Weepy. That was me, yesterday.
Tears of joy, and yes – sentimentality. Remembering poignant moments when my sons were younger, and realizing that my second little bird will fly the nest before I know it.
Tears, tears, and more tears.
What makes you cry?
Men and Tears
Boys don’t cry.
How many times have we heard that uttered as an instruction, or said it ourselves? We teach boys to display a more restrictive set of emotions than girls.
My own sons (raised by me) were encouraged to feel and express a breadth of emotions – and certainly saw their share from me. I also taught them that what is fine in private is not necessarily fine in public. Tears were allowed. Still, they stopped crying in the tween years. I’ve seen them cry since, but it is rare. Because of that, when it happens, I know the pain is extreme.
Women and Tears
I won’t say that girls and women cry all the time, but we aren’t judged for crying. So we do so, more often and more easily. Perhaps because we do so more often and more easily, we aren’t judged for crying?
Crying is one of the few ways in which women have greater freedom than men. In fact, it is often expected that we cry at weddings, films, memories, or over stress. Some of us do. Some of us don’t. Do our tears help?
Sometimes, are they an annoyance or even a hindrance?
As babies and children, crying is as natural as laughing. What happens as we grow up, especially to our men? When I encounter a man who sheds a tear, I find the honesty of the emotion reassuring, along with the willingness to express it. To me, vulnerability is a plus, not a weakness.
Certain Emotions Make Us Uncomfortable
We live in a culture where specific emotions make us uncomfortable.
Anger? Ironically, also acceptable.
My observation: in a circumstance which causes a woman to cry (appropriately), a man will display anger.
Perhaps because what’s acceptable in a woman is less so in a man? A cultural shortcoming?
We know how to respond to smiles. They’re infectious – and who doesn’t want to feel good and be happy? We’re less equipped to deal with someone’s grief, sadness, or confusion. We’re less able to listen, to embrace, to console. Tears make us uncomfortable.
When is it Acceptable to Cry?
When are we “allowed” to cry?
A breakup, an injury, a death, or the jubilation of a long-awaited event are all appropriate reasons to shed a tear. We are allowed to cry when someone dies, or abandons us. We are allowed to celebrate life with tears, and we may do so (in moderation) in public, and in private.
Where do we stow our emotions when they are disallowed? The extreme frustrations and pressures that we face daily – in jobs, with kids, with spouses and partners when things are on a rocky path? Especially if we’re tired or in physical discomfort, which adds more stress to the mix?
Wouldn’t it be easier to shed a tear of joy, or pain, and experience the release that comes afterward?
In Your Experience –
- What do you think of men who cry, or never cry?
- Do women cry too much?
- Do you cry more since you’ve had children?
- Do you cry in front of your children?
- Did you ever see your father cry?