What It Means To Cry
Contrary to popular beliefs about being strong, it is okay to cry.
Next time you tear up-- no matter the cause-- don't say your sorry; you need not apologize for expressing emotions in a vulnerable state. In fact, doing so is a symbol of strength.
Cognitive behavioral therapist Jennifer Taitz confronts the casual worries that come with crying as she meets several people who are concerned about the what-ifs that arise. She nailed it with what to consider genuine tears and what is forced, and why the latter aren't recommended nor beneficial as they are not truly symbolic of emotion.
"At times, we may try to work ourselves to tears, and in such cases, crying may not prove as useful," she said. "Did your tears arise quickly or are you trying to create them to prove a point?"
Taitz went on to say, "Living a good life is hard when you are acting out a part."
She included that swallowing tears to avoid embarrassment is also not suggested. To cry is most useful, and you get the most out of it, when it is relevant. To save your sob for later, serving as an aftershock, won't hardly help the predicament that led you to tear up in the first place.
In this situation, many people are so scared to cry at work for fear of risking their job that they hold back the emotions until they get home.
"The culture of 'no tears at work' is just not good for humans," said the founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Steven Hayes. "We are emotional creatures. Better to change the culture than to sit atop those who express that fact openly."
Well-known Burmese monk, Sayadaw U Pandita is a master of Vipassana meditation. He is one who stands strong in saying emotions are important and to be brought out to their fullness. To suppress them will not help anyone involved, especially yourself.
"Every time you cry, you should cry your eyes out," he said. "That way you'll get the best relief."
Crying is defined as an innate, physiological experience that serves important, evolutionary functions. Those who think their reactions are "too much" or it's embarrassing to cry are feeling guilt, shame, and anxiety, and these feelings are secondary to the primary emotion, which is sadness. Primary emotions are what we feel first; secondary emotions are reactionary judgments to the primary.
Next time you feel a good cry coming on, allow yourself the compassion to feel what you feel without any essence of punishment. To feel is so much more important than to let yourself go numb for fear of what will be thought of you for having emotions. Humans are built to feel; we are often in need of the reminder that we not robots.