When we get into an emotional state whether happy or sad, it’s completely normal to sometimes react by shedding tears. For most of us, it makes us feel better to let go and let nature take its course. For some of us, especially when it comes to males, sobbing is a sign of weakness and unacceptable in many cultures.
Through casual conversation over the years, I have found that half of all women I have spoken to are o.k. with a boyfriend or husband who occasionally cries as long as it is not constant or overbearing. Boys are taught from a young age that crying is only for sissies, so they put up a wall and scrunch their little faces when they feel the need to cry even though it rarely prevents those streams from running down on their cheeks.
On one hand, I have to admit, I don’t want my 8 year old boy to cry over any darned thing but at the same time, I encourage him not to be afraid and to express and talk about his emotions when the time and setting is appropriate. On the other hand, I don’t want him to use crying as a means to try to get what he wants. For example, the other night I took him to Toys R Us for a Lego game he desperately wanted for the last few weeks and we couldn’t find that particular model at the store. He became a little bratty and when I told him he needed to control himself, he quickly straightened himself up, and I could see the tears of frustration start to well up in his eyes. I calmly told him we had the option of ordering the product on Amazon.com when we got home. He asked how long it would take to be delivered and when I informed him it would take 5 to 6 days to arrive, the tears started to roll because he was sincerely hurt. I remembered the feeling of being 8 years old and wanting something badly that you can’t have, and I understood. Regardless, I told him to let it all out but that crying over something as petty as this was a waste of time. When he was done with his tears, less than a minute later, I hugged him and acknowledged how he was upset and hurt, that we would order the game online, and to save his tears for something that was really worth it! He apologized and said he understood.
Crying can be a good thing when we are letting out our stress over something simply too heavy to bear. According to some studies, crying eliminates stress chemicals from our bodies which explains why we feel so much better after a ‘good cry.’ When the body is overly stressed, those stress chemicals build up in the body and the only way to wash them out is through a river of tears. Also, when we are dealing with sorrow such as the death of a loved one, it helps to lift our moods so that we can better deal with our loss. It’s nature’s way of cleansing and healing us!
However, when someone cries frequently this can be a sign of that person dealing with a serious disorder such as clinical depression. Other disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and postnatal depression can cause people to cry uncontrollably and it signals a need for professional help. Furthermore, studies show people who cry due to mood disorders are much less likely to feel relieved after crying.