Someone once told me that I’m not strong. I cry too much, the person said, and I need to be stronger.
This blog post is about why it is not weak to cry.
I’ve written about my emotions before from a comedic perspective. I am not overly emotional; I’m actually a pretty rational person. Neither do I struggle with depression, but I do cry easily, and I have a lot of feelings.
Sometimes I cry because of good feelings, like an inspiring story. Sometimes I cry because of sad feelings, like losing someone or something I love. Sometimes I cry because I’m angry, and sometimes I cry for no reason.
But crying does not mean I am not strong.
Crying is open
Crying, rather than being weakness, is openness. Being so open with people as to cry in front of them takes great strength and bravery. Crying in front of someone leaves no doubts as to what your passions, fears, failures and faults are. When you cry in front of someone, they know instantly what or whom you care about and how much you care about it.
Letting people see those things is scary. We don’t want to be seen as vulnerable or afraid. We want to be seen as heroic and strong, and we think it is strong to hide our emotions.
It is never strong to hide. Hiding is not brave. Bravery is standing in the open, letting people see you, know you. Bravery is giving people your heart, and people find your heart through your tears.
Crying is human
We are lying when we act as if something does not affect us. Humans are meant to feel; we are meant to be relational. We are meant to love and we are meant to care. Crying simply shows our humanness. It shows that we are not robots.
Loving people and caring about people enough to cry over them is one of the most beautiful human responses I can think of. It reveals the depth and strength with which we can love. It shows that we are selfless, that we can love other people more than we love ourselves. It shows that we can conquer human nature.
Human nature can be ugly. We are selfish, violent and proud. Crying over the evils we see in the world means we have the strength to recognize that there is evil in this world and that we cannot ignore it. Crying over injustice means we care enough hopefully to do something about that injustice; it means we have the strength to recognize our faults and fix them.
And crying when we see goodness and beauty triumph over evil is simply beautiful. It shows that we appreciate the strength of others to move past difficult or hopeless situations. It shows that we do not take for granted the beauty in the world, because a lot of the time there seems to be little beauty in the world.
Crying when we are angry means we are strong enough to admit that we’re human. Humans get angry, sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons. Admitting that you’re upset reveals where your passions or insecurities are, and crying is the most public way of admission.
It is OK , in fact it is strong, to cry when we are sad or happy or angry because it is our human response. It is real. Being real with people is hard; it takes a lot of strength to show people just how human you are.
I think people consider hurting a weakness. They think it’s strong to be stoic — to act as if they don’t care. I think that’s why crying, or revealing your hurt, is considered weak. But it is natural for humans to hurt. Hurting is part of what makes us human. Crying is one of the most human things we do, because it admits that we are hurt and need help. It takes much more strength to admit you are hurt or afraid or angry or over-joyed than to act as if you are unaffected.
Crying is healthy
I think it is healthy to deal with our emotions. Bottling our emotions up is not healthy. Crying is a way to cope with whatever situation we are facing and then move forward. Suppressing our emotions just means we aren’t strong enough to deal with them. It means we are afraid. It means our bad feelings will linger and we will never heal.
We can’t be sad or angry forever. We can’t cry forever. The way I deal with my emotions is by crying, and when I’m done I feel better. I am stronger because of it, and I know myself better because of it. The important part is learning to move on, and I believe that suppressing emotions hinders us from moving on. It is easy to dwell on our “poor” circumstances, but it takes tremendous strength to move on. Crying is a means of moving on.
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle. — Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Not everyone deals with their emotions by crying, but those who do should not be considered weak. I am not weak because I cry. I am strong, because I am not afraid to show my heart to people, and I am not afraid to confront what I’m feeling.
Après la pluie le beau temps,