Regrettably, not all feelings are created equal
Happiness, the most widely accepted emotion, is associated with confidence, security, and success, among other things. Even if we have to “fake it until we make it,” expressing happiness is said to be a sure way of gaining close friends and admirers.
Fear is perhaps the most applicable emotion, as everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives. We've all been afraid of something at some point in our lives: leaving a job, asking someone to marry us, confronting a friend about something they did that irritated you. And, given the daily fear mongering by the media, fear has a strong case for being the most felt emotional sensation.
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Anger, while rarely welcomed, is another emotion that many of us experience and practice on a daily basis. Anger is widely accepted as a completely normal emotion, whether in the midst of heavy traffic, at your child for breaking a prized vase, or at an incompetent coworker.
Disgust is highly suggestive and, for the most part, is internalized, but it is still felt on a regular basis. When disgust is expressed, it is usually accepted and sometimes agreeable in most situations.
Sadness, on the other hand, is in a class of its own, much like the new Pixar film Inside Out. When expressed fully, sadness appears to be alienated, picked on, and persecuted. Outward signs of sadness, such as droopiness of the body and face, slumping, and crying, are regarded as indicators of weakness and insecurity. It's unjust that our culture confines sadness to such a small space. It is harmful, unhealthy, and simply unjust to the human life experience.
People who aren't afraid to express their sadness are far more mentally healthy than those who are. This is why:
They are not afraid of their feelings
Would you hide a smile if you were overcome with joy? Would you not grimace if you saw the insides of a squished squirrel while running or biking on the side of the road? Wouldn't you be irritated if you had a bad day at work and your unemployed roommate drank the last ice cold beer you'd been looking forward to all day? Wouldn't you be terrified if your boyfriend jumped towards you and yelled if you were looking for a light switch and didn't realize he was in the room, lurking, waiting to scare you because he thought it would be funny?
So, if you're depressed, why not cry? Why would you not sag around? Why wouldn't you allow yourself to be sad?
People who ignore sadness miss out on an important aspect of life. Sadness or crying isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign that you're a human with feelings that go beyond what you've been told is appropriate to express in public.
They are aware of the healing properties of tears
Your tear ducts, like a spit valve in a trumpet, release stress, anxiety, grief, and frustration from your brain and body. It's soul-cleansing, mind-enriching, and goosebump-inducing, almost acting as a drain for the negative emotions that build up as a result of stress. Tears have healing properties that are not limited to sad tears, but also to happy tears. In either case, you're dealing with intense feelings. Allowing that intense emotion to build up and remain in the body can be extremely hazardous, both physically and mentally.
Crying, specifically tears, have scientific benefits in addition to improving movement and relieving stress because they release toxins, help improve vision, and can kill 90 to 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to ten minutes.
They understand how beneficial crying can be
Crying, according to recent psychological studies, stimulates the release of endorphins in our brain, the “feel-good” hormones that also act as a natural pain reliever. Crying also reduces manganese levels, a chemical that, when too much of it is present, can exasperate the brain and body.
Even if the problem persists after you've cried it out, there's no denying that the act of crying allows for a temporary release of negative emotions. This enables us to think more clearly about the problem and avoid becoming overwhelmed by it.
They are unconcerned with gender roles or societal expectations
Crying is frowned upon by both sexes. If she cries, it's because she's unstable, a wreck, or, in the most irrational case, she needs other people's attention. If he cries, he's a wuss, a pansy, or, my personal favorite, he's not manly enough. All of these generalizations encourage both sexes to bury their sorrows deep within their soul.
Though it is an uphill battle that can only be won an inch at a time, we are working tirelessly to remove social constraints that bind both sexes. Those who express their sadness in public are not only brave, but also advocates for a more emotionally healthy society.
They encourage others not to run away from their emotions
I enjoy crying. Or, more accurately, I don't allow myself to be sad when I'm sad. We're all battling some sort of depressing demon that's trying to bring us down. Allowing ourselves to feel pain when we feel it encourages others, whether we know them or not, to connect with our pain. Knowing you're not alone in your thoughts, feelings, or actions can be emotionally liberating and, in extreme cases, life-saving.
Those who accept sadness when it confronts them allow others to do the same. Remembering the previous point, it is risky to keep emotions hidden and buried within. Because sadness has negative connotations, we are often hesitant to reach out to someone we notice is having difficulty because we are afraid, not of the person, but of the act of being deeply upset.
When we are truthful to our bodies, we allow them to operate at maximum capacity all of the time, even when we are in excruciating pain.
For years, we've been debating the importance of good mental health practices. With the advent of therapy and widely prescribed feel-good medications, we should all be more appreciative of our biological ability to cry and fully utilize it as a natural anxiety-reliever.
Because crying should be viewed as a sign of internal strength and mindfulness rather than weakness.
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