However, society still tends to treat crying as a sign of weakness. For those of us who have this mindset, Dr. Daramus says it’s beneficial to explore how we are letting our emotions out—because they do come out, one way or another. “If you don’t let feelings out in a healthy way, they’ll come out in an unhealthy way. You might externalize them in a way that damages others, like yelling or blaming,” she explains. “You might damage yourself, for example when emotions tense up your muscles and become psychosomatic pain. Those emotions are coming out, and crying is healthier than a lot of the alternatives.”
Dr. Daramus says that people often feel a sense of release after a good cry. “It can also help you be your most authentic self emotionally,” she says. These benefits happen whether you are crying alone or in front of someone—and being vulnerable in front of someone who respects you comes with additional benefits. “When someone sees you cry and treats that emotion like it matters, it helps you feel like all of you is acceptable, not just the good, socially acceptable parts of you,” she explains.
However, Dr. Daramus adds that it is OK to pick who you become vulnerable with when you can. “Tears don’t always come at convenient times. But if possible, don’t show vulnerability to people who won’t respect it. If you don’t know anyone who will treat your emotions with respect, it might be time to find a few new friends or maybe a therapist.”
Still struggling to be OK with crying? Dr. Daramus says that talking about our emotions, journaling about them, or turning them into something creative are all ways to find release, similar to crying. And sometimes, doing those things will even bring about tears.
So let’s go forth and let those tears flow.