Why We Need Society To Cry?
We are very proud to be writing our first blog for The Happy Place Project, having seen the TEDx talk by Dr Emily Grossman on ‘Why science needs people who cry’ we were inspired.
In society the perception of crying can be one of acceptance or not, however, this is greatly dependent on the individual. Dr Emily Grossman proudly admitted that she cries, that woman do cry and that more men should be encouraged to cry, sadly this comment was received with a negative reaction upon social media channels. Firstly, what she witnessed was cyber bullying and notably this had a great effect on her, however, she turned a negative into a positive, speaking out about the topic to a greater audience.
So why, why should we cry?
People worry that they are too emotional, too soft or even too vulnerable when they cry. An outward show of emotions such as crying has been stigmatized, causing numerous people to believe that they can not show emotion, which can exacerbate underlying mental health issues. Having the ability to express emotion through crying is a huge part of what makes us human, separates us from the ever growing advances in technology and robotics. Crying is our natural way to release, tension, anger, hurt, pain and joy, some of us cry because we care, we want to succeed within our career, that doesn’t make it wrong.
It can be a representation of a release of joy, when astronaut Alan Shepard landed on the moon he said
“If somebody’d said before the flight, ‘Are you going to get carried away looking at the Earth from the Moon?’ I would have say, ‘No, no way.’ But yet when I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the Moon, I cried."
Alan Shepard was no lesser a man for crying, he was a hero for his accomplishments, just think how the ideology of space travel may have changed if he had been shamed for crying where no one could see it and then admitting it to the world. Crying is incredibly important to society, more specifically to us as humans and individuals.
Dr Emily Grossman highlighted emotional openness can be supported by the 3 C’s … Compassion, Collaboration and Creativity, hearing these words reminded us of what we are trying to achieve here at The Happy Place Project. So much so that we are incorporating those 3 words into our ethos.
Compassion, is an expression of caring for others, whether that be in a professional capacity or a personal, it can also be seen as empathy, both of which varies from individual to individual. The Happy Place Project founder Ceilidh Dickson was once told that she had to stop caring so much and change, her response was simple
“No, this is the way I am and I don’t want to change, I am proud that I am the way I am!”
Compassion opens us up to the feelings of others and the world we live within, whether that may be heartache or scientific progression, curing diseases or medical advances for cancer patients, these originally stemmed from compassion. However it is important that we understand where someone may show selfless compassion, another may not, and we are not saying it is one way at all, both sides should respect each other. We understand here at The Happy Place Project that compassion for others is not enough when tackling a huge topic such mental health issues on our own, therefore this leads on to the second C, Collaboration.
We believe in the most obvious sense of collaboration, working with others to achieve a goal, create a project or represent a cause, however this can also be perceived in another way. Collaboration on an emotional level allows us to empathise, see another's point of view or importantly listen, in an ever changing world, where mental health issues are spoken about more commonly it is important that we work together. How many of us can honestly say we place our own thoughts and opinions aside to listen to what others may think and feel?
In a study published on 30th September 2010, in the advance online issue of the journal Science, researchers applied the ideology that social sensitivity in groups could increase the groups collaborative cognitive ability. Discovering that groups featuring those who show compassion, social collaboration, could indeed perform better than those individuals with a high cognitive ability.
“Social sensitivity has to do with how well group members perceive each other’s emotions,” … “In groups where one person dominated, the group was less intelligent than in groups where the conversational turns were more evenly distributed.”
Thomas W. Malone, the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management
At The Happy Place Project we believe the ability to demonstrate a collaborative environment is important, encouraging those children we work with to open up, listening to what they think and how they feel, then expressing that through creativity. This leads us on the the final C, Creativity.
When we remove stress, anxiety or frustrations, we are free to emotionally open up, allowing us to become more creative. We have a greater ability to think freely, express ourselves and look at something from multiple directions, we are able to connect with our imagination, basically we can be creative removing the stunt that was previously there. We have seen the freedom the children who we have worked with experience, like a weight was lifted off their shoulders and now grey tones in their life are replaced with vibrant colour.
Studies have shown for an individual to experience creativity, their brain must be able to move freely between relaxation and focus, however stress, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc can build a wall between these states of relaxation and focus, preventing that sensation of creativity and imagination to be experienced.
It was said by mathematician Henri Poincaré
“It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover.”
Albert Einstein in 1929 once said,
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."
However, those great historical figures weren’t always successful in their creative endeavours, they both experienced failures and setbacks. That is okay though, creativity is never certain or guaranteed, we have to be prepared to fail, when you are creative there will always be another who does not like what you produce. We live in a society where people are afraid to take risks, to step out of our comfort zones and to express ourselves; however this is essential, especially for those who are experiencing depression. We can become trapped inside our own head, whereas creativity can free us, it can rebuild that confidence we once had, for others it may provide a freedom we have never experienced.
Mental health has grown into an issue which is becoming greatly more accepted in society, we are now in a position where figure heads such as HRH Prince Harry and Stephen Fry are speaking out very loudly about their struggles with mental health issues such as depression. We need to dispel the idea that you can not open up due to fear of ridicule, bullying and stigmatisation, the world can seem like a dull, cold and desolate place to those who are battling against mental health issues, without the support of others this can only get worse.
It is through compassion, collaboration and creativity we can develop a greater emotional openness, and it is with charities such as The Happy Place Project we unite these 3 C’s and a positive future for young children allowing more with society to move forwards.
So yes we do need to cry, we need to cry tears of joy, sadness, elation, anger and relief, we need to do this as a source of freedom and an emotional outlet. What if you don’t want to cry, well that is okay too, just know that it is okay to cry!