There I was, sitting on my kitchen floor, cupping handfuls of rice I had accidentally dropped while attempting to make stir-fry, when the tears started flowing before I could stop them. I sat on my floor for a solid five minutes, my face leaking some kind of liquid from every part of my face—tears, snot, sweat—having a real, honest-to-goodness ugly cry. Over rice.
I could retell this same story, inserting a new, trivial moment and the outcome would always be the same.
Hi, my name is Kristian and I’m a Constant Crier.
I cry at appropriate times: when I’m stressed, sad, angry, or even when I’m really happy. But I cry at all the other times too. In fact, at any given moment, it’s almost a guarantee that I’m about 3 seconds, one nice compliment, or a cute kitten picture away from bursting into tears.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
When I’m not crying, I seem to spend the majority of my time apologizing to someone about my overabundance of emotions. “I’m sorry!” I’ll burst out, wiping the remaining tears from my face, then try to laugh it off, “I don’t know why I’m like this.”
Does this also sound familiar?
It occurred to me the other day, between shallow breaths and nose-blows, that I shouldn’t be apologizing for my crying, in the same way I don’t apologize for my curly hair or my snort-laughter. I am an emotional person—why should I apologize for who I am?
If you’re a self-identified Constant Crier, here’s a list of reasons you should stop saying sorry immediately.
1. It’s Good for You
It’s scientifically proven that crying can have many positive effects on your body. According to Dr. William Frey, director of the Alzheimer’s Research Center at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, crying is a natural way to reduce emotional stress which can, if not properly addressed, lead to negative physical effects on your body. One of those negative effects? Putting you at a greater risk for a heart attack. Not only that, but crying can lower your blood pressure, reduce your manganese levels, and remove toxins from your body.
At the very least, crying can make you feel more calm and emotionally stable. Research shows that 85% of women and 73% of men feel less sad or angry after crying.
So don’t feel bad for your over-active emotions–think of it as an act of self-care.
What do other women think? “I cry a lot. You know, my friends here will tell you I love crying. Almost as much as I love sleeping. The reason for that is that I like to sort of get it all out. I like to start the next day fresh, you know, to put it all behind me. I like to really be able to say I have no grudges and no regrets. And in order to do that, you have to cry about the things that upset you and get them out of you … I don’t want to have a thick skin, because if you have a thick skin, you don’t let the good things in either. So, I prefer to be permeable, like a child.” – Arianna Huffington
2. Everyone Cries
I know that society would have you believe that women, and only really emotional women, shed tears, but I want to let you in on a little secret—everyone on this planet cries. Maybe some do it more than others, but everyone feels sadness, loss, anger; everyone feels like crying sometimes.
That’s because it’s one of the traits that make us human. Human beings are the only animal who sheds tears as an emotional response, so being ashamed of crying is like being ashamed of breathing.
Your tears prove that you’re a living, breathing person and not, I don’t know, an octopus or something. So if people don’t like the fact that you cry, remind them that it could be worse–you could be an octopus.
What do other women think? “If we aren’t supposed to cry regularly, then why is our skin made of tissue?” – Aparna Nancherla
3. Yes, That Includes "Strong Females"
In the ever-popular (and problematic) trope of the strong female character, strength and emotions are mutually exclusive. It’s customary for the female lead to remain stoic, no matter what she’s going through. Somehow, in the minds of those who write these archetypal characters, tears equate to weakness and, to be taken seriously as a woman, you most definitely can not show weakness.
But that idea is something I just can’t wrap my head around.
Shedding tears does not make you weak. You can still get shit done. In fact, you can cry while you get shit done. Allowing yourself to feel and to recognize when you’ve hit a breaking point is very commendable; everyone should know their limits.
Allowing others to see your tears can have a positive effect on those around you. It can reinforce the normality of emotions, even in the face of adversity, and allow others to feel comfortable expressing their own feelings. And nothing says strong female to me like lifting up those around you.
What do other women think? “I really cry all the time…Everything [makes me cry]. Especially during fight week. You’re supposed to be going super ninja death mode, but I’m really the most emotional ever. If I spill milk, I will cry.” – Ronda Rousey
4. It Proves You Care
There is something incredibly beautiful about the amount of love and compassion someone who cries frequently feels. It shows that you care deeply about the world, those around you, and the impact that your actions create. Being in touch with your own feelings helps you to empathize with others, and our abilities to empathize with our fellow humans is what keeps society intact.
One popular theory with scientists on why we cry is to establish human connections. A professor at the University College London believes that with evolution, the tear has become a signal that triggers empathy and compassion in another. We have a need to reach out, to tell the world that there is something bothering us, some problem we don’t know how to handle, and a hope that someone else will understand.
What do other women think? “On my set, I say if you can’t cry, you’re a liability. If you can’t cry, you can’t feel, and if you can’t feel, you better not be holding my camera for me. The camera is recording images of humans — skin and water moving over muscles and bone — that is feelings.” – Jill Soloway
Important Note: Men can cry too.
There is this ridiculous belief that our society has that it’s not okay for a man to cry. Similar to the strong female character trope (hmm, wonder where they got the idea?), men who show their emotions are often viewed as weak. The effects of this notion are very harmful. Men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than women, and one of the main contributing factors is their belief that they can’t talk to anyone about what they’re feeling.
So ladies, make sure to let the men in your life know that they shouldn’t be apologizing for their tears either.
What do other women think? “I’m really genuinely disturbed by this idea that men can’t cry and that they just can’t express themselves, they can’t talk about how they actually feel. I think that’s actually the saddest thing in the world … It’s crazy, it’s what makes you human!” – Emma Watson
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