You value being strong. You are a get-things-done kind of person. So, you’d rather conquer a problem than cry about it. After all, crying’s not going to change anything – so why do it?
While it’s true that crying isn’t a solution to most problems, it does have an effect on you and your relationships. And these changes can help you to actually make things better. With this in mind, three significant benefits of crying are:
Crying connects you with your true self: Crying is not just a by-product of being upset, it’s actually an expression of your experience. You might be feeling any number of emotions, such as sadness, hurt, frustration, anger, or loneliness. So, if you are unconsciously working to deny or ignore powerful experiences, sometimes tears can surface some issues that need addressing. Shedding tears can reconnect you with your experience of life, with your true self.
Crying prompts empathy: When you cry in front of people who care about you, it tends to soften their feelings toward you and open them to your experience. They are more likely to respond compassionately, which can help you by offering validation and support; and that reaction can strengthen the bond that connects you.
Crying releases tension: Crying is not exactly a feel-good experience, but it can relieve emotional tension. So, afterward, you may feel calmer and your body may feel more relaxed. This change not only feels good, but it can then free you up to think more clearly about your situation.
Overall, crying can open you to the above benefits that being strong had previously kept you from experiencing. And after you’ve had a “good cry,” you just feel better. For example, Maddy learned from text messages on her boyfriend’s phone that he was cheating on her. Enraged, she exploded at him. Then she was angry with herself because she had been ignoring her suspicions about this for a long time. The next day, when she was venting about this with a friend, she sobbed. She realized that she had been suppressing many negative feelings, such as anger toward her boyfriend for demeaning her and a sense of feeling alone in the relationship. Her friend comforted her, and after some time, she stopped crying. Her body felt tired; she felt a strange sense of calm; and she felt more ready to face the problems in her relationship.
While crying may not change the situation itself, it can change your experience of it – and that can give you a renewed perspective and strength to make positive steps forward.