Think of it as
emotional cleansing. Crying. It is the body’s way of letting go of
pain and hurt. From a psychological perspective, it is validation of
distress, upset, injury (be it physical, emotional or psychological).
For many, crying has gender-based prohibitions. In other words, it tends to be OK for girls and women, less so for boys and men. Although the infant may cry, the toddler male may soon be told such things as big boys don’t cry. Therein from very young, many boys and some girls too, are admonished if crying, made to feel less of themselves, as if they must simply tolerate their upset or pain.
However, to allow the cry, the expression of sadness or hurt, allows the child to self-soothe, to vent, to acknowledge when bad or distressing has occurred. It also serves as a signal to others to hopefully bring empathy, support and attention to an issue. It brings relief and caring.
Some parents worry that by giving attention to crying, the child may learn to thus continue to cry only for attention. This is easily mitigated by allowing the cry and seeking to resolve the issue giving rise to the cry. Even if the cry is from frustration, having been caught and wanting to escape an outcome, the discussion can include what to do differently to get one’s needs met. However, the cry still serves to release the tension of the child.
Come adulthood, the cry remains important. It continues to allow for self-soothing, a signal of need to those who may offer support and a release of pain.
Shame not those who cry. Instead see their expression as a message of pain. It’s not that the other, bearing witness must make it go away, but simply stand in witness. Therein a person’s upset is additionally validated, and acceptance is gained.
Like the rain that washes away the dust and dirt, the tears of upset cleanse.
We speak of a good cry. It brings relief.
Let it rain.