Is not the question. The question was something similar and a long discussion which followed on Alumni Forum was initiated by Sandeept and enjoyed by many of us. I felt that some of my opinions expressed over there are worth being shared here. Since I wrote a few things there, I would simply paste them here with slight editing and add a bit more if needed.
Does crying make us weak? We have heard parents say to babies–don’t cry, if you do, others will think you are weak!
We need to understand the context in which such statements are made. When a friend is in distress or has lost someone and cries you will soon approach and say “don’t cry, we are here for you.”
What it means is–you are not asking him to not cry but rather answering a ‘call for help.’
Crying is cathartic and helpful but it must be noted that in the social context it remains, first and foremost, a ‘call for help.’
Babies cry when they need feeding or something is bothering them–like wet nappies and so on. Crying is not the norm in normal situations so it’s obviously interpreted as a call for help which it is.
Crying is not just ‘call for help’ but also as a cathartic agent it brings forth all emotions. Creating facial expressions bring many emotional states and if you cry you will bring forth many hidden emotions and sometimes ‘all hell breaks loose’ so it becomes difficult to handle it in social situations.
I will take an example: We had high school farewell party. After I gave departing speech I sat back on my seat and as I looked into the eyes of one of my teachers there were tears. I had studied in that school for 8 years and attended almost everyday. I loved the classes, swings, fields and playground over there. I missed that place more than anyone else. I started crying. Once crying started I did not look at meal, other people and nothing. So many friends also started crying with me. Then teachers and juniors came consoling but they couldn’t. It was just one time affair for me but it did make handling of party very difficult for many people as things didn’t go as they were planned. Cathartic, yes, but I did regret not having enjoyed those ‘water balls’ which other friends did.
Crying doesn’t make you weak but crying is not suited for every situation. If you are driving a vehicle in high traffic and you get bouts of crying you will most probably get into an accident. In that sense crying does make you weak.
I have been a crybaby all my life. I feel I cry more than ladies do but I have a great control on it. I let myself loose when it is the time and it is like a meditation but when I have to be tough I am tough. I feel as I meditated and went deeper I became even more vulnerable to crying easily. I feel crying is ‘call for help’ to God in case of devotees.
Crying genuinely for god or beloved makes your heart clean of impurities.
Crying is good. People who can be vulnerable, who get hurt, only those people can feel ‘bliss.’
Women cry easily because they are sensitive. Since they are sensitive they feel more pain as well as pleasure. A true artist or spiritual person must embrace his feminine side. In other words he must be a crybaby. But a truly successful person has to have balance by keeping a control on feminine side–if it launches on its own in public and in odd places, they will be called ‘imbalanced’ and will have to face adversity because of it. Well, you can’t have everything at once at your disposal. There is no perfection in life, only straightening loose ends, as often as you can.
I said : Women are more sensitive than men. I believe children are more sensitive and cry easily–so do women. Other friends remarked that it is only because of their upbringing. Ladies are allowed to show their emotions and gents aren’t. Some friends said that both are equally sensitive.
I feel there is no measure of sensitivity so this will remain a moot point. But I feel some men are more sensitive than others. Some women are more sensitive than other and almost all women are more sensitive than almost all men. Children are more sensitive than adults. Babies are more sensitive than children. Sensitive means that which gets affected easily. That which is open to change, vulnerable and gets happy or hurt easily is sensitive. I take an example of Ashkenazi Jews. They have higher average IQ than other ethnic groups and they have won more nobel prizes than rest of the people when compared on prizes per thousand people in ethnic groups. They have won 17% of all nobel prizes while they make only 2% of world population. Their genetic make-up not only makes them smarter but also susceptible to some disorders. This means they have systems which are vulnerable or in other words sensitive. This example is to suggest that some groups can be more sensitive than others.
Women developed more sensitivity to pleasure and pain, not just highly evolved expression of it. Hunter-gatherer male had to shut the emotional side up in order to prey and with further evolution he also lost some ability to feel pleasure and pain as intensely as women do. It’s true that humans as a whole can’t feel some pleasures which other animals do. It’s because of evolution. Women had to take care of children and stay at home to handle delicate situations which needed emotional understanding and they became more emotionally intelligent because of that. An intelligent system has to be sensitive. Unless you are open enough to stimuli you can’t respond to that. In order to manage perceptions first you have to be able to access them freely.
That is what happens to artists and devotees of all genders. Most of us keep suppressing signals from our subconscious because they make it difficult for us to function in our day-to-day lives. But that also takes away from us our creativity and ability to solve new problems. While we become great at handling routines, our creative sides start suffocating and die. Artists and devotees are open to such signals either by nature or by nurture. They allow themselves to be open and vulnerable to higher consciousness and messages from beyond and subconscious. This is why they are more sensitive. Devotees cry, poets cry and women cry–it is not just about expression but also about being vulnerable, open and intelligent. One of the greatest devotees of lord Krishna, Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to cry rivers everyday. Meera cried rivers, so did all other devotees because they are sensitive and feel pain of missing lord as well as overwhelming ecstasy of divine love.
Another friend said:
Every person is strong. But most shed tears under extreme emotional duress, like if there is family discord. I have shed plenty of tears only when my emotional quotient is in the higher range and I am very angry. That doesn’t mean I am weak. No emotion displayed by a human is a sign of weakness.
As I see it: during family discord and also when people leave us because of death or separation we are ‘weak.’ Emotions displayed by humans can be
signs of weakness. By weakness I mean ‘they need help.’ In the social context weak and strong are not absolute weak or strong. A very intelligent system might have a great degree of sensitivity and vulnerability and might be considered weak by routine systems but that simply means it needs a higher maintenance. In social situations, carrying on and moving on with life is norm. Patriarchy is norm and that is why crying is weakness. Thankfully things are changing and people are becoming more open and educated.
Again: I will take example of infants and babies who are crying all the time to call for their moms and dads to feed them and so on. Yes, babies are weak. They need help.
It is mostly an outlet. Biologically speaking tears help in cleaning up your eyes and keeping your eyes healthy. Something that is physiologically beneficial for your health is nothing to be ashamed of. The assumption that people have regarding tears is same as they have regarding menstruation; even that is considered as dirty, when in fact it keeps you health
Yes eyes get washed but why do tears accompany emotions? They do because there is buildup of toxins in the body—body needs help. It needs to get lighter by getting rid of toxic chemicals. Toxins and tension need to be thrown out. Body-mind are weak. They need help.
Excessive crying means you are ‘vulnerable’ and ‘weak’ in a sense. It means there is repeated build-up of tension in the body-mind. I consider myself weak and vulnerable because I cry easily and I choose to be so.