When people cry for emotional reasons, I have observed that it generally falls into one of two categories. The first is grief-crying, and here are my observations about it:
- Although often painful, it brings a sense of relief and hopefulness afterward.
- It makes people’s faces look younger, healthier, and more free—and sometimes unrecognizably different from their regular faces.
- It brings out inner beauty, and has lasting effects.
- Its intensity can wreak temporary havoc on the immune system, though ultimately it is good for the health.
- It can sometimes kick up resistance from a person’s inner stuck sides. This resistance can take many forms, including physical symptoms, fears, anxiety, panic, and desire to escape.
- It is a cure for depression.
- It is a rite-of-passage into a higher state of psychological and emotional development.
- It is simultaneously a visceral mourning of a traumatized version of the self and a welcoming of a truer, more integrated self.
- It may be tinged with sorrow or defiance, and sometimes can be overwhelming.
- It is a graduation anthem of the growth process.
- Though people are sometimes shy while doing it, deep down they know it is good for them.
- It sometimes sets off a chain of events, which may include more grief-crying.
- The best things you can do to promote a lot of it in your life are take healthy risks, be honest with yourself and others, don’t have children, and explore and connect with the emotional history of your childhood.
The second category is stuck-crying, and here is what I have observed about it:
- It doesn’t make people feel good, rather, more deeply unsatisfied.
- It makes people look older, tighter, and awkward, and often highlights their least attractive qualities.
- It serves as an attempt to meet a person’s hidden and unacknowledged needs, but it fails.
- It is an expression of frustration, hopelessness, alienation, even rage—and tends to enhance these feelings.
- It heightens depression, because it increases feelings of powerlessness and futility.
- If intense enough, it can catalyze a psychic devolution from a state of depression into dissociation, which, paradoxically, can feel good and comfortable—because dissociation mimics enlightenment.
- It does not mourn a loss but wallows in it.
- It is self-absorbed, in that it leaves a person more lost in their false self.
- It does not encourage growth, rather, indicates stuckness.
- It can be used for manipulative purposes (i.e. guilt-tripping) or laden with ulterior motives (i.e. crocodile tears).
- When people do it they often feel ashamed, because it lets them feel how off-track they are in their lives.
- If the tears here could speak, they might say, “I am broken, I am pathetic, I am a victim of life, and I have no idea what to do.”
- The best things you can do to promote it are to avoid exploring and feeling the emotional reality of your childhood, and especially to replicate this history on others, particularly children of your own.
Some reflections: I think sometimes people can emotionally cry in a way that falls into some degree of both categories. But I think in most cases crying is colored largely one way or the other. In short, grief-crying is a reflection of growth as well as a catalyst of it, and stuck-crying is a reflection of just being stuck.