Tears have a deep meaning and often resonate stress, anger and sadness. But what do these repeated tears reveal? Hypersensitivity? Poor emotional management? Depression? Is it such a bad thing to burst into tears at the slightest opportunity? Crying often, even every day, can be difficult to deal with. Getting emotional at work or in public, for example, can be mortifying, shameful, and our tears quickly become a handicap.
Why do I cry all the time?
Being emotional is what makes us human, therefore, even if the frequency of our weeping is important, why do we want to stop? The question is not so much about putting an end to our emotional episodes, but rather understanding where this behavior comes from.
Am I crying because I am emotional? Am I under stress? Or is it one of the first symptoms of depression? Remember, weeping often for no reason is sometimes the first sign of depression.
Testimony & analysis
📰 'One evening, I was watching the news, when all of a sudden, the reporter was talking about an assault on a gay couple. The more he recounted the scene, the more tears came to my eyes, until I couldn’t stop them from flowing. I felt a little silly, especially since my partner was giving me a doubtful look from the other end of the couch.'
'If I think about it, I believe I'm just empathetic, except it doesn't end there. I've already cried several times at work, in front of my boss and my colleagues. In times of intense stress, the slightest criticism makes me break down. And if I hold myself back, all I have to do is get in my car or close the door of my house and the tears that have accumulated during the day start to flow out, and there's nothing I can do about it.'
Lisa’s testimony is interesting because it parallels two causes:
- One is quite common, pressure, stress, fatigue, and therefore welling up, which allows this accumulated pressure to be released, even if it is not an opportune moment.
- She also evokes empathy. Empathy, although often real, is also a reflection of our anxieties and fears. Lisa fears being subjected to unwarranted aggression and living in a society where aggression is very present.
This situation is reminiscent of another woman who was worried about crying in front of commercials. She talked about sad music, but also about an advertisement that featured a man who had lost his wife. Becoming emotional in front of this kind of scene would therefore have more to do with fear of the death of our loved ones than with empathy.
Something to remember:
However, if anxiety makes us weep more than we should, it may be because there is a deeper cause behind those tears, such as depression or low spirits.
How can I differentiate necessary tears from pathological tears?
When the frequency of tears begins to become very regular, it can become troubling.
📰 'I cry almost every day. As soon as we watch a movie or a series, I'm sure that my tears will eventually run down. If I burn my dinner, then it’s exactly the same scenario. And then, as soon as a colleague, a friend or my partner makes a comment about me, I just can’t control my emotions. When I release my emotions in front of my partner, he often gets angry and suggests I grow up a little.’
Here Jane describes a situation where welling up becomes a real handicap for her and can even interfere with the smooth functioning of her relationships. This is why people who often cry must ask themselves one question, which is; when this occurs, do I really feel sad, a bit like I've just lost a loved one or do I feel rather depressed?
Tears always have a reason for sparking up. If you have trouble identifying that reason and sorting through your emotions, you can write them down and go back to them later.
Write down what makes you so upset, so you can better understand if it's a temporary depression or if you need to release the pressure, stress or sadness. If this phase of writing does not allow you to fully take stock and your sadness persists, it may be because you are deeply depressed and should therefore consult a psychologist to help you.
Can you cry all the time and still be okay?
While crying may be a warning signal, it is also good for you. Our society tends to paint people who get upset easily as the hypersensitive ones and makes them feel guilty about it. However, crying is communicating one's emotions to the other, it is allowing oneself to feel and to drive away negative emotions. It also helps us to let go and express what we are feeling and going through.
The problem is that even though we are convinced of the benefits of tears, whiners are often seen as manipulators. One anthropologist even notes that in communication, when a person cries, the rules are no longer fair and reactions change. Empathy instead of anger or, on the contrary, annoyance instead of understanding.
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How can we stop getting upset over nothing?
Alicia tells the story of the day she stopped being controlled by her emotions and more specifically by her tears.
📰 'On my mom’s birthday I spent hours baking her a cake. I was exhausted but proud and I couldn't wait to see her face. 8:00 p.m. arrived, I got ready and gently placed the cake in a box for transportation. During the car ride, a person came out of nowhere and crossed outside the crosswalk. I hit the brake pedal and the box tipped over. I was upset, I shouted at this reckless person, I already felt tears coming and then I decided it wasn’t worth it. I felt frustrated but it wasn’t my fault. I then chose to smile, to the point where I almost laughed and played music that makes me feel good. That day, I didn't breakdown, despite the anger inside of me and I was still fine.’
According to psychologists, in order to contain your tears, you have to get out of the dramatic situation and take a step back. It is impossible to escape every tense or disarming situation, but as Alicia shows in her story, by adopting a neutral, relaxed or joyful facial attitude, we can change the message sent to our brain and thus hold back our tears. For if getting emotional is good, going overboard with it can harm our relationships and actually prevent us from expressing strong emotions without resorting to tears.
Editor's note: Cry if it makes you feel good!
For a human being, even an adult, welling up is normal and if it makes you feel good, go for it! If you own it and feel comfortable like this, don't change anything. You may need to tear up often and feel perfectly fine.
These tearful spells can only be problematic if they make you feel uncomfortable or if they interfere with your relationships. In this case, it would be a good idea to have a therapist accompany you. In the event of a crisis, try to take a step back or avoid situations that bring tears to your eyes.
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