We are born knowing that crying is an appropriate response to stress & fear and that it’s an effective way to get our physical and emotional needs met.
Babies and young children cry whenever they feel the impulse to do so.
Yet by the time we are adults, we are SO weird about tears – when did we decide that crying is a humiliating weakness?
Why do we tell children :
‘There’s no need to cry”
‘What do you mean you don’t know why you’re crying?’
‘I’ll give you something to cry about!’
It’s an especially odd position for adults to take up when you consider that we all feel MUCH better after a good cry!
I reckon it’s more about the person who is witnessing the crying feeling uncomfortable with emotions like sadness, frustration, anger or despair, than with any real impropriety associated with crying.
People hand you a tissue to stop your tears so that THEY can feel comfortable.
A Crying Shame
It takes a while for kids to learn that it’s ‘shameful’ to cry but sadly, most of us ‘get it’ by the time we’re adults.
Boys and men are told to ‘man up’ – that crying is ‘for girls’ (because what could be worse than being not only human but taking on ‘female’ characteristics?!)
And women, who, yes, do typically cry more easily than men, do not cry without stigma, are often terrified of crying at work, feeling that it is ‘unprofessional.’
As a result most of us tend to try to do our crying in private, or only around people we are VERY sure won’t judge us – and that’s a pity too.
Because comfort is also a nice accompaniment to weeping.
When people cry in their therapy sessions they seem ashamed, often covering their faces, saying:
“Sorry, I don’t know why I’m crying,”
I always tell them ‘You have nothing to be sorry for!’
I mean, if you can’t cry in your THERAPY SESSION… when can you?
And I’m left wondering why people worry that they don’t know why they are crying…
Why Am I Crying?
That’s often the first thing people ask, isn’t it?
‘Why are you crying?’
We scramble for a justification – something to ‘let us off the hook’ for our tears.
‘I’m just being silly
‘I’m being ridiculous’
‘I must just be tired’
Somehow, we just can’t shake the notion that if we cry, we’re doing something infantile, embarrassing or weird.
But of course we aren’t.
As I mentioned already, we all know that we feel better after a good cry, and now science can tell us a bit more about why that is:
“Crying for emotional reasons makes you feel better, releases tension and gives you a psychic reboot […] it also happens for physical reasons to deliver nutrients and wash out stress-related toxins.” Dr Michael Roizen
Amazing, huh? It’s almost like crying was designed to help you feel better…
Crying ‘For No Reason’
I have noticed that people get pretty upset when they feel they are ‘crying for no reason’, and so I really wanted to tell you today that you are NEVER crying for no reason.
You might be stressed.
You might be hormonal.
You might be ill.
It may be a sign that you are clinically depressed and need to see a doctor.
My point is that your body knows when you need to cry.
But it’s never for nothing.
But sometimes you might not get to find out exactly what that reason is.
And that’s totally ok.
Let me give you an example from my own recent experience…
Weeping & Walking in the Woods
I went into the Heartwood Forest recently with more in mind than my usual need to exhaust the dog.
I also went in without my usual company – no friends or family, no audiobook or soundtrack.
I went in with only my thoughts & my pug.
I don’t know why…but I ended up weeping & walking.
That may sound worrying but actually, it was wonderful.
I was not sad, or anxious or feeling depressed.
Nothing ‘bad’ has happened to me.
I just knew I needed something only a walk in the wild could provide to me.
I’m not very ‘woo’ or hippy, as a rule…BUT when I know what I need, I try to just go with it.
I got what I needed, without knowing how or why.
The crying allowed me to let something go, and then when I was done, I felt…filled up.
Crying Meets A Need – And Meeting Your Needs Is Good for Your Mental Health
I’m sharing this because I want you to know that it’s ok to cry and not really understand why you’re doing it.
That it’s fine…probably NECESSARY, actually, to develop the capacity to notice your feelings, let them lead you to your unmet needs, and on towards the things you need to DO (or NOT do,) to meet those needs.
And that WHY does not have to be a part of the process.
It can be.
But it doesn’t HAVE to be.
So many people get caught up in whys.
Reasons can be important. Of course.
But sometimes they can hold you up.
Sometimes you can have what you need without an explanation.
I have found that this kind of experience, along with many years spent in my own counselling, has been the foundation of my vastly improved mental health.
Are You Getting Your Needs Met (And if Not, Perhaps You’d Like to Change That?)
Hope you’re getting what you need today?
And if you’re not, perhaps you’d like to talk about how we can change that?
I offer everyone who is interested in working with me a free initial 60 minute chat, so you can suss out if I’m someone you could really talk to.
Click here to book your free chat now.