Don’t cry! I am sure we have all heard that a million times in our lives. It starts out when we are kids. If we fall and scrape our legs, we were encouraged not to cry, to suck it up. When we get rejected from the “in crowd” we are told to suck it up and move on. When we break up with our partner, our well-meaning friends try and make sure we do not cry over it.

Usually, these anti tear messages are given to us for seemingly good intentions. Our parents want us to be tough, our friends want us to be strong, and a crying male is not what many people would think of as a strong in control man. Crying is seen as week, girly, a loss of control, and other neutering qualities.

After years of these kinds of messages, we begin to judge ourselves, suppress our tears, and hold back. Without the availability for crying, we then have to channel any hurt feelings through another avenue. Often, the other avenues are anger, depression, and vice. No matter what we do, our feelings will come out. Holding back sad hurt feelings only means that they will be translated into different actions.

One dimensional manhood

In this world, there is a very limited, one dimensional view of strength and manhood. You are suppose to be physically strong, emotionally tough, dominant and in control. These qualities are supposed to be there day and night, and on all weekends and holidays. There are no vacation days or sick days, and no paternity leave.

While the idea of being that strong tough dude may be attractive to some, and emulated by those who feel that they lack such toughness, this ideal is a one dimensional, restrictive way of looking at strength and toughness. It serves to cut off our psychological limbs and Denys us the full range and ability to be what we all are, and that is human.

The concept of strength

The concept of strength is sadly screwed up. The concept of manhood is outdated. We need to broaden our idea of what toughness is. True strength does not only reside in physical power, it is also emotional power.

It is the power to be aware, and effectively handle your feelings and emotions. It is the power to channel your emotions in a way that is healthy for you, while not causing harm to other people or areas of your life. Suppressing your emotions is not strength. Addressing your emotions is strength.

Tears without Fears

When I speak about the ability for a man to allow himself to cry, I do not mean be a twenty-four hour storm cloud that’s constantly watering your mustache. I do not mean falling over in a pile of wet body parts at the first sign of upset. I do not mean that you should dilute your rum and coke with salty human fluids. What I am talking about is the ability to be able to accept your own emotions and giving them the release that they need.

Being strong means being able to be weak at times. Being able to accept that we are human, and as humans there will be times that we can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. When a loved one dies, that hurts. When we go through a break up, that hurts. When we think about that thing our Father did, that hurts. We need to take time, deal with those feelings, and allow them to flow.

We can’t be afraid. We cannot think about how it would make us look to others. We must drop the false, nonhuman, empty shell manhood image we have. Sometimes, we need a good long cry. We may prefer to do it in private; however, I would recommend that we hang around those that can support us through the ups and downs. A real friend that accepts us for the man we are. A partner that will be with us as we work our way through releasing.

A man that can ride the emotional hurt, a man that can sit down and cry, then stand up and keep moving, a man that understands that crying does not take away from his manhood, but adds to it, is a real man.

How have you dealt with the issue of crying? Does crying affect your image of your own manhood?

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