The tears began to well up in Jade’s eyes. “don’t cry, don’t cry,” she told herself. She was tired, and her broken heart was incredibly raw. As a child, she was taught that showing negative emotions was a sign of weakness. As a result, she always felt inadequate when she cried. Just then, her phone beeped. It was a text from her ex, asking if they could come and get their things back. She could no longer hold back; she sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Finally, when she finished crying, she felt lighter and was able to comfort herself. That night she slept better than she had since the break-up.
Crying is a healthy way for your body to detox from stress. Different tears from different emotions have other chemical compounds than tears we have from dust or onions. When we cry, our body releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and can rid our body of stress hormones. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that connects us.
We were born to cry. Babies cry to get their needs met, and as adults crying signals that we need care. Crying makes us feel vulnerable, enabling trust and compassion in others if the emotion is sincere. Sometimes, we try to avoid the feeling of vulnerability because it can make us feel small. However, vulnerability is a pathway to intimacy that strengthens our relationships. The being said, if you find yourself crying excessively, you might be suffering from depression.
If you struggle to let go and cry, be curious how else you can let go of that stress and tension. Where are you holding that stress and pressure in your body? Unreleased stress can lead to physical symptoms such as inflammation, body soreness, reduced immunity and poor sleep.
If you are judging yourself for crying, here are some things to consider:
- Compassion for self and others: What would you say to someone you loved if you saw them crying? Would you comfort them or criticise them?
- What does feeling vulnerable remind you of? Does the vulnerability remind you of past abuse or trauma? Does vulnerability make you feel powerless? Vulnerability can feel intimidating but can also allow us to let others in.
- Letting go: What thoughts, emotions and beliefs that you are carrying no longer serve you? If the tears want to come, let them flow. You can also imagine what you want to let go of and release them through a long exhale. Letting go also means dropping whatever judgement you might have towards yourself and others.
- Emotions are not weak: Emotions give us information about our environment. Fear lets us know if we are safe or in danger. Anger can also signal to us that someone has crossed a boundary. Sadness allows us to take a timeout to reflect and connect. Guilt warns us that we have broken a social norm.
- Do our emotions fit the situation? Our feelings might signal to us that we need to seek help. For example, it is time to seek help if our guilt has turned into shame, if our fear has turned into anxiety, and our sadness has turned into depression.
If you feel like you need to talk to someone, then please do contact me to set up an online session via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although I am a registered clinical psychologist with the Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology, I am not a licensed psychologist or any other type of licensed therapist in the United States. The information I am providing here is educational and informational. This social media page does not provide professional advice, nor does it create a professional-client relationship or any other type of relationship between us. You should always consult your own licensed mental health professional before making any changes regarding your mental health. My goal is to educate, guide, consult, and empower you regarding your mental health journey. Always consult your licensed mental healthcare provider(s) and never disregard or delay medical advice based on information posted on this page or post.