An unfortunately common thing in our society is looking down upon those who openly express their feelings and emotions. Example number one: crying. Crying is so often seen as a sign of weakness, of someone who doesn't have their life fully together, or someone who is a 'mess' or 'unstable'.
The fact of the matter is, this society even looks down on babies for crying in public. People believe that babies should be more well behaved, quiet, seen and not heard, and that crying- their way of expressing their needs and wants- is unacceptable, and uncomfortable for everyone around them.
This carries into adulthood, where this ideal is most commonly applied to men. Even in private places, such as their own home, men cannot cry. If they do, they are labeled as weak, too emotional, not strong enough, and lacking masculinity. As mentioned in a previous article, feminism does not just benefit female identifying people- it allows men to be more openly expressive with their feelings and emotions. There is nothing wrong with a man crying for any reason, whether it be something severe like the loss of a loved one, or something "silly" like their favorite childhood movie.
Male or female, crying is good for you. The tears you shed actually contain stress hormones, so when they are leaving your body, you are self-regulating your emotional chemicals. Crying also triggers the release of oxytocin, a "feel good" chemical that can soothe your brain and bring you a feeling of calm while in emotional turmoil.
Now, crying is great. But if you believe you are crying excessively, it may be time to look for help. At the end of this article is a list of helplines and resources if you feel you need help. Crying is good and healthy, but you don't have to do it alone!
The next time you see someone crying, or someone has the signs of post cry (red, puffy eyes, sniffled, smudged makeup), ask if they're okay. But don't dwell, and don't tease. I feel like we all know the fear of it being obvious that we were just crying. We've all splashed cold water on our face in the bathroom. And the next time you cry- don't be ashamed. Whether it be in the movies, at work, at home, and for whatever reason, it may be, never be ashamed to feel things as openly as you need. Cry on, friends.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: 1-888-333-2377
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255