Why Do We Apologize When We Cry? Tears Can Be a Sign of Strength and Authenticity

 A drawing of a sad person on a light blue cement wall

Do you feel uncomfortable when someone cries? Or does your heart just go out to that person? Do you cry freely or do you hold not just the tears but the feelings back? Do you see someone who cries as weak? Most of us have been trained since we were young not to cry, especially men, or at least to keep it to a minimum, but why? What is our belief system about emotional release? Could it be that the repression of emotions leads to imbalance and sickness? Any time we repress what comes naturally, this is unhealthy. It is widely believed repressed emotion causes cancer.

The kind of tears we cry as an emotional response are known as psychic tears. Psychic tears contain a natural painkiller called leucine enkephalin. (Ah, so that’s why I always feel so much better after I have a good cry!) Some psychologists also believe we feel better after a good cry in front of or with others because we feel a sort of union with them as we vulnerably express ourselves.


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Over my life, I’ve cried an awful lot. From a little girl through to adulthood, I could readily feel my feelings and respond to them. They are these feelings that have enabled me to carry on and grow in times I thought were the end of the world. As a very young adult, I would take long walks and cry in the dark during the epoch of my life in which I could not understand relationships.

As an older adult on a spiritual journey, I cried through my life lessons not just by myself but in front of other people. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not all I did. I think I cried when appropriate however I admit I cried more than others. I had friends who I perceived cried more than I did. We have to be able to discern when the tears are taking us somewhere potent and when the tears are drama. Drama tears for purposes of attention-seeking are not healthy, although I suppose you can get tired of that after so long.

The times of tears for me have steadily diminished as I’ve grown and evolved and now I hardly cry at all. When I do, the tears are almost always joyful tears. I think maybe you just have to cry and cry and get it out.

Sometimes my friends didn’t want to experience my sadness or hurt. Even my best girlfiend was uncomfortable a lot of the time. I remember her giving me a disdaining look on one particular day. I stopped the tears somehow for her but I never forgot how, in that moment, I played the role of someone she wanted me to be and not who I was.

Perhaps I’ve just spilled most of the tears out of my being. I appreciate all the people in my life who have allowed me to cry on my journey to becoming whole.

It’s okay to allow the tears to facilitate the necessary release of emotion. It truly is more a sign of strength to be vulnerable, to be able to dive deep into the emotions we are feeling. It makes us warm human beings. We are not machines after all. Emotions are what makes humans so very interesting as a species. And they escort us to and through our enlightenment.

When we are free human beings we can feel and release all sorts of emotions. Sadness and hurt are part of life but can be so temporary when we allow ourselves to release through crying.

Don’t let other people try to make you apologize for your strength in expressing emotion. Perhaps if more people in the world examined and became more aware of themselves through the release of hurt and sadness through crying we would have less violence and aggression in the world.

We really don’t have to worry that crying will become a bad habit we can’t let go of. In fact, over time, as long as our intention to grow and evolve is pure and real, your tears like mind did, will diminish. And soon you will mostly and almost always only be crying tears of joy.

Photo by Rostyslav Savchyn on Unsplash