a sad man tearing

Is it okay for men to cry?

Statements such as ‘men aren’t supposed to cry,’ ‘man up,’ or ‘be a man’, etc are often directed at men who show (or about to show) emotions. Is this fair though?

Is it weird for a man to cry? I’m going to be the first to admit that I still feel awkward when I see a man cry. Maybe I have grown too accustomed to societal roles of what a man is, or what a man isn’t.

Boys are taught it’s not manly to cry or show vulnerability, which shows up in the suicide rates, with men 4 times as much to commit suicide than women. Tears are emotions that don’t have names.

I have never seen my father cry. Wait, I remember. I have seen him cry only once when my grandmother (his mother) died. Other than that, I have only seen men cry in movies, and I quickly skip to another more macho movie with guns and bombs.

Does a man’s cry show weakness? We as men are very egotistical and we never want to show any weaknesses. Especially before your partner.

Phrases such as ‘big boys don’t cry,’ ‘man up, and ‘be a man’ are thrown at men who cry, damaging their self-worth and belittling their self-image. Which of these phrases do you hear often?

  • Be tough
  • Don’t be weak
  • Crying is for wimps
  • Always be strong. Don’t cry

The internalization of pain often leads a man to put up a false front, a bravado of sorts. The internalized sadness and pain can turn into anger and fear. Think about how often you will see a man go out of his way to seem ‘tough’ and resist any suggestion that might show he is weak.

I personally believe there shouldn’t be any stigma around men crying. We are all human. It is completely normal and therapeutic to cry. It shows your tender side, that you care and you have a way to express your emotions. It takes guts to cry because that means showing vulnerability to let go and move forward.

Crying is simply a different way of expressing emotions. It is much better than anger or channeling it to alcoholic drinks and other vices to numb the pain. That is running away from your emotions. It sets an example for other men to be free around you, to express themselves.

  • It is a sign of vulnerability. It shows you are human with emotions.
  • Not all tears are sad. Some are ‘yay’ tears! It could be tears of joy such as getting into the school you’ve always wanted.
  • It’s a way of venting out frustrations. We all need to vent at some point in our lives
  • Loss. Death of a loved one, broken relationships, etc.
  • Crying is also essential to resolve grief… Tears help us process the loss so we can keep living with open hearts.

Society expects men to have maximum control of their feelings, but this doesn’t exempt them from experiencing sadness. It’s okay to have feelings, and perfectly okay to express those emotions. Feel your own feelings and be accepting of other men when they do the same!

At the end of the day, whether you identify as a man, woman, or other, we are all human beings.

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