What do you do with a man’s tears?

What you need to know:

  • It is healthy to cry and even healthier when the tears give you clarity of action and help you come to a resolution.

Society has conditioned us to believe that big boys do not cry. For the most part, men have affirmed this tradition by bottling up their emotions and adapting a stoic attitude towards pain. That is why it causes such a stir when once in a while, a man breaks down and lets the waterworks flow.  

When a man cries in public, we realise that a certain Rubicon has been passed and it is such an unsettling realisation. Sometimes, seeing your man cry might be cute but just as rainbows, we do not want to see it every day. In fact, I wonder what would happen to the country if our president dissolved into tears during one of his national addresses. We are quite used to his glares when he is angry and the occasional telling off, but I am sure tears would push several unstable citizens over a cliff. 

Psychologists tell us that a man that cries is in touch with his emotions. This can be interpreted in layman’s language that the man has allowed a chink to be found in his great manly armour and he is now comfortable with exposing himself. If we have a vested interest in the said male as a father, husband, leader or provider, we do not want his weakness exposed, probably because we just do not know how to deal with it. Even with the rise of the metrosexual male, few people are comfortable with male tears. 

Naturally, tears are associated with weakness, helplessness and inadequacy. Babies for instance, use tears to communicate their discomfort or need because they do not have the capacity to communicate with words yet. As they grow up, they are expected to use their words to communicate. 

We know how tears are used in movies to manipulate or disarm others. A beautiful woman will cry her way out of a traffic offence but a man will be considered weird resorting to the same tactic and it will not work anyway. 

Actor Will Smith became a crying meme during his meltdown because his reaction was way out of the norm. The Will Smith we knew would have probably tried to cover up his heartbreak with swear words, bravado and even make jokes out of it.  But, a Will Smith in tears was out of the ordinary and as expected, he opened the floodgates to all sorts of ridicule and judgment from so many people.

Most powerful men would rather be feared than loved and they follow this strategy to consolidate their power. There is no place for tears in this kind of strategy, since tears put one in position of weakness rather than strength. Like bleeding prey, tears tell our enemies that we are game and encourages them to pursue us to our death. 

So, is it never okay for a man to cry? At the end of the day whether male or female, we are human. We all feel pain and tears are a healthy release. Even Jesus, who had the power to walk on water and bring back to life dead people, wept. Sometimes, there is no other option but to cry out all the pain and frustration. 

But it begins to work against you if you over do it. One thing many people that worked with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs knew was his tendency to cry at the drop of a hat. Over time, people started avoiding challenging him because the last thing they wanted was see their fearless leader in tears.

Tears, I feel; especially male tears are a powerful thing that should not be shed carelessly. Why should you let your abusers or oppressors see your tears? Would that not give them the satisfaction they are looking for? Rather, as Jesus did, if you must cry, use the occasion to empower yourself and arrive at a resolution. 

Whether male or female, it is useless to cry over the same situation over and over again; it takes away your power and turns you into a victim. It is healthy to cry and even healthier when the tears give you clarity of action and help you come to a resolution.