Embracing Tears: an effective emotional strategy

In the vast spectrum of human emotions, crying has frequently been misinterpreted and stigmatized. Crying may convey a wide range of emotions, from sadness and frustration to joy and happiness.

Understanding crying as a common and diverse form of human expression is a vital step in a bid to embrace emotional intelligence. It’s a characteristic of being human, not a flaw. We must cultivate a more favorable, open or progressive mind-set regarding this issue.

I still remember clearly that during childhood my nickname was “Runchi” (a girl who frequently weeps). Runchi was beyond just a childhood nickname- it was a reminder of the taunts and bullying I went through. While I was at my school, we used to have a particular day on deciding the bench mate. As I was unfortunately absent on the very day, I found myself seated next to a girl with whom I was not so close with.

Instead of speaking out to my teacher or the girl, I remained silent. However, I could sense the unpleasant feelings deep inside my heart. I couldn’t hold back the tears as unease and discomfort built up. To make the situation worse, a friend of mine began to mock me, referring to me as “Runchi” and pointing out how I cry over the tiniest things. The situation got so overwhelming that I, unable to face it, silently headed to the back hall, tears rolling down my cheeks. After a while, I got myself together, cleaned my face and returned to class. I pretended that my tears were only an embarrassment.

As I flashback, I resonate my fight against tears fearing that they would confirm the tag that had been placed on me. I didn’t know how to manage the difficult situations at the moment. When I reflect on that time, it’s clear that I was not only dealing with bullies alone but also the societal perception that crying was a sign of weakness.

Over the course of time, I began my degree in psychology. Gradually, my perspectives and attitude toward crying evolved. I realized that crying is not a sign of weakness, but rather an effective coping mechanism. I developed the courage to question people’s views about crying as weakness. I began to believe everyone ought to have an epiphany and acknowledge that owning up to our emotions is a sign of self-compassion and respect for others.

Each tear shed from my eyes was a release, a way for my emotional palette to be cleansed. Now, I see my tears as tiny emotional superpowers that help me stay sane. As an evolving individual, I’ve learned to accept crying as a coping strategy, a means of relieving stress and finding comfort. Today, I not only accept but also embrace my tears as necessary for my emotional well-being. I still cry, and even though I’m in my mid-20s now, I am evolving proudly with the nickname tagged on me.

I turned from caring about what other individuals thought of “Runchi” to appreciating the healing power of tears. In fact, I’ve come around from considering tears as a sign of weakness and fearing the stigma attached to the term “Runchi” to seeing them as an effective emotional strategy.

Actually, crying supports me, crying nurtures me and crying helps me to grow and glow. I have numerous instances that tears have strengthened me and fueled a positive outcome. Once, crying made me perform well as I had a very important day for my academic journey. I was overwhelmed with anxiety the day before the defense of my Master’s degree thesis, which caused me to break down in tears. Unlike in the past, a supportive friend comforted me by assuring it’s okay to feel that way, quite the opposite of my previous scenarios, where I used to be mockingly referred to as “Runchi.” On the day of the defense, I gathered myself and delivered one of the best performances of my academic career. During the defense, I appeared confident and contended to everyone else present, with a well-presented attitude. However, only a few were aware of the emotional difficulties I had encountered the day before.

Tears are a natural way to cleanse the mind and release stress chemicals in addition to expressing sadness. I realized as a psychology student that showing vulnerability is a sign of strength. In reworking my narrative, I reclaimed the tag “Runchi ” as a strength badge instead of a scar. As the tears fell, I realized that each drop told something about me, a story of inner conflicts and victories.

Tears, which had previously demonstrated weakness, had transformed into an effective tool of communication, surpassing words to convey the depth of my emotions. I found a kind of power in being honest about my feelings after realizing that tears could make me strong. It’s a form of rejection against the notion that expressing feelings is a sign of weakness.

Crying is more than just a passive surrender; it’s a way to control one’s emotions. When I cry, it’s not surrender rather it’s a brave declaration of being authentic. My tears became a way for me to say, “No, I won’t pretend,” in a society where we’re frequently told to be tough and hide our emotions.

Tears genuinely narrate a story that connects us in a way that words cannot. It resembles a universal language. It serves as a wonderful surprise, a kind of comfort for the internal mental turmoil. I turned from caring about what other individuals thought of “Runchi” to appreciating the healing power of tears. In fact, I’ve come around from considering tears as a sign of weakness and fearing the stigma attached to the term “Runchi” to seeing them as an effective emotional strategy.

Psychology claims that crying is a healthy coping mechanism that naturally unburdens the mind. Embracing tears takes a stand against the idea that being weak means not being able to defend oneself and extends beyond a personal achievement. This path symbolizes not only individual growth but also a group effort to make the world more compassionate and more authentic.

[Author is a psychologist and mental health trainer.]