Sunday, September 22, 2013

Is Crying For Women Only?

I grew up thinking that the phrase “a good cry” was an oxymoron. Those words didn’t fit together in my estimation. It was the same with “good grief”. Huh?

I since have come to realize that both can make sense. How did I form my negative opinion about crying? Perhaps it’s because I heard the admonishment:

“Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!”

I’ll bet I wasn’t the only one to hear that, either. Whatever. But I think the message was clear – crying isn’t a good thing, maybe especially for boys. Fast forward a lot of years and I learn that perhaps I was a little hasty in my evaluation. This is closer to the truth. 

  • Crying actually is one way the body rids itself of certain toxins. What contributes to these toxins? Stress. Tears remove some of the chemicals built up in the body from stress, like the endorphin leucine-enkaphalin. And we all know that stress contributes to higher blood pressure, heart disease and ulcers. 

  • Crying kills bacteria.  Tears contain lysozyme which can kill up to 95% of bacteria within 5-10 minutes. How many times do you wipe your eyes not knowing that you are transferring bacteria from your environment? Crying is better than one of Monk’s wipes.

  • Crying can elevate our mood. I remember a lyric from an old Joni Mitchell song (People’s Parties):
“Laughing and crying, you know it’s the same release.”
 Laughing makes us feel good, and often so does crying. 

  • Crying helps us to get support from other people. Think of a baby. The baby cries out of a need and people hopefully come to its aid. The same can happen for adults. When I cry because of pain or sadness, people will often come to comfort me. It is why being in community is so essential. Crying alone is overrated. 

  • What’s the downside of crying? It can be manipulative. A baby cries out of need, but often a toddler cries when he doesn’t get his way. Adults can do the same thing. It is one of the great fears of men when faced with a crying woman. How should I interpret this? Is this something I should take seriously (a legitimate need) or is she trying to control me? If it is the latter he will quickly learn to tune you out. You can only “cry wolf” so many times. So women ask yourself this question: Is comfort enough for me or do I have to get my way? 

Depending on your culture, crying may be normal or extremely hard to do. It may be seen as a weakness, especially for men. Our early messages carry a lot of weight. Also, we have basic temperaments that will contribute to the ease with which we cry. Women seem to have a much easier time. If a “chick flick” doesn’t leave room for crying, it’s not really authentic to the genre. Nan chooses films, books and magazines that make her cry. I never do that on purpose, but sometimes I accidentally get hijacked.

What about you? Where do you stand on crying? Good or bad, necessary or annoying? For girls only?

Oh, by the way -- John 11:35  "Jesus wept." 

1 comment:

  1. I had a "good cry" the other day on the way down to my new home. I definitely felt the stress go away after that and I was good to go. Sometimes crying seems like it will never stop if you let it start but the reality is, it can be such a good thing. I told one girl that I'd only had one breakdown in front of Mark since getting engaged and she looked at me like I was crazy. Guess I should have some more both in front of him and without him before it's all over! Thanks for the permission to cry! :)