Have you ever had anyone tell you to stop crying? That just drives me nuts. Too often when people see tears they assume you are out of control. Not true. Actually when people say ‘Don’t cry’ (especially men, let’s face it) it’s because they are uncomfortable with your tears, not necessarily to comfort you.
This used to happen to me a lot until I learned that there was no good reason for me to feel bad about crying. I’m an easy crier, and proud of it! It took a long time for me to be comfortable with my low tearfulness threshold but once I did it was liberating. Finally instead of worrying about bursting into tears I could just concentrate on what was going on to cause the swell of emotion.
Anything could bring on the lump in the throat and stinging eyes, from a sappy movie trailer to a heartbreaking story about children violently orphaned to a genuine hurt from someone I cared about. Happiness, anger, remorse… basically I’m an open book kind of person.
I read somewhere that there are people who are born with ‘porous auras’. They feel things easily. Not to be confused with ESP, it’s just a heightened sense of empathy. I think this sensitivity is in part what makes me a good therapist but not a good companion at slasher movies.
If you’d like to read more about the self-discovery and science of crying, go to my post on PsychCentral, “…I’ll Cry If I Want To”, and let me know what you think.
Illustration courtesy of The|G|TM via Flickr
I am a closet crier. Though my husband and family see me cry all the time I am still not comfortable doing it in public for many of the reasons you mention. Now I am thinking that maybe it is time we closet criers came out and stood up for ourselves and our tear stained faces! Thank you Dr. Aletta!
This was a perfect post for me today as I had a Bat hanging in front of my door this morning so I could not get out of my house. I was in no danger and had already called someone to remove it yet I was crying. Then I saw your post and reminded myself it was OK to cry and that it was probably the fight or flight response and shock of opening my door and seeing the Bat just hanging there. At least he is gone now.