Should You Hold Back Tears?
Little Johnny falls and scrapes his knee and starts crying. ‘There, there now, dry those tears, Johnny,’ we may tell him. ‘Big boys don’t cry.’ And so if Johnny holds back those tears, perhaps we feel that we have taught him a valuable lesson about manhood. But have we really?
Don’t hold back those tears! So urges biochemist Dr. William Frey II, a leading authority on crying. Why not? Because crying may be good for you.
Dr. Frey maintains that only humans shed emotional tears and that such tears differ chemically from those induced by irritants, such as onions. Different in what way? In a report published in Psychology Today, Dr. Frey reported that “emotional tears contain a greater concentration of protein than do irritant-induced tears.”
One thing appears certain: Crying does seem to help relieve emotional stresses, such as grief and sorrow. The Bible contains numerous examples of men and women—including Jesus Christ himself—who shed tears. (Luke 19:41; John 11:33-35) So in coping with such emotional stresses as grief, a helpful piece of advice may be: Don’t hold back those tears!