If you are an adult and you cry often, you may get names like ‘cry baby’. Why is crying and showing other tender emotions stigmatized in society?
When you were a kid and you cried for something, your parents would ask you to stop crying. “Good kids do not cry,” they say. And if you are a boy, you may even have heard that “boys should not cry”. Crying or showing sad emotions are always considered a bad thing in our society. For an adult more so.
If you are an adult and you cry often, you may get names like ‘cry baby’. They discourage boys and men from crying saying, “only girls cry” or “don’t cry like a girl.” But if a girl cries, she is called ‘too emotional’ and a ‘drama queen’. Easy crying and too much crying is considered socially bad for both sexes.
But why? Crying is a natural response to show sadness. Crying is the body’s way to not only reduce emotional stress but also process it. Then why are we discouraged from showing that emotion? We are allowed to laugh openly. But then why are we not allowed to cry openly? Why is crying considered a sign of weakness and something that should not be promoted? Why does crying even attract scoring and laughs sometimes?
Usually and unfortunately, crying causes the person seeing it uncomfortable. The audience of the tears are unable to decide how to react and their immediate response is to make the crying stop. Some may try to stop the tears by consoling the crier, and some may simply just say “don’t cry”. What these people are actually saying is that “stop displaying your emotion of sadness, it is making me uncomfortable.” Which kind of translates into – displaying emotions are bad.
Not just crying. Anger is discouraged as well. Only happiness is the emotion that you are free to express. Expressing love more than a minimum amount also attracts negative reactions.
We are forced to suppress our emotions often. Sadness and anger especially. But displaying emotions is not a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of strength. It is a demonstration of a completely comfortable relationship with the self. Choosing to cry is a sign of good emotional health. Suppressing tears is not good for the body. Here is why…
Crying occurs when your brain registers emotional stress. Crying can happen not only when you are sad, but also when you are anxious, overwhelmed, or restless. Crying can help the body to regain its balanced state. But when you suppress your tears, your body stays in that stressed state. Your heartbeat may increase, your breathing pattern may get distorted.
Shedding tears when under stress is a healthy habit. Yet crying is still stigmatized. Especially for men. Men are forced to follow the standards set by toxic masculinity. And tears are considered ‘weak’ or ‘girlie’. They are not.
Both men and women have the full freedom to express their emotions freely. Nobody should be made fun of for crying. It is those people who make fun of crying who are the weaker beings. They are the ones who are unable to handle tears and not knowing what else to do they make fun of the tears.
So, cry freely. Express your emotions freely. That is the right way this world should work. There is nothing wrong with being emotional or sensitive. Crying is the first thing that we do after coming out of the womb. Crying helps the baby breathe for the first time in this world. Then how could that be a bad thing ever?