It’s good to cry too…

It is generally believed that men do not cry. It is mindset that if you cry, you are not a man. This gets reinforced by many life incidents. My father was a very soft spoken person and never cried. I have never seen him raise his voice or get angry at anyone. I had also never seen him cry. So, I also believed this belief that men don’t cry. Then, when my mother died and I was lighting her funeral pyre, I saw tears roll down my father’s eyes. I realised that crying is normal to humans.

It is a fact that all of us have emotions. Some of us express it, while others may not. My father never expressed his sadness and thereby his sorrow with others. He could neither be seen jumping around when he was overjoyed nor sulking in sorrow with tears rolling down his cheek. He preferred to keep his emotions to himself. My father has been a role model for me in my life. I always wish that I learnt to be half as patient as he was always.

Today, we try to inculcate in children not to laugh or cry aloud. It is ingrained in them as if it is bad manners. In my view, we should encourage our children to express their emotions openly. The more we laugh and cry in this world, the more we will be in balance. We will learn to share our joy and sorrow with others. We will learn to let go and also share the emotions with others.

It may be true that I have inherited this quality from my father. I have also cried only a few times in my life. But, I realised that every time I let the emotions pour out of me in the form of tear, I feel relieved. Recently my brother in law died and when his son was lighting his funeral pyre, he burst into tears. My nephew is a young lad in his early thirties and could not bear the loss of his father at such a young age. The priest halted the funeral and advised the young boy to cry aloud and let his emotions come out.

We need to learn to emote. We grow up being told not to laugh or cry. The conservative society labels young men and women who cry as not brave enough. In my view, this is not right. It is good to cry and laugh. It helps you to release your pent up emotions and let go. It may also help you to forget and forgive people if you are willing to let go off your emotions.

I was hurt by an uncle of mine during my young adulthood, when he declined to help me when I was in distress, while treating my ailing father on his death bed. I was very upset and deeply hurt by this incident. I almost stopped talking to this relative. Years passed by and while I was narrating this incident during a training programme, I burst into tears. I could not control my pent up emotions. After I regained my balance, I was willing to forgive this relative and even spoke to him later.

Emotions are an integral part of our being. We need to let it be and let it go as and when it is necessary. We may get overjoyed and we should jump in joy and share our joy with others. We may be overwhelmed with sorrow, when multiple incidents occur one after the other and we lose control. We need to share this sadness with others and cry aloud so that we can vent out our feelings.

In my view, laughing and crying should be an integral part of our living. We should laugh and cry every other day as we breath every day. It is good to laugh and equally sound to cry. Let us not be guided by age old mindsets that “Men don’t cry”. It is human to cry and we need to realise that we all are human beings. We all cry at birth and make others cry when we die. Let us also learn to cry in between birth and death.

Lets learn to cry.

S Ramesh Shankar

Sorrow & Joy…

Life is a journey filled with joy and sorrow. We go through days filled with joy and want to share with family and friends. However, there are other days when we are drowned in sorrow and have nobody to share with. In life in general, most people will be willing to share your joy but avoid you when you are doomed in distress. It is at this time you get to test your true family members and friends.

I have personally gone through many years in my life when it appears that the sun does not rise at all. It looks gloomy and cloudy and you have no tears left to cry. All your tears have dried up and you fail to see light at the end of the tunnel. The road in the tunnel seems endless and full of twists and turns. When someone tries to console you, you get more irritated than relieved.

It is at such times one needs to reflect. It takes time and patience to look within and reflect. Your true family and friends are beside you and provide the psychological support for you to get over this crisis. During these times, listening to your own inner voice and reflecting on it is more soothing than listening to others. However, we also need to remember that there are many people around us who are also drowned in an ocean of sadness as compared to us.

I have also met some people in my life who have gone through one crisis after another. I have no words to console them. I am aware that their tears have dried up. Only time and reflection can help them get over this phase of life. It is a tedious and arduous journey. Most of the time one has to travel alone in this journey. The secret is to live on hope. While easier said than done, I have found no better alternative so far.

What can we do when we meet people in our life, who are in such situations. Most of the time, we may not have answers to their soul searching questions. But, we can be a good listener. They also know that we may be helpless. But our physical presence and psychological support gives them hope. It is hope, which helps them limp back to normalcy. There can be no life without hope and we need to rekindle that hope in them.

It is in such weak emotional moments, the “Godmen &God women” of various religions exploit our social vacuum. They exploit our emotional weaknesses and most of them make us believe that they have super powers to help us get out of this situation. We need to guard against such men and women. They are enemies of God in human form in my view. We need to believe in ourselves and our near and dear ones, who are by our side during these times.

While I am a born optimist, it is difficult to infuse optimism in people, who are in deep distress. No words can console them. No stories can inspire hope in them. No cloth can wipe their tears since their tears have dried up by now. The one sure way of supporting them is by being with them and listening to them silently. It may be helpful to share their emotions at this hour of crisis to the best of our ability.

When you have no tears left to cry, life looks as if you are standing in front of a hill like in the photo above and it may take years to climb to the top and go over to the other side.

We also need to let them be alone during this time. Self reflection helps a lot. Our ability to be grateful and also realising that there are millions around us in more distress enables us to gain composure. We need to let them cry when they want to and lead life at their own pace. We can only embrace them with the psychological blanket of emotions.

We need to believe that tomorrow will be better than today.

S Ramesh Shankar