People cry for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes you cry out of frustration when you try so hard and fail to achieve what you want. Sometimes you cry out of futility—crying is really the only thing you can do. Sometimes you cry out of despair because you feel lonely, abandoned or rejected. And of course, you cry when life’s tragedies cause you to lose a loved one through a break-up or death. You even cry at the thought that you might lose someone. And you cry when you’re empathizing with someone else who’s suffered these things.
You can tear up, too, when you’re emotionally touched. Something as simple as a heartwarming story on Facebook can trigger tears. Or when something affects you deeply; a friend cried when she met her newborn granddaughter. And who doesn’t cry at weddings? Tears seem to come during life’s most meaningful events. They even come when you’re moved by a thing of beauty, like a painting. A friend cried when she saw the incredible simplicity of a Japanese flower arrangement.
Whether in grief or pain or joy, crying can be good for you. And although it won’t solve any problems, crying can offer a release that makes you feel better. So if you grew up thinking you shouldn’t cry, whether male or female, relax. Let yourself cry. Here’s why:
Crying acknowledges your true feelings. When you let yourself cry, you begin to understand yourself better. You connect with your emotions. You take note of powerful experiences that move you. A friend cried at success stories of people who overcame obstacles to find their true calling in life. She realized that these stories moved her because she had been thwarted her whole life from following an artistic path. She had denied her authentic self because she was taught that she must earn a living and be practical. Being an artist was only acceptable as a hobby. Tears over others’ experiences made her connect with her own.
Crying can help you heal. It relieves tension. It offers a release for your emotions. When you have a real all-out cry—not just a few tears—you feel better afterward. You are calmer, and more able to think through your situation rationally. When you harbor pent up feelings instead, they become toxic and can affect you until you allow yourself to cry them out. Just the physical act of crying alone can have a physiological effect on your body so neurologically, you are changed and your mood is lifted.
Crying can be good for your relationship. You might resist crying in front of others—it used to be a reason for shame. But if you can be free of that shame and allow yourself to show your tears to someone who cares about you, you can strengthen that relationship. A loved one exposed to your tears of sorrow or joy will also be moved. They will begin to understand your experience and what it means to you. They are likely to be compassionate and offer support. They may even open up and share similar experiences with you. When you show someone you love your soft underbelly, you express a trust and faith in them that will surely strengthen the bond between you.
An important note: Crying can also be a red flag and a symptom of depression or other serious illnesses. When this is the care, it’s important to seek professional help.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact