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We were told since young that crying is bad and negative. I remember when I was young, my grandmother always scolded us whenever we cried. She told us off (harshly) that if we cried, we will drive away the good fortune God and had us kept quiet immediately else she would punish us. Without any more sound, we forcefully held back our tears and swallowed down our emotions quietly.

In the Asian culture, boys and men are not ‘allowed’ to cry. If they do, they are seemed weak and shameful. People and the society judge men who cry and disapprove of such ‘dishonourable act’. Men are supposedly to be strong and tough and tears make them look weak and vulnerable.

I believe most Asian men were ‘trained’ with this mindset since young and they ‘fought’ hard not to shed any tears. Most would proudly say they rather shed blood than tears! This again proves their ‘toughness’ and boast their ‘bravery’ image to others. And if they do need to cry, they have to hide themselves somewhere and not be seen.

To me, men and women are equal in creation. We all have feelings and need to find our own outlet of expression. I wonder why we have to suppress our feelings and swallow down our natural form of human expression! We can hide our emotions from others but we can’t control or deny how exactly we are feeling inside.

Crying helps us to release our emotions. It does not necessarily mean all the bad stuff. When our hearts are open, we feel the ‘truth’ of our humanity… one can cry for pain, anger, sorrow, love, joy, gratitude and compassion. It does not mean good or bad. It is just a way of releasing emotions within our body. Emotion arises spontaneously from within and there is no conscious effort needed; just like crying. One can’t force out tears from the eyes if there is no emotion.

Crying is a natural spontaneous flow when certain emotion hits you. Allow yourself to be in this natural flow of emotion and let it clear out what needs to be released. When someone cries, (whether a man or woman), it just shows that they are in touch of their own true feelings and this is a beautiful expression.

When we are overwhelmed and touched by love, crying becomes the positive energy flow which brings tears of joy. When we cry due to pain and sorrow, we let go of pent-up emotions and toxin within our body. And when two persons cry together, it brings out strength, support and bonding of the relationship. Crying acknowledges the feeling and gives strength to each other. That’s why I always love and resonate strongly with this beautiful song lyric by Tommy Page: “Everyone needs a friend to rely on and a shoulder to cry on…”

When my nanny was still alive, I remember seeing my Ah Gong (aged 90) teared as he kissed my nanny’s face on her hospital bed, telling her that he missed her every day and would want her to go home soon. This scene touches me till today and I could feel his deepest love for her.

Frankly, I do salute to men who can cry or dares to cry because this shows their true courage to embrace their vulnerability and honour their true feelings. I believe true strength comes from within and not wearing fake ‘armours’ to pretend that we are strong.

Crying is a natural gift and it is a therapeutic too.  Just like the weather and the rain, it is natural and necessary. I often noticed that after each downpour, the air becomes fresher and cleaner. As for crying, it helps us to release (like pouring rain), cleanse our physical body and wash away the pain and sorrow. Almost all the time, when I cry, I feel an immediate relief. Similar to perspiring after a run or workout session, it reduces the stress level, helps you feel better and elevate your mood.

There are so many health and wellness benefits to crying. I wish for everyone (both men and women), next time when emotion hits at you and you feel like crying, please let it flow freely and spontaneously without any holding back. Acknowledge that crying is necessary and it’s a natural gift as a human being.

Just like the first cry of a new born baby, in such a joyful moment, he makes himself heard and proclaims he’s alive!


ABOUT Iris

As the founder of Eleven, Iris believes that we can inspire people with real-life stories and personal experiences so we all can live a supportive and meaningful life with one another. She is passionate about learning and self-development and believes that one should keep learning till the last breath.

Learn more about her here.