Researchers have established that crying releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, also known as endorphins. These feel-good chemicals help ease both physical and emotional pain.
There are 3 different types of tears that we cry:
- Basal: The tear ducts constantly secrete basal tears, which are a protein-rich antibacterial liquid that help to keep the eyes moist every time a person blinks.
- Reflex: These are tears triggered by irritants such as wind, smoke, or onions. They are released to flush out these irritants and protect the eye.
- Emotional: Humans shed tears in response to a range of emotions. These tears contain a higher level of stress hormones than other types of tears.
In today’s episode, we’re talking all about crying and its multiple benefits.
Specifically, we’ll be talking about…
- What has your journey with crying been like?
- What benefits have you experienced from crying?
- Do you practice crying?
- How can the people out there listening learn to cry in a supportive and healthy way?
- How can we support others to cry more?
– Connect with us –
All right. Welcome everybody to another episode of Gay Men Going Deeper, a podcast series by the Gay Men’s Brotherhood where we talk about all things personal development, mental health, and sexuality. Today your hosts are Matt Lidsiedel, Michael DiIorio, and myself, Calan Breckon. And collectively, we have over 40 years of experience in the personal development world. And if this is your first time listening,
we want to welcome you. We each have our own coaching practice, but in this podcast, we are always giving away our best stuff. So today we are gonna be talking about crying. Yes, that thing that everybody loves doing, especially in front of people. And we’re gonna be exploring questions like, what has your journey been with crying? Or What has your journey with crying been like?
What benefits have you experienced from crying? And do you practice crying? And how can the people out there listening learn or listening and learning to cry in a supportive and healthy way? And how can we also support others to cry more because it is very, very important. So we’ll be continuing these discussions on the last Thursday of every month in the gay men’s Brotherhood Zoom Hangouts,
where you’ll have your chance to share your experiences. This podcast in YouTube channel are listener and viewer supported. So if you are enjoying what we’re creating and you wanna support us, you can head on over to our Patreon page and contribute to the show. You can also hit that subs, the early subscri, early access subscription option on the Apple Podcasts and get ads free and early access to episodes.
All of your support helps us to continue making content for you and supporting our community. And we thank you in advance. Also, be sure to check out our new attachment style quiz in the show notes to find out what your attachment style is, and we will send you a free report when you go and do that. Now, before we jump into today’s episode,
let’s read a review from one of our listeners. So this one was on the podcast, Apple Podcast reviews give us five stars. So thank you Jay Nav. And Jay Nav says, My first step to finding acceptance and community. This podcast has helped me unpack so much and taught me to recognize the value with inside myself. It’s a big part of what’s given me the courage to come out this year at the age of 26 and start to build and rebuild secure and burden free relationships.
Thank you for changing my life. And he says PS would love a long distance relationship episode. So there’s an idea for one of our episodes. Oh, well thanks. I love that. I know, I love that he came like, I always love hearing when somebody’s like, this gave me the courage to come out like you’ve been helping me on this journey.
It always just makes me so excited and so happy. So yeah, awesome. Thanks for that, Jane A All right, so today we are jumping in and we are talking about crying. And I love this topic because I have a very upsy downsy relationship with crying that I will dive into later in the episode. I didn’t cry for a very long time period in my life,
but first I wanna share a couple of stats and a couple of things with people. So researchers have established that crying releases oxytocin and endogen opioids, I don’t know how to say that word. If somebody knows, tell us in the comments, also known as endorphins. This feel good chemical helps ease both physical and emotional pain. I did not re, I did not realize that crying actually releases those feel good chemicals and hormones into our body.
That’s probably why it always feels good afterwards where you’re like, Oh God, it feels so much better. There is actually three different types of crying and they’ve, they’ve actually categorized them. And I thought it was like, Oh, you’re just crying. But there are three scientific different definitions of crying. So the first one is basal, and that’s B A S A L.
And the tear ducts constantly secrete basal tears, which are the protein rich antibacterial liquid that help to keep the eyes moist every time a person blinks. So this is the one that we are doing constantly all of the time so that our eyes don’t dry up and that we’re not like, Oh, I can’t see or open my eyes. Unless you’re really dehydrated.
Then you need to, you need to help. You need some help out on that one. The next one is reflex. And these are tears triggered by irritants such as wind smoke or onions. I hate onions for that reason cause it affects me real bad. I, there’s been times where I literally have to leave the kitchen and I can’t even open my eyes and have to go wash the bow.
Like it gets real bad for me on that one. They’re released to flush out these irritants and to protect the eye. And then finally is the emotional. So we’re probably gonna talk about this one the most today. And this is human shed tears in response to a range of emotions. These tears contain a higher level of stress hormones than the other types of tears.
So this is actually a, like a different reaction your body is releasing when you’re experiencing emotional crying, which I found very, very fascinating. And a 2014 study by a trusted source found that crying may have direct self soothing effects on people. And the study explained how crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system p and s, which helps people relax, which is really,
really important. I know that Matt, I think you’ve done a lot of work around this and you know a lot about it, but this is kind of the space that you get into also when you do meditation, when you’re doing, doing deep breathing and you’re allowing your body to relax and chill out, that’s what this is. So you, you know,
you activate that, that system so that the nervous system can actually relax and calm down. Especially in today’s world that has taught us to be in constant fight or flight all of the time, we’re not activating this enough. And so crying is part of that activation, which is probably why a lot of people bottle it up and then they explode cuz it’s your body going,
I need this in order to survive. So, jumping into question number one for today, which is what has your journey with crying been like? I’m very interested to find out what y’all have to say. So how about we start off with Michael today? All right. Hi everyone. Thank you Calan, for explaining those differences, both the three different types of crying.
I, I, I must admit this episode, I, I really didn’t know what to say. Like when we talked about doing it, I’m like, okay, sure. You know, but I don’t, I don’t know what my relationship with crying has been. So I wanna thank you for the questions cuz it definitely, you know, allowed me to like ask these questions to myself.
So here’s what I, here’s what I’ve been thinking. I cry easily so I can cry easily. That’s not an issue. I don’t cry often though. It doesn’t happen very often. Of course there’s periods in my life where, you know, events or, or the trigger will be there and I, I will cry if I think of the death of a loved one or,
you know, a breakup or something sad happening. Of course it’s, it’s very, like I said, it’s very easy for me to cry I think these days, luckily that hasn’t been my experience lately, thankfully. So I think when I think to the last few times I’ve cried, it’s always been watching a TV show or movie and it like, it gets me every single time.
I dunno if you guys watch This Is Us, Oh my god, all the cries all the time. That last season. I don’t wanna give away free people who haven’t seen it. Yeah, I not seen it. Yeah, no watch the last season, I mean, I cried normally, but in the last season was very tough. And so yes,
the writers and the actors and actresses of that show, I must have been and people who do the score did a very good job creating an environment where like, cool, how did the tears not come? So, yeah, so for me lately it’s spent a lot of that. So I do cry easily. Like I can, I can watch a commercial and,
and cry, right? I can, I can even see something on like a real, on Instagram and cry. It comes easily when it comes, but it doesn’t necessarily come often. Yeah. Another one is music or songs. I think if I think to, if I try to make myself cry, which I could probably do, I have to think of people in my life like nostalgia,
like people who are no longer in my life, people that I miss and memories that I’ve had with them. And I, I was trying to think about this, I’m like, is that a happy memory or is that a sad memory? And I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I think it’s a mix, a mix of both emotions that stimulate the crying cuz it’s,
it’s a happy memory I think think of like happy times with these people that are not here anymore. But at the same time I’m sad cuz I miss them and the physical presence of them. So yeah, I guess my journey with crying, I don’t think there has been a time where I bottled it up. I’ve never really been that guy. I’m Italian,
we don’t really bottle up emotions. We kind like throw them out there. But yeah, it’s, it’s definitely something to, I’m very curious to hear what you guys have to say cuz I feel like I’m, I’m gonna learn more listening to you guys cuz I don’t, I, I find it hard to kinda pinpoint exactly what makes me cry and how I,
it’s obviously a feeling of heavy emotion usually triggered by something else. But I don’t, I’m not the kind of person to just like break out and start crying unless I’m feeling a very, very deep emotion. And the last time I can remember thinking of that is like at a funeral or, or like after a breakup. Those are the, I think loss,
loss and grief is really the emotions that, that, that do it for me. So yeah, that’s, that’s my journey if that’s what you wanna call a journey. I’m curious to hear what you have to say Matt. Yeah, thanks for sharing. Yeah, I, I kind of, I wanna just thank, you know Calan for these questions cuz I,
I had the same experience as Michael. Like, it was nice going down like this whole journey of like, what is my relationship to crying and what has it been like? And I kind of, I started at like the origin of like where I learned how, you know, what, what crying meant to me right from a young age and being a young boy,
I was a very sensitive, I I’m a highly sensitive person and I was a very sensitive young boy. And somewhere along the way I don’t have an explicit memory or anything, but somewhere along the way I was conditioned to believe that crying wasn’t good. You know, you gotta toughen up and, and you know, being a boy you shouldn’t express your emotions in the form of crying.
And that was part of it for me, like the shutting down of my emotional self. And the other part was I was highly sensitive and when I learned that conditioning around men shouldn’t be this way, they shouldn’t be expressive emotionally, they shouldn’t be sensitive, I basically just shut myself off and I used shame as a way to kind of shut myself down.
And so that was the start of it. And then the, the, the, the trauma that I experienced in my younger years put me into a very dissociative state. So I learned very quickly to be, to live from my mind, you know, like men live from their mind, women live from their, their heart. That’s kind of what I was conditioned to believe.
So I lived most of my life, I would say probably from the age of nine till the age of probably 25 completely shut down emotionally. And I didn’t know how to bring my emotions into my relationships. I barely had emotional displays, like even when I was by myself, cuz the shame was so intense that I would just shove it back down. And you know,
when I got to about the age of 25, I remember I was going, I just was going through a lot of stuff at that time in my life. I was coming outta the tail end of a, of an addiction. I was in a relationship that was challenging me in so many ways. And I decided to hire a therapist actually. And I started working with her on,
well, the core issue of why I went to see her was actually because I was, I was constantly blushing in front of people and I just hated it. I would just go red for no reason and for, for the most part. And I didn’t realize what it was is it was all this stuff inside of me that was being shamed. All this,
this stuff that I wasn’t expressing and it was harboring in my body and my, my, my body wanted me to start connecting and releasing this stuff. So it was blushing, it was having a physiological response to the repression. And so I started working with her and that’s when she, I got introduced to the term like vulnerability and what does it mean?
And I actually started my own journey towards being vulnerable. And for me that was a game changer because I was able to start connecting back in to my body, which in from my personal perspective, that’s where crying occurs. Like it’s a very embodied experience, right? If we’re dissociated and we’re in our mind and we’re numbed out from our body, it’s gonna be really,
really hard to cry and to connect with our emotions. And so I had to start just connecting in with my body. I started going to like sound healing ceremonies. I started studying shamanism and working with different sort of medicines and plant medicines and rituals and stuff like that. And then I just started connecting in. It was like a very gradual process and,
and now I’m like, I was, when I was a little kid, like I cry very easily now. I don’t judge it. I think it’s a very beautiful experience. I cry in front of people. I’ve cried on this podcast several times and I don’t, I’m, I don’t control anymore like myself. My, my emotional response is I fully let them flow.
And when we do that, it’s interesting because emotions don’t really, when we’re just letting ourselves flow, emotions don’t choose the perfect moment to express themselves. They just come out whenever they come out. And I’m really learning how to let that happen. And it, it is extremely vulnerable still for me to be able to, to show that. And I still get vulnerability hangovers after I cry and,
and all that stuff. But it feels amazing. It feels amazing because for me, like, you know, Michael was talking about grief and loss and I think those two are very, very, you know, prevalent for me as well. I think the biggest one for me would be healing. Like I cry when I’m overwhelmed by things that aren’t working for me anymore in my life and I’m shedding.
So for me, crying is like a shedding and a healing and it lets me connect with, so I guess it would be similar to grief, I guess that’s what how, kind of how I perceive grief. It’s like an overwhelming sadness that comes over my body when I’m meant to let something go. So, yeah. Hmm. Yeah. What about for you,
Calan? Oh, I love that. It’s so beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for sharing those guys. So my history with crying has been very up and down when I was really young. So I’ll start at the beginning when I was really young, my parents went through a divorce when I was like, or started going through separation divorce when I was like five,
six. And so I don’t ever really remember like crying any more or less than like a normal child. But then once that stuff started happening, I started really just kind of like locking down and locking it up because my mom and dad were so emotional. And I remember specifically this one time where my dad just broke down crying on the couch and I must have been like six,
maybe seven. And he is like being, I don’t know what to do and like all these things that like an adult should not be talking to a child about. And I remember just being like, Well, I can’t cry now because you’re crying and like you are the adult. You’re supposed to know all this and like, you have no idea. So I’m like,
okay. And I remember from like those moments and then my mom also had her own moments where I was just like, Oh, okay, well I’m, I’m not allowed to cry then. Like I, I can’t cry because you guys are taking up that space. So it’s like I gotta be the one to hold the space for you to cry. And so I remember specifically just like locking it down and for like a number of years and then as I got older and like knew what was kind of happening,
it was like almost like a badge of honor that I wore that I was like, Oh, I don’t cry. And people are like, What? I was like, nope. Like I never do like, it just, I don’t cry. Like, and it was like I had been so emotionally turned off that it was like, and it wasn’t even something where it was just like,
oh yeah, I try. It was just like, it just nothing faces me. Like, it’s just like, oh yeah, shit happens, or Oh yeah, that happens. Or like everything was just like, okay, sure. And it wasn’t until I was in my final year of high school and my dad, well my dad’s girlfriend specifically had me kicked out and I remember that night going to my best friends and we’d hung out and chatted and I’d like processed and kind of talked about things.
And it wasn’t until I left or was about to leave and I was hugging my one best friend and my other one was in the car cuz she was driving. And I remember hugging her and just like breaking down, like completely breaking down because I think it was finally like, I finally felt like I was in a safe enough space with somebody safe enough to do that.
And like, I just like uncontrollable. And then I don’t think my friend knew how to handle that because like I’d never cried before, especially in front of of people. But like, she kind of, she held her own and just like kept hugging me being like, It’s, it’s okay. And so that kind of opened a little bit of the floodgate of like,
oh man, like that was, that felt so good to finally like, just let all that out, like years of that out. And then I still kind of kept things pretty locked down for a while after that. And it wasn’t until I was a little bit older, maybe in my twenties, and I was living actually at that time, living at this person’s house now.
So I eventually moved into their basement again, like, go figure, like save space. I feel like this is it. And then I was like sitting on the couch and watching an episode of Brothers and Sisters and like, I remember that show just being so good and I don’t even remember what happened, but I just like started bawling and crying my eyes out.
Maybe it was something to do with like the gay, the gay brother and his husband Luke McFarland played the gay husband. Ugh, so hot. But I remember just bawling and crying my eyes out and being like, I need to do this more. And I, I guess like I had figured like, I need to do this more for me. And I’ve now kind of found a way to trigger that.
And so from then on I started doing experiments of like watching sad shows or watching things that triggered me. And if I was alone, I would allow myself to then start feeling the emotions that I had because for so long I hadn’t let myself feel those emotions that I was like, okay, this is a safe space and a safe way for me to access this and this is like a socially acceptable thing to do.
And so that’s how I really started accessing crying. And then now later on down my personal development journey, I’ve realized that I also still do this when I feel pressure is building in my body. And that’s how I feel it. I don’t know whether it’s grief or you know, whatever’s going on, but like there’s a buildup that kind of tends to still happen,
that I’ll come to a wall and I’ll be like, Oh, I need to cry. Like I need a good cry. And I’ll kind of plan it out. Like I’ll like plan, like, you know, okay this weekend or like whenever I feel like I’ll have enough space and time with myself and I’ll like plan something really sad to watch or something that I know might trigger me,
and then I’ll just let it happen. And then I’ve also done it where I’ve just been like in bed and I’m just like, okay, I’m just gonna let myself really dig into it and like I, I dig into the emotions and feelings and I search for things that really upset me in my past. And maybe that’s a way for me to find those things and to heal and release them.
But I search for them and I really dig into the feelings I felt that I didn’t let myself feel at the time when I was a kid or when I was younger. And I’ve noticed that as an adult, like I’m so much more balanced in my relationship to crying in life. Like now I can al I also cry all the time at super happy things that never used to happen,
but now it’s like when something’s so joyous or makes me so happy, I’m finding myself crying at that a lot more than I am crying at like sad things. Like sad things are sad, but when things are so happy I just, I cry because it makes me so happy that there’s that joy in the world and that I get to experience it or be around it or see it or witness it.
And so those kinds of things are making me super, super happy. Like crying at weddings, like that would be the kind of thing that I, I do a lot more now or even just watching TV shows and whatever. So that’s kind of been my journey with crying. It’s been a long one. It’s still not perfect. Like I said, I still kind of tend to let things bottle up and then I’ll release them,
but at least now I know my rhythm with that and I allow myself to go through that process and to experience that rhythm and to kind of like just let it out if it needs to come out. So going on to question number two is what benefits have you experienced from crying? Which I’m sure we all kind of shared those, but let’s go back to you again and start off with Michael.
Thank you. Yeah, I think what you said got me thinking as well about my own first memories of, of crying and, and it goes back to this lost piece, right? Like I was thinking, yeah, when did I, like what’s my first memory of crying? And it always goes back to this instance of like having someone and then that being taken away,
that person going away, not necessarily like dying, but like, just like my mom or my dad or my grand, one of my grandparents was someone I loved. And then like having to go to work, I remember having a really hard time with that. So I think there’s something here with me and, and attachment and loss. I think I’m gonna have to like do some self-discovery on this later.
Okay. So what benefits have you experienced from crying? Yes. So definitely generally, like, you know, we’ve talked about in the beginning, you know, I think your body wants to cry and I think it’s, it’s really good thing to let it, it’s your body’s way of self-regulating, your body’s way of releasing whatever emotions are there. You know,
the paras parasympathetic nervous system is the same part of your body that when activated calms you down, helps you feel safe and relaxed, lowers cortisol levels. So all those things, I mean, it’s the way we are designed, so any other narratives we have about like, not letting ourselves cry, what people think that just gets in the way of, of,
of a design. And then the other thing is, it’s like a, it’s a social cue, right? When we are crying, when you see someone crying, we’re kind of designed to be empathetic and it says to the people around you, Hey, I need some help with support right now. So it is a good thing. Now let’s talk about,
yeah, the question. What, what have you, what benefits have you experienced? I think what I just kind of said, I think for me the times I have cried and I’m talking about like the, the real stuff. Like not necessarily just watching a TV show, The Oprah ugly cry is why Yeah. The ugly Cry used, they call it the Oprah ugly cry.
The whales, I whale like I wa like a lady morning or husband at a funeral. Like I am one of those, when that happens, and it’s been years since years since I’ve done that, You know, the first thing is like, I wanna control because I know it’s gonna get ugly. And then obviously I remind myself, I, I don’t,
I shouldn’t control it, let it out. But it feels good after like, it, it sucks obviously, and it feels terrible and all the emotions are like ugly coming out of me, but at the end of it, it feels relief. It feels like, like oftentimes I find myself like catching my breath, like trying to like let it out.
So clearly there’s a lot in there and so I need to release the pain and it, it does, it does release the pain, it releases all the heaviness, it releases the grief, the loss or at least helps process it. And I feel later afterwards. And I think that that in and of itself is probably the, the biggest benefit that I can think of it.
It’s, you know, also as I’m thinking about it now, it kind of reminds me that I’m a human. I’m not a robot and that’s a good thing, letting myself cry, giving myself permission to do that is something I do for my relationship with myself, with my, like with that inner childhood that you’re speaking of, right? That I was just accessing that memory,
like letting myself cry is an honor to him who maybe didn’t or, or was told he couldn’t. So if I do that now, it’s kind of a, a demonstration of my own vulnerability to self, my own self-trust and my own ability to hold myself through that period of crying. Yeah. So I think that’s, that’s the biggest benefit. It’s just letting it out.
It’s good, it’s good for me to let it out. It’s good for all of us to let it out. You know, think of it, this is a little bit, this is a little bit strange. Think of it as poor pee your tears. If you have to go to the bathroom, you don’t wanna hold that in. Literally it hurts.
It’s not good. Your body wants to release that stuff and think of the relief and satisfaction you feel after you’ve been holding in a pee or a poof for a very long time and you let it out. Like that’s the same kind of satisfaction and relief and sense of lightness that I feel. So that’s an odd way to look at it, but you know,
that’s the benefit, relief, satisfaction and just something you can do for yourself. How about you Matt? Yeah, I wanna just say it to Calan, it’s, it’s un it’s unbelievable how similar our stories is in that space and how that impacted us so similarly. And I think that’s where we have a lot of resonance energetically in that, in that space.
And I also resonate with like the, the connecting with joy and that feeling very overwhelming. And you know, I would say probably for me it’s like I haven’t experienced a lot of that in my life up to this point. And now I’m by clear that I’ve done a lot of healing work and I’m starting to meet more joy in my life and it feels very overwhelming for me because it’s not a common theme that I’ve experienced in my life.
And I’ll share a little mini story from this that came up recently. So it was two weeks ago I had, I see a therapist every two weeks and it’s this actually the same therapist that I saw when I was younger too, which is amazing. And I’m in the shower and getting ready before a session, whatever, and I’m like playing sad music and I’m like trying to get into the space of like,
of being in this session so I can have a good release or it’s just, it’s just so hilarious the way that I’m conditioned around that because it’s like we ended up having this beautiful session where we talked about all the things that are going well and the joy and we laughed together and I just said, I’m like, it’s so funny that I was preparing for this session.
I was trying to control my emotional reaction or response to this session when really my, my, my body and my spirit wanted to have this joyful experience with you, right? So, and I I see that in in sessions too where, where I’m the counselor and you know, my clients come in and it’s like they feel like they have to find things to work on and,
and, and that’s not the case, right? Like we can celebrate joy. That’s part of the reason why we’re doing this work in the first place. So it, what you shared made me think of that. So I wanted to share that and then I was gonna share this anyway, but it, it’s funny that you use the analogy of the PPE thing because I wrote a section in my book called Grown and Men Don’t Cry with the Don’t Crossed Out.
And the very first paragraph in this excerpt is the human body is designed with many miraculous physiological responses at our dispose disposal. We use these body responses to release energy caused by the activity of the mind and the experiences of the body. We yawn when we’re tired, we sneeze when we have a tickle, we laugh when we feel joy. We fart when we have gas and we cry when we need an emotional release.
Where along the way did we learn to make crying such a shameful experience, especially amongst men. And that was when I was bringing my, I was like on this journey of like bringing my head back down into my body or like moving from my head to my heart. And crying, believe it or not, was the, the main vessel of my healing.
I had to reconnect back in and I had to cry all the tears that I didn’t let myself cry from nine to 25. And that was a very, very intense period for me of deep, deep work and connecting to that. Like I, I I really resonate with what you said, Michael, like, it’s this like feeling of lightness that, you know,
if if we have, if we’re not letting ourselves cry, there’s gonna be a density and an emotional density in our body. And when we release it, it’s like this, it’s like releasing the pressure valve, you know, and letting all that pressure go and we can finally have more space inside of our being to have more joy, right? And that’s probably why I haven’t experienced a lot of joy up to this point in my life is because my experience was inundated with density,
lots of density of emotion and healing that needed to take place. And so now that I’m doing that, it’s like, it’s like this feeling of like, like, like I said, like release, like releasing the pressure valve and and expressing, and the way I kind of view that is like, it’s like a letting go process because it’s like we don’t just cry,
it doesn’t just come out and it’s like the pressure valve just releases itself. We have to make a conscious choice to find stillness, to be with ourselves and to fully let that go. So there’s like a surrender aspect of it. And for me it’s like that’s been a huge issue in mo in my life for most of my life, is being controlling of myself and others and,
and my experiences. And I think crying for me has been the physiological response or physiological kind of example of just surrendering and fully letting go. And it’s scary, it’s very scary when we, when we first start connecting to that part of ourselves cuz it does feel like, oh shit, if I let the, you know, the flood gates open, what’s gonna come out?
You know, like, will I be able to control it? It feels very intense and, but that’s the, that’s, that’s the, that’s the beauty of it all. It’s like once it’s released it’s like we feel so good. And, and I think the, the, the, the other benefit that I’ve really recognized is, is moving beyond anger because I kind of reflect back on like nine to 25 and what was my emotional range?
It was very limited and anger was, anger and happiness were my two primary emotions at that time. And well, anger isn’t a primary emotion, but it, it felt like it at the time. And what I would do instead of if, because I couldn’t connect my emotions, I couldn’t connect it, I couldn’t cry. So I would ruminate, I would play out cycles and I would have a lot of anger.
I was a very angry person at that time and I was, although I was masking it, if you, if people were to say like, oh, Matt at, you know, 18, was he an angry guy? No, I was actually, I, I would have the mask of being very joyful, very happy because again, my emotional expressions were limited so I had to feel very contained and I had to kind of hold everything in.
So the benefit was learning how to move beyond anger, right? And I think once I started to recognize anger as a secondary emotion and that it’s used to mask something that I don’t feel comfortable to connect with or be vulnerable with, which in that case was a lot of disappointment, a lot of hurt, a lot of sadness, a lot of grief and loss that was underlying that anger.
It was crying that allowed me to move beyond the anger to connect with those emotions. And that was really the like kind of the birthplace of like my, the start of my healing journey, you know? So crying, crying is, is such a, it’s such a miraculous thing, you know? And I absolutely love it. I always, I always joke that I’m like,
if I could have a crying meditation every morning, I’d be the healthiest and happiest person ever. I do actually cry quite often in my meditations, like it’ll just come outta nowhere. And sometimes it’s sad and sometimes it’s like overjoy. It’s wild. Yeah, it’s beautiful. Yeah, I love it. Aw, thanks for sharing all that guys. And that I really resonate with the 18 year old self who’s like projecting joy but like is just so angry on the inside,
but like those are the two, like it’s either I’m this or that and there’s no middle ground to that. I was like, oh yeah, I feel those vibes a hundred percent. So for me, like the largest benefits that I’ve experienced through crying is just like massive, massive relief. Like as if like I had like all this weight and pressure on me and it just like disappeared through that crying experience.
And I think a lot of people do experience it that way and it makes sense because you know, like I said, the emotional tears are, you know, they have a higher level of stress hormones in them, which means that like we are physically releasing that stress and in the society we’ve built, we’ve built up this whole pressurized cooker of, you know,
fight or flight. You’re constantly in a stressed out situation, whether it’s your emails coming in, phone numbers, needing to talk to a boss or dealing with work or kids and like all of it just really builds up. And if you’re not allowing yourself to express your emotions or your feelings properly, which one of those big things is crying, you going to explode.
And I tried that for a long time and I exploded and it was not, it was not good. And so for me being able to actually activate these systems now I don’t get as, how am I, how do I phrase this? So it would block a lot of my thought processes and I think maybe I’ll take this back to where Matt was saying that it was like a lot of anger under there and that’s where a lot of my emotion goes to is the anger of like the things that happened to me and all that kind of stuff.
And so that would cloud my vision in cloud what was actually going on and it would trigger my responses. And so if somebody was bringing something to me, I wasn’t able to look at it objectively and be like, Oh I can see how you’re, you know, you’re right and like I might need to look at this. It was just automatic rage because there was so much underneath me and hiding that it was like,
oh here’s a moment where you can let some of this pressure out. And it was just like rage instead of being like, you know, you can go and cry and be sad about these things and also let that pressure out so that you can actually come and have a conversation with this person and actually take in this information. And I was really bad at that when I was young.
I was really bad at taking constructive criticism or having anybody say anything to me because it was automatic, like mini explosions back at them and they were like, whoa, where is this coming from? But it’s because I kept everything so bottled up and so inside that it’s like any chance I saw to release some of that pressure, I took it, but it always came out,
out in like anger and attack mode and crying and being able to access that part of my life is now really released a lot of that energy. So now it’s like I don’t feel the need to do that anymore. I don’t feel the need to be like, I gotta release the pressure in this pot, otherwise it’s gonna explode. It’s like, no,
it’s like, it’s just chill. It’s at a good room temperature. And so now I can actually engage in those conversations and not have a clouded mindset when I go into, you know, interacting with others or people or the thought processes in the back of my head, I think the anger used to drive a lot of my thought processes and it used to drive like,
oh, what’s this person thinking about your, did that person say that because of this? And that came from that angry space of bottling things up. But now that I’m not coming from that point of view, now that I’m not coming from the energy, I could be like, oh well that was just a shady comment. Okay girl. Like, and I don’t take it the same way that I used to when I was a lot younger.
And so crying has opened this space up to me. And as well as, you know, it activates that parasympathetic nervous system, which is so important to like regulate our bodies and regulate like what we’re experiencing and what we’re going through. And I think that being able to activate that through crying meditation and other things is so important. And that’s probably why I end up crying.
Not all the time, but a lot of the time I just like, I’ll be in meditation and I’ll just be in such a calm state that my body just releases the things it needs to release. And so I’ll start crying, but it’s not like I’m happy or sad, it’s just like I’m just being and I’m just letting it come out. And I just really am grateful that I was able to access this.
And I do wanna say that, you know, historically men were told not to cry, don’t be a little bitch like don’t be, you know, all those things. And it’s because we were taught the one thing is men is don’t be vulnerable, don’t look vulnerable and that’s it. And so it’s like crying is obviously looked at as being something that’s vulnerable.
And I think it’s something that’s incredibly powerful and it’s in that vulnerabilities where you find true strength because you just see it. We see it and we watch it in movies all the time, but we still have this weird belief system in it. I don’t get it, I don’t get how we can see it all the time and experience it with others in movies.
And yet we still think that it’s this thing that it’s like, oh that’s, but I can’t do that. Other people can do that, but I can’t do that. But if you aren’t in this space where you’re allowing yourself to activate it, it could also activate you Where I was when I was younger and I would see somebody crying, I’d be like,
What a fucking little bitch. And I would project all this anger on them and I’d be like, are you fucking kidding me? Like grow up or man up or all these toxic things that I was saying to myself that was keeping me angry and small and I was jealous that this other person was able to access that because I was like, well how dare you cry and be able to release all these things when I have to suffer with them.
And I think a lot of the world is in this belief system that it’s like, well I didn’t have it so you can’t have it. And there’s that jealousy or that anger around that when we just need to kind of all start doing our work to realize that. Like you can have that too, but it means you’re gonna have to go through the process and do the work.
And I think that, you know, things like listening to this podcast and taking on the tips and things that we do and you know, going through the courses that we have helps you activate and access those things because either you can be angry for the rest of your life and project all this or you can start doing the work, but there’s no world where you get to have both,
you know? So yeah, crying has been hugely, hugely beneficial, which is why I was like, I wanna do an episode about this. Alright, now we are going into the last part of do you practice crying and how can the people out there listening learn to cry in a supportive and healthy way that can help them in a healthy and supportive way?
And how can we also support others to cry more? Ugh, sorry about that tongue twister. Go ahead Michael. That’s a loaded question. There’s like three questions in one. Okay, so I don’t practice crying. Like I don’t sit there and be like, I’m gonna practice crying today. I really don’t. It just, it happens and when it happens I let it,
Yeah. And, and even in public sometimes I’ll just, I’ll let out a tear for whatever reason and that’s okay. So I don’t, I don’t know if I actually practice it, I don’t think I ever have. But to answer the second part of the question, I think the first thing we need to do, and hopefully this episode for everyone out there is a great sales pitch on crying.
And the first thing you gotta do is give yourself permission. Like hopefully we have convinced you that this, there’s, this is a very natural human response. It’s good in many ways, there’s many benefits. So hopefully this has convinced you even our, our stories and different as they may be, have convinced you. So yeah, first give yourself permission.
Let yourself be okay with that, at least with yourself. You don’t need to necessarily say, Okay, I’m gonna go cry in front of the whole world. That that might be too big of a step for you at the first, the first step. So at least give yourself permission to do it alone or with someone that you trust now, whether it’s a loved one or professional,
whatever that may be, if you generally have a hard time crying, if it doesn’t come easily to you, then again, one of the things that I think helps is, is using a conduit like TV movie, a song, an experience to like, we have to project our feelings onto that. I know that’s what I was doing with this Is Us,
right? I was watching that family and the reason I was crying was because I was seeing my family reflected back to me. And so often we will project our own feelings onto these lyrics or whatever the situation is on the tv. And that can help, sometimes looking directly at your life is a bit too much if you have a hard time. So don’t do it directly.
Kind of use these things indirectly. Another tip I have is to let your mind go there. So sometimes we avoid the sad thing because obviously it’s sad and we’ve talked a lot about that on this podcast about allowing these emotions. I think that’s one way we don’t allow ourselves to cry, we don’t allow ourselves to go to that sad place. The feeling of loss for me regret abandonment.
I know when I was thinking about like that, that feeling I was just telling you guys, it’s, it’s an abandonment as I when I was a kid. It’s that abandonment that I really got, got me to cry. And it’s really hard to go there. But if you let yourself go there, especially if you do have someone with you or,
or you feel safe to do so, knowing that sometimes the, well not sometimes the only way to get over it is to go through it. Let your mind go to the scary place. Let your mind go to the place that hurts. If you do that, the tears will process. The tears will, will come out. Yeah. And again,
you know, ideally you can do this with someone that, that you feel safe with, but that’s not always the case. And I understand that. But then allow yourself to do it in your own company. I think that could help. And as I, I have one more that I’m gonna add off the cuff here cuz it just came to me in,
in this episode, I’ve been like going back to my inner child self, like the, the version of me who’s like four years old or five years old, the one that I was just tapping into. That version of me feels helpless and scared. Yet that version of me still exists today in this, like this adult version of me today. I’m still in many ways helpless,
or I still feel helpless and scared. So I think again, merging those two, like this is my inner child who is kind of still having those emotions in my adult version of me and they need to come out. So tapping into that version of me will, will help me. Like, I can almost feel like, well, well I, I feel sad and scared for him and help us.
For him, I kind of wanna just like hold them up and like cuddle him close to me and tell him it’s gonna be okay. So I think that’s another tip I’m gonna say is tap into your inner child. Those are mine. Hmm. Yeah. Thanks for your share. What you just shared at the end there was really powerful to observe. And I think it reminded me of something that I,
well we, we just, the three of us witnessed it. We were in a group dynamic and two of the participants in this group were, there was a potential conflict there and one of them admitted that they were scared of this other person. And I kind of had some, you know, some time to process this. And I was like, I would never in my life admit that to somebody that I was scared of them,
right? And then I’m thinking, I’m like, okay, where does this come from in me? Like, you know, and that’s, that’s that younger part of me that was terrified. I was so much like, that was a very dominant experience in my childhood is being scared. And part of my dissociation was to shut that off. I’m not scared.
I will be, you know, controlling. I will be, I will, I will do anything but feel the fear because the fear was a very out of control experience. So I tried my, my best to never ever experience that again. And that shut me off to connecting to that because I think about it, I’m like, how many times in my life have I wanted to cry because of fear?
Because I’m scared. I’m scared that my life isn’t gonna work out. I’m scared that I don’t have enough money. I’m scared that I don’t have a relationship. Like fear is a very, very powerful thing. And so anyways, what you just shared there made me realize like how even still in this, to this day, I still won’t let myself connect to the,
the matte that’s scared. You know what I mean? Like, I’ll default into all these other kind of defense mechanisms. So anyway, thank you for that. That was a good, a good realization to have. Okay, so yes, this was a meaty question. So I’ll start with the first one. Yeah. Thick and juicy, just the way I love it.
Do you practice crying? So no, I don’t practice crying, but I did, I had to go through a period where I had to practice crying a lot to get good at it. And now what I’ll say is I practice presence so I can’t cry if I’m busy. And busyness was a huge trauma response for me. I was always busy doing,
doing, doing my to-do list were crazy long and I never was slowing down enough to connect to my body. There’s so many people who are pissed off right now because I could hear them being like, fuck you. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I’m, I’m practicing presence and I, I had, I took, you know, a moment, I actually read the chapter in my book this morning before I came into this session because I wanted to remember my journey.
Cause I wrote about it exactly what happened in me coming back to crying. And so the first thing was I had to get present. I had to start finding a way to, to slow down my mind and come down into my body and just meet myself. I think most of my life I’ve been running from myself and I had to turn to myself and start to meet myself.
That, and that for me is presence slowing down enough to kind of be with be with your, your yourself. The mind for me is very fast. I think quick. I I, when I default into that energy, I’m very like a little bumblebee, you know, busy little bumblebee. My body on the other hand is very slow down. So I had to kind of slow myself down so I could start to connect into that body and meet myself at a pace that I was able to start connecting to the emotions so they were able to be expressed.
And then the, the, the other thing was I had to recognize my own shame triggers. So whenever there would be an emotional response, what would happen is it would start in my pelvis and that’s where a lot of my emotions or experiences in my pelvis. And then they would come up, it’s almost like they’re coming up my spine and they would start and they,
they would hit my throat and then what I would do is I would swallow, believe it or not, that was my physiological response to not feeling my emotions. I would repress with a swallow. So it, you know, it would start to come to here and then my eyes would start to feel that tingly kind of welling up feeling. And then I would swallow and it would push it back down.
And I didn’t realize that I was doing that my whole life. I didn’t realize that until I started to connect to that, you know, that presence and then being like, okay, what, what is this shame response? What is it doing? And it was the mental energy telling me it’s not okay to let go. Right? It’s not okay to show this right now,
so don’t let it happen. And then boom, I would, I would swallow it back down. So the other thing was, I, most of my life, whenever that’s, that would happen and I would start to feel like a cry coming on is I, a lot of tension would happen in my body and I would just feel really tense all of a sudden and I had to learn to breathe right?
And even still, when I’m crying now, crying for me can be a very constricting experience. My whole body contents up and it’s like the, the tears are coming through. But what that does is it’s not allowing me to get deeper, right? It’s, it’s still allowing me to cry, but it’s not allowing me to get deeper into like, the pit of,
of maybe some of my, my deeper emotions. And so my, I have, I’ve had to override myself and I had to kind of just breathe, take a big deep breath. You know, it’s like, kind of like, almost like an orgasm, right? When you think about, you know, a lot of guys that I’ve shared orgasms with,
it’s like there’s a tension and like the body gets really tense, right? But when, and they’re pushing the orgasm out, but it’s like, can we breathe into that orgasm and let it kind of soften and, and then the body can take over. So I think, you know, pulling that same wisdom into crying, it’s like pulling the breath and using the breath as a,
as like, as a vehicle to release is so crucial. Like, it’s everything for me now. Like the breath is, is so important. And then my last thing was place your hands on your body. So I, I remember like when I was really, really mental energy, so much mental energy that I couldn’t connect down into crying. I had to find a way to,
to come down into my body. And what I would do is I would, I would kind of sit there and this is when I was practicing crying, and I would just have my hands on my body. So whether that was on my stomach, my, my thighs, and I would be kind of like rubbing and just like keeping myself down in that downward kind of embodied energy.
And then it allowed the emotions to start flowing. I’m, I’m thinking back on this and it was such a, it was such a challenging transformation for me because you’re, you’re literally overriding all the years of conditioning that it’s not okay. But I do think that the, the main one for me was kind of overriding that shame response. That it’s not okay to have these expressions,
just keep pushing through that and, and breathe into it was, you know, really, really powerful for me. So, yeah. Well, thank you very much for that. I’ve like, been listening. I’m like, okay, I gotta take notes. I think I wanted to do this episode because I’m like, I still got a lot. I need to learn about this.
Yeah. Did I, I get insane headaches when I cry, like, insane throbbing, like, I’ll be crying so hard that I need to stop crying because I have such a throbbing headache that I’m like, if I keep crying and my head’s gonna explode. And so thinking about what you just said, Matt, I’m like, okay, I’m gonna focus on that next time.
Next time I have like a wailing, like seriously, like deep down there cry. Like I’m gonna try and focus on remembering that and like to breathe through it and to also like keep it going but breathe through it and bring it down into the body because like it always just pressurizes right here and it’s just like my head’s gonna explode and it’s always wild.
Yeah. But I do always feel better afterwards. So do I practice crying? Yeah, I think I was like sitting here and I was like, what the, like I was like, okay, this is weird. I thought, I thought other you guys would’ve had different answers. But I do practice crying because I think it’s still one of those things that I,
it’s not a default mode, so I need to remind myself to like get into it. Especially if things are starting to pressurize or get intense and like Matt said, that fear comes up and I always have just been the bottle up, bottle up, bottle up. And so it is a practice for me to remind myself to like, no, feel the feelings.
Go through the process, do the thing, otherwise this is gonna come back and bite you in the ass later. And even as recently, you know, when I had to move out for my first, like my place in Toronto, I went to Montreal and then came back like I’ve been in a very up and down space in the last couple of months that like,
I definitely had to kind of practice crying, otherwise I was like, this is too much. Like there’s too much going on that I can’t handle or that I was perceiving that I couldn’t handle that. I was like, if I don’t cry and I just bottle this up, it’s not gonna be good. So yeah, so I do practice crying and like I said,
I, you know, use TV or movies or music and meditation to kind of activate that space to dive into it. And that’s how I do it. And so I don’t have as a, a robust of an answer as you guys do because I think you covered a lot of the kind of the basics of how to actually get into it and like the logistics and the physicalities of it.
But I think that this episode has been super juicy and really a lot more interesting that I think maybe we thought it was going to be, cuz as going through this, like I got really excited about talking about it and like I could just feel the energy coming up and I learned a lot of new things. And so hopefully everybody out there listening to today’s episode also heard a lot of new things.
So before we head off today, do either of you have anything you want to add on? I feel complete. No, I feel complete. Yeah. Awesome. Well thank you all so much for listening to another episode of Gay Men Going Deeper. We put out new episodes every Thursday. If you like this episode and you’re watching on YouTube, please hit that subscribe button and give us the thumbs up and hit the little bell so that you can get notified Every time we put out new episodes.
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