well as open us to the idea that there may be something we need to address.
This is not to say that crying is a cure-all, but that it is just one of many healthy ways to manage negative emotions and experiences as they come our way. Other healthy coping behaviors include: eating healthy, physical activity, talking openly with someone, deep breathing (or other relaxation techniques), and seeking therapy. You may be a person who doesn’t often feel the need to cry, but these strategies can help everyone stay balanced and not let stress build up over time.
Other perks of letting it out through your tears:
– Detoxify! Studies show tears contain toxins that build up in our body from stress.
– Lubricates dry eyes
– Lowers chances of diseases linked to stress such as high blood pressure and ulcers.
– Stimulates production of endorphins (like exercise!)
So, please allow yourself be vulnerable and in touch with your true feelings whether it involves crying or not. It will lead you to a more fulfilling life. While everybody may not understand your tears, you do not need to explain or apologize for crying. We know it is HEALTHY!