Don’t Hold Back Your Tears

Dont+Hold+Back+Your+Tears

Kayla Snyder, Writer

Crying is a human reaction to something that hurts us physically or emotionally. It releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, known as “feel-good chemicals.” This helps people ease the pain of what is hurting us. Yet many of us feel it’s cowardice to cry or show emotions. I’m here to tell you that it is not.

For some of us, since we were little, we got punished for showing our emotions. You may have heard the phrase “I’ll give you something to cry about” or “you’re such a crybaby.” This can make us grow up to think we aren’t supposed to show emotions and hold them in. Repressing feelings can lead to anxiety, depression, stress, and even digestive problems. Being vulnerable is not a bad thing; it helps us. Think about it this way: if you feel you need to go to the bathroom, you do it, right? Because you know that’s your body’s way of letting you know what you need. If you don’t ever go to the bathroom, you will be in pain and have negative consequences for that. Crying is the same idea. Your body is telling you what you need. Listen to it.

Expressing feelings may be becoming more accepted, but we could certainly make it more of a safe environment, especially for men. Often when we see men cry, we find it more comical. We see people make comments such as “man up,” but women don’t usually get that same reaction. It is time for us as a society to make it welcoming for people, regardless of gender, to be open about their emotions. How can we do this? The first step is to be more vulnerable with the men in your life and let them know they can always talk to you. When a man expresses emotions or cries around you, don’t dismiss them or judge them, and definitely don’t laugh at them. Listen and comfort them.

Another battle we have to overcome is teaching people how to cry after being closed up for so long. After holding back for years, it can be really challenging to get back into the headspace that it’s okay to cry. It can even be challenging to feel emotions as deeply as you once did because they are so suppressed. It might sound silly, but putting on some sad music and just allowing yourself to feel emotions can be an excellent exercise to feel sad and maybe even get out a good cry. Over time it will get easier. Another thing is just remembering that you can be sensitive around others. Once you see how liberating it is to show how you feel and be free from the weight of holding back, you will never want to go back to keeping it all inside.

I’m tired of people acting like mental health isn’t as important as physical health. Crying isn’t weak; it’s brave. Being vulnerable isn’t “cringy”; it’s courageous. And all of it is normal. Never hold back your tears in fear of what others will think.