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Can crying be a sign of strength and not weakness.?

quirkywords
Community Champion
Community Champion

Something happened to me recently which inspired this thread.

I was preparing an event with a group of people I had known for a little time when I accidentally broke a full length mirror.

My first reaction was to be startled and then cry as it triggered me and it was so unexpected. Instead of people seeing if I was ok, they commented that I was weak because I was crying, they whispered that they were amazed that an adult would cry over such a small thing. Someone told me they thought I was stronger and disappointed I cried.

After a few minutes I was fine but sad my crying was seen as a sign of immaturity and not being strong.

So I want to know if you have experienced people reacting when you cry..?

I am someone who didn’t cry much as a child but now in my senior years I can get teary quite easily which I accept.

I am surprised at what happened to me and now wonder if those people will see me differently.

Do you think most people see tears as weakness. .?

47 Replies 47

sbella02
Community Champion
Community Champion

Quirkywords,

I think your post will spark an interesting discussion.

I relate to that so much. I considered myself strong as a child, in the sense that I wouldn't cry in situations where I'd graze my knee or fall over. But now that I've entered adulthood, I find that the smallest things will cause me to well up, and I have no idea why. I'll see a touching video or a news story, and I find that I get teary very easily.

I don't think that tears are a sign of weakness at all. Tears are the body's way of processing overwhelming emotions. Totally natural. We may cry when we're happy, like at a wedding, for example. I don't see it as a sign of immaturity and not being strong, I see tears as strength. It shows that you're comfortable expressing your emotions and it means that you're choosing to feel them instead of repress them, which takes inner strength. You also feel good afterwards - it's healthy to cry.

As a woman especially, I've often had my emotions played off by others as me being "near my time of the month", or just emotional. PSA, it's totally normal to cry, and very okay to do so. I just wish it was more socially acceptable.

The people who said that they were disappointed or shocked by your reaction may be finding other and more unhealthy ways of expressing or even repressing their emotions. The reality is that we all experience emotions differently, and nobody should be judging each other for the way that they express emotions. The human emotional spectrum is beautiful and should be celebrated and expressed as we experience it.

Do you think it's a sign of strength, or do you see it as a sign of weakness?

SB

Thanks sbella,

I get frustrated that as I age I cry more.

I don’t think I am weak or strong but how can you judge that through my tears. My tears are spontaneous so I can’t plan when they come . I could not cry at my mums funeral but 6 months later I was crying in the frozen section of the supermarket.

Weak or strong, I am emotional and creative.

Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi quirkywords,

Im sorry that the people you were with didn’t ask you if you were ok but instead chose to comment on your crying.

I believe crying is healing and it’s a strength not a weakness, I believe your reaction was to cry and you did. You released that emotion in the moment.

If we don’t release our emotions I believe they can cause energy blocks in our bodies.

We want to have a free flowing river in our bodies, energy blocks are like stones and cause the river not to flow freely.

If we have a free flowing river we are more grounded, calm people who have clarity. ❤️🙏

Please don’t worry if these people see you differently, if they do that’s their choice and that’s were they are on their journey and you can’t control that.

Wishing you all the best beautiful soul ❤️🙏

On The Road
Community Champion
Community Champion

I think crying is couldn't be a more normal emotional response. Some people do cry more or less than others do, it's natural. Individuals' emotions are varied. I don't see it as a weakness or a strength, instead, I see it as neutral. When I saw someone's crying, I usually don't comfort them by stopping them cry or encouraging them to cry, they manage their emotion and I am just to be present if they need some company. And I would like them to do the same when I'm feeling low.

I admit I'm biased too. Some people are not expected to "cry out loud" in this society due to social stigmas, like the ones who are tough, who look laid-back or confident toward many things, or the ones who are always optimistic and funny. We think of them "even they are crying, things must be very hard for them". But to think crying over "something trivial" is immature for adults deepens this stigma.

quirkywords
Community Champion
Community Champion

Petal thanks for your reassuring words, they make sense. I think I was so shocked that people would unintentionally make me feel bad about being and adult and crying.

on the road thanks for explaining how you see crying. I agree with how it can be seen differently by different people.

I also feel needing to justify the reasons you are crying tend to deepen the stigma too.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi All, don't forget that some people will cry out of joy, when they are happy, excited or overly enthused and may be referred as a strength, but crying for other reasons should not be considered as being a weakness.

If any of us cry because our mental illness has caused this, and this certainly includes me, then to be criticised as a weakness by others is that these people are unable to not only realise or respect what we are suffering from, but should try and understand the struggles we are trying to cope with and need to leave us alone, unless they want to help us.

Crying when you're in a session with a counsellor is not what anybody should be ashamed of, it identifies the emotions of exactly how you feel.

There is no harm in doing so.

Geoiff. x

Hi Quirkywords,

It seems to me those people criticising your crying when you accidently broke the mirror, were unable to see beyond the superficial incident. They had no idea about how the sudden sound & being so startled had triggered other emotions in you. It might be nice if more people paused & wondered what else might be going on.

As I walled myself up, blocking my emotions (at least to the extent I thought I had), I imagined I didn't respond anymore to anything. I thought I was strong. I hated all feelings on sight! I rejected every emotion to do with anything.

Then that 'defense' came tumbling down. & I hated emotions even more, now I felt them all rushing in, welling up, overwhelming me, & at first, unidentifiable.I felt weak, defenceless, & extremely vulnerable.

I cried evry emotion, as if I had no other way to release them, (unless I turned to unhealthy & unsafe ways).

I had to learn to view these emotions from a different perspective.

I had it explained to me, feelings & emotions are part of being human (I didn't like that either), & feelings are feelings; emotions are emotions. Nothing more. No good or bad, right or wrong - indeed, weak or stron. All emotions & feelings are what they are.

Pain is pain

Fear is fear

& so crying is crying too. As is shaking with fright, srinking from pain. (examples only)

Our reaction to our feeling something, or experiencing an emotion, can also be viewed without judgement.

In this way, I accept a lot more than I used to. I would still like to have a broader range of reactions to my feelings & emotions than I do. Crying is still my default, since being unable to block & deny.

Now mostly I think, it's messy & makes my breathing difficult & my nose clogged, & it's very hard to speak through it.

mmMekitty

quirkywords
Community Champion
Community Champion

Thanks Geoff

You make a lot of sense. I think being and adult and crying in front of relative strangers can be awkward.

mmmekitty, thanks for your post.Your words are reassuring.
crying for me is spontaneous, embarrassing and frustrating at times.

Hi Quirky,

I wrote the following a few years ago now.

https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/seeking-support/helping-yourself-and-others/online-forums/staying-well/crying-let-it-all-out

Regards

TonyWK