Should Men Cry?

Answering the question, “Should men cry?” is largely a matter of personal opinion. However, there are many benefits to the slow but steady acceptance of a greater range of emotional expressions from men. Crying is a natural physical response to strong emotions. Unlike the sneeze or yawn, crying has become polarized and associated with gendered behavior or a display of weakness. Repressing emotional expression may cause harm in the long run, even to a man who thinks of himself as tough and stable. It’s up to each man to decide how he feels about crying. Becoming comfortable with doing it in private at least can lead to a less stressful life and better adaption when disappointments happen.

The Physical and Emotional Benefits of Crying

Crying starts in infancy because it’s one of the only ways a baby has to communicate its needs. While the sound might be piercing or distracting, it’s designed to draw an adult’s attention so the baby gets help. Adults cry for much the same reason, even when it’s in private. Just the act of crying is a form of catharsis that can help trigger the processing of emotions on a deeper level. Crying with proper emotional support or for a positive reason has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve mood. It’s often considered a way to bond with someone on a deeper level since multiple sociological and psychological studies have shown stronger links after people have witnessed each other crying. Developing stronger emotional stability could help reduce the likelihood of experiencing depression, anxiety, and more.

Men May Already Cry More Than You Think

The common perception in popular media is that weak men cry while strong men just ignore their emotions. Yet if you turn to the world of competitive sports, you’ll often see men considered at the peak of masculinity shedding copious tears. Winners who cry are often lauded despite any cultural stigma associated with the behavior, while losers are often further mocked if they show this kind of emotional display. In private, recent studies show that men are likely to cry a lot more often than they may admit to friends and family members. At least one study has found that the men surveyed cry around four times a month, while the women reported crying only three times a month on average. If everyone else is already crying and not admitting it, there’s nothing wrong with joining in and healthily processing your emotions.

Why Do Some People Criticize Men Crying?

Crying, in general, is often associated with childhood and infancy. While that’s where we first learn to cry, it’s a behavior that continues through life regardless of this association. You might as well say that eating or sleeping is childlike behavior when describing it as humanlike behavior is more accurate. Other people base their criticisms of men crying on the concept that it’s a feminine trait or something women should do. According to the research noted above, those criticisms aren’t enough to keep men from crying anymore. It’s simply time for some people’s attitudes toward emotional expression to move forward to match what they are already doing.

Getting Comfortable With Your Own Emotions

Losing your fear of crying is easiest with the help of a therapist. Yet many men are also uncomfortable with the idea of therapy. To get comfortable with your emotions on your own, try scheduling time to have privacy and personal space. Simply sit with yourself and think about traumatic or less-than-happy memories that you might tend to avoid or ignore. You’ll be surprised at how much emotion can rise up just from no longer trying to repress a reaction to something. Anger is often an emotion that comes along with sadness or crying, so having the space to cry, yell, and otherwise express yourself can help you reach catharsis and a greater sense of emotional stability.

If you’re not ready to burst into tears in front of everyone you know, that’s perfectly understandable, regardless of your gender. Focus on what you do in private to process and express your emotions even if other people wish you would display them more in public. You’ll find yourself naturally opening up more and feeling comfortable about it after starting with a private practice. Crying is a part of life, and it’s a good idea to practice with minor disappointments rather than waiting until the major losses bring the dam down.

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