“Emotion, Empathy, Feeling”
“These human qualities, gentlemen, are for the weak, for those who we leave behind.
For those who we remove from the group.
You are the masters of mankind; bred to be the future’s history.
Hold yourself as such – and do not let the world see you tremble!”
Does this song hit you between the eyes as it does me?
Can you imagine a world without emotion? If we all walked around like robots, emotionless, with no feeling or empathy, just cold and empty? For me, it would be an unrecognisable world and not one I would want to live in.
From a young age, I cried and showed my feelings. This isn’t an emotion but part of being a human. However, that doesn’t mean I spend each and every day weeping and wailing – far from it. In fact, I cry from sheer joy and have done on several occasions in the last four years as I have dealt with my mental health. It scares my friends as they think I’m relapsing, therefore, I have to quickly laugh and say “It’s okay, it’s because I’m happy”. But of course, maybe through the struggles, I now recognise what it’s like to be happy and hence the tears?
I’ve never had a problem with it but on occasions, especially on my quest for the best mental health I have questioned is it good for me? The thing is, from a young age, I have always had deep feelings. It’s not always to my benefit and often I have questioned why I have such strong emotions and whether they are in fact, useful to me. Certainly sobbing like a child at the drop of a hat (last week saw me crying at Pretty Woman – even though a) I know the ending and b) I’ve seen it about ten times). I still cried when she left the hotel and Richard Gere’s character, despite the fact she loved him. Maybe because I was envisaging what it would be like to leaving Richard Gere in a hotel room on his own? 🙂
So truly, are these deep feelings useful?
Someone I respect very much recently raised some interesting thoughts in my mind. She said that she felt that emotion was not at all useful and it was far better to work on a different ‘higher’ level. It was okay to feel empathy but true emotion did not benefit the person who had those feelings. As she spoke, I actually felt like crying. She had a point as crying never got me far in life, only puffy eyes and a snotty nose. I would often feel like a fool, especially if I was surrounded by people who were not responding in the same way as me. I recall watching the movie ‘Cry Freedom’. At the end of the movie, I sat there, watching the ‘Roll call of deaths under Apartheid’. I couldn’t stop crying and once I started, I couldn’t stop. I sat there dumbfounded, especially when my friends actually got a bag of popcorn and started chucking at me laughing all the way at my emotional response. The same happened when I watched the movie ‘Les Miserables’ with the hugely talented Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. Both of their performances moved me to tears but the story, you see, quite simply, I emote what I feel and I feel what ‘they’ feel – and that goes not just for actors but for true life situations too. Likewise, this happens when I listen to music. I cannot listen to classical music as I simply cry as I find it so beautiful. I recall being given an album many years ago when I worked for HHB and promptly returning it saying I could not listen, as it made me cry, it truly was beautiful and although I listened through it once I was exhausted by the end. The poor lad who loaned it to me had a puzzled look on his face :). Likewise, the song “Everybody’s gotta learn sometime”. I played it over and over when I was thirteen, a scary time in a young girl’s life and for some reason, the beautiful notes just resonated with me and took me to a deep emotional level.
So enough with all this silly stuff and nonsense right? Cry babies? Who needs them? It shows weakness right? Well no, it doesn’t. It shows empathy and that’s an awesome trait to have. So here is what the scientists say (courtesy of the Netdoctor);
So, how do tears help us emotionally?
- Emotional or stress-related tears are thought to help us through difficult times in a number of ways.
- Physically, they’re thought to wash toxic chemicals out of our bodies, while psychologically giving your feelings a good airing is thought to be a healthy tonic.
- Crying is thought to help reduce stress, which can have a damaging effect on our health and has been linked to a number of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes and obesity.
- According to the Minnesota study, crying can help to wash chemicals linked to stress out of our body, one of the reasons we feel much better after a good cry.
- Higher levels of adrenocorticotrophic (ACTH) have been found in emotional tears (compared to reflex tears).
- Removing this chemical from the body is beneficial because it triggers cortisol, the stress hormone – too much of which can lead to health problems associated with stress.
- “Crying can help release tension and stress, as well as expressing emotions”, says Dr.Abigael San, a Chartered Clinical Psychologist.
- When you’re upset and stressed, you have an imbalance and build up of chemicals in the body and crying helps to reduce that.
So crying releases chemicals and it’s stress reducing. For sure, every time I felt like a good cry and I did so I have been able to laugh easily afterwards plus I slept amazingly well. Maybe I’m onto something here. However, as I said before, I often cried out of sheer joy and happiness, it’s like I feel this incredible thing inside me and I have to just burst into tears to let it all out! I’m asking myself – “Is this just me?”.
As a person showing your emotions shows that you are human. It’s an open, honest and truthful way of living and, frankly speaking, anyone who judges you can just sit in envy as you get rid of lots of stress and even have a giggle at yourself. If you truly feel the need to cry it shows feelings and depth of compassion as well as empathy of course. And with the word ‘Empathy’ out there, I feel another blog coming on.
Cry baby? Yes, you go on and cry your little hearts out. Hurrah to emotions, empathy and feelings!
Tracey B x