Tears are often treated in our culture as something negative. People often apologize for their tears. Sometimes people hide their tears, or are embarrassed by them. And sometimes people are afraid of them, thinking, for example, that if they cry, they might be becoming depressed. Others, perhaps more so in males and certain cultures, tend to judge tears as a sign of weakness.
Paradoxically, when you think about it, there is nothing strong about being too afraid to feel or show your pain. It actually takes courage and strength to feel emotional pain, or other intense emotions. Feeling a range of human emotions is one way of feeling alive.
Tears of despair can be part of depression, or can be a passing experience. Tears of sadness, grieving the loss of someone or something, are very different than despair. They are a healthy experience, with no associated false belief. They are a normal reaction to loss, and loss is a normal part of life for everyone. This “clean” sadness, and compassion for one’s self or for another, mean that you care a lot. These are healthy, often healing and beautiful tears.
Another common type of lovely tears are tears of relief. Relief is a wonderful experience of letting go of fear, worry, and tension. Relief is a gift to be enjoyed when it comes along.
Tears of joy are also wonderful. Joy is one of the great experiences of life.
People can be touched or moved to tears by love, whether they’re feeling intense love, or feeling loved. Is there anything greater than that? Is there anything wrong with that?
People can also heave tears with hurt, fear, or with anger.
So whether you’re experiencing tears or witnessing them, don’t assume you understand them. Sometimes our emotional reaction appears before we understand what we are feeling. So take your time, and be curious, and the understanding will come to you on its own. Don’t try to figure it out with your thinking, as you might come up with a wrong assumption.
Obviously, there is nothing weak about being human and experiencing the range of human emotions. Self acceptance with all our emotions is so important and healthy.
It would be a good thing if our culture were more sensitized to tears as part of healthy living.