In my previous article, one of the readers pointed out that it is okay to cry for boys should also be one of the pieces of advice we should give to our sons. And it struck me - definitely yes. But this should be true for all, isn't it? Why be gender-biased? In fact, I think this should be true for all age groups. Let me explain.
If you have been reading my work consistently, you are aware I went through depression and have been looking after my mental health continuously. Over years, I have read and also learnt quite a bit from my counsellor about this - crying! What is there to learn? It is natural, isn't it? Yes, of course, it is natural, but do we allow ourselves to be natural and allow tears to flow freely always? For all the people, at every age, at any time?
From people who cry at movies to those grieving a death, from children who cry because of an injury to those whose toy was taken away or were ridiculed by someone, we all cry. What do we tell them? How do we generally respond to this?
Relax, be positive.
Don't cry, be strong. Things happen, but life goes on.
Don't be so negative. Things will be fine. Don't be a crybaby.
Boys don't cry! Don't cry like a girl.
Girls should be strong - get yourself together.
Everyone has problems, not only you. Get a hold of yourself.
Seriously, how many of you have felt good after hearing these statements? I never have. Why is there so much hullabaloo around crying? If you are allowed to feel happy, sad, angry, loving, and upset, why not the same about crying?
Every book on psychology and all the counsellors will tell you that it is okay to cry - in fact, you must refrain from controlling your tears. Allow yourself to cry freely and it will have multiple benefits for your mental and also physical health. Once you cry, all your pent-up emotions are out and you do not carry any burden within you. Notice how you feel lighter after a good cry?
On the other hand, if you keep piling those feelings inside you, one day they will burst out unexpectedly and make it much more difficult to deal with. They multiply with greater intensity and also cause a lot of mental stress and hence physical illnesses. Many studies have proven that severe stress leads to different forms of body pains and other ailments.
When you can simply cry and vent it out, really, why not just do it?! It is way simpler to cry than deal with the resulting repercussions. Sometimes we want to try and be strong in front of our parents or children - it is okay as long as you still cry in private. But remember, your children also need to learn that it is normal to cry when you're not fine, rather than bottling up your emotions. We need to make it normal. So that even when they're adults, they're not always trying to hide their emotions or tears.
Somewhere after growing up, we are labelled as childish if we cry and in a constant attempt to prove that we are mature and grown-up, we become or pretend to be stone-hearted, and show that we are unaffected by the situations around us. You know it is not true, and it is time to accept it - and cry.