Ok, I’m just going to put it out there. I’m a crier.
From as far back as I can remember, I would tear-up at the drop of a hat. You?
I remember back in the day, one of my biggest sources of tears was when I saw a parent with their small child out in public connecting in a loving way. Mom or Dad would usually be kneeling face-to-face with their little one tenderly explaining something or perhaps soothing the child’s hurt feelings.

Only later – decades later – when I started studying emotions did I understand that my reaction was as a result of the overwhelming sadness that it set off because of that loving connection I never had growing up.

As an emotions therapist, I see this all the time among my students and clients – both women and men – who also tear-up at the most unexpected times – and they’d be quick to say at the most “inconvenient” times. Inconvenient because in our culture crying in “public” is mostly frowned upon and often belittled. And as we all know, this prejudice is especially hard on men (“you big cry baby!”).

What’s behind those tears? 

So many tears releasing deep sadness during one of my personal meditative “neuroworkouts.” The teacher in me had presence of mind to take this picture! The graininess is because of the dark room. 

But when we can understand what’s behind the tears it can open up a whole new world for us… one that we’ve likely never explored (or known to explore!). When we can be in touch with why the tears are welling up and openly receive them, it can be deeply healing and can allow us to be in touch with and release distressing trauma that we’ve likely worked so hard to keep at bay.
There are tears of joy of course. But those are welcome and celebrated… tears of joy is an acceptable form of crying in our culture.
However, when tears well up because of sadness and grief, our culture wants us to hide this display of emotional pain. And as I say especially for men. Yet when we can transcend this ridiculous bias of “crying means weakness and you don’t want to show your weakness” then a new world of emotional resiliency opens up to us.

In emotions therapy we can learn to put the tears “to work” by connecting with the underlying message of why they are arising. When we can do that, we’re able to access our consciousness in order to look deep inside and feel what is most important to us. This is vital to meet our human potential because sadness and grief tells us what’s important in our life.

Wherever there is sadness, there is love. If we don’t care about something, then we’re not sad. 

When I cried over seeing intimate connection between a parent and child, it was because I grieved never having had a close intimate relationship with a caregiver. My childhood was very much the opposite, interspersed with ongoing neglect and abandonment.
Of course, to feel sadness and grief may not have anything to do with one’s unsettled childhood. It could be the loss of a loving parent, partner or friend and the absence of their enduring support that pierces your heart to the greatest depths. Regardless of its genesis, sadness can open a portal for huge growth.

Under the influence of plant medicines

I hear from people frequently who are medicating with cannabis or psilocybin microdosing who are often surprised by the sadness they feel and the tears that flow. These spirit medicines have the capacity to help put us in touch with our emotions – by amplifying them during our processing work. That’s why I invite my students and clients to experiment with them. I have seen for many that it can make a huge difference in accessing their invisible inner world, where all our undying hopes and dreams come from.
What comes up when you think about yourself and tears? What’s been your history and experience? I invite you to drop down to the comments section and let me know. It’s so different for everyone; I’d love to hear from you.
With Love,
P.S. Do you have sadness, grief or loneliness that you would like to move through? I invite you to go to my “neuro-workout” practice page and choose the “Relieve Sadness and Grief” practice. Let me know how it goes!