Emotions are a hot mess, particularly negative emotions. Psychologically there are plenty of reasons for them, but at times they can feel like more trouble than they are worth. Women tend to be more emotionally expressive than men. Tend to be, maybe it's the oestrogen. The most obvious time in which this is shown is in our tendency to cry. If we watch something sad we cry, if we are in pain we cry. Sometimes, if we're angry, we cry. But why is that such a bad thing anyway?
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven...
A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.”
Women can wake up and be in one of those moods where you just need a good cry. That's it. There doesn't even have to be a reason but the feeling is cathartic. After that we're up and off, back to business as usual. There is something healing about recognising the issue and letting it out, but even if we can't do that we enjoy the ability to just cry it out. Why? Because it's better to cry just in case it is something than to bottle it up.
It's interesting to me that crying isn't out of the ordinary when you're a woman but if you are a man, then generally it has to be a pretty serious event for tears to surface. When people in situations we perceive as unreasonable, we tell them "stop crying like a baby" or like a "girl"; images of weak things. However, I've seen grown men cry at football games and grown women give birth without at a tear in sight so surely it's about more than strength? Still, some men who cry are seen as weak. Since the act of crying itself isn't gender specific, it must be a sign of weakness in women too. But it's okay if a woman is perceived as weak because she's a woman.
Believe it or not I'm not trying to start a sexism debate. I'm more interested in the fact that we have stigmatised crying. A human reaction.
To me, crying is a sign of tenderness. To be tender is to have a heightened sensitivity to something; like a microphone which has a really high gain. So why have we equated tenderness to weakness? They are not the same thing. People can respond differently to the same event because we are different. Justifying our emotional stagnancy by viewing crying as weak does a disservice to our individuality.
My point in saying all of this is that I'm sure there are people, like me, who have felt patronised because of their sensitivity to something. In turn, maybe some people have had to "man-up" to save from getting perceived as weak again. I hope that hasn't put the sensitive off being compassionate because that would be a shame.
If I cry because I am angry, do not equate that to weakness. If I cry because I am sad, do not equate that to weakness. Crying is an expression, not an absence of strength. To equate crying with being 'weak' or 'feminine' is dated. It's time to get comfortable with our tenderness.