Why we’re crying, an analysis

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Crying is a way to communicate our emotions to others or release our internal feelings. As babies and toddlers, we cried to communicate what we needed. In elementary school, we cried out of frustration or anger. As pre-teens, we became more confused and with these emotions we cried over things we never thought we would cry about: relationships, grades, popularity and body image. Now, as teenagers developing into adults, the cause of our tears have evolved and changed dramatically as we enter a more complex world. Transitioning into independence is the time where we become calloused and used to what caused our tears when younger. And the reasons for tears don’t always result from heartbreak or sadness. Because of our discovery of the “adult world” sometimes our tears result from beauty.

Everyone can agree that with age comes complications, and our reasons for crying become more complicated. When we were young we had a very provincial understanding of the world. We knew our family, our neighbors and our friends, and they were the only strong relationships we had. We were able to register and address complications within these relationships on a very simple level. An example being when you knew your parents were fighting or one of your relatives was sick. Though we understood that there was an issue, it never registered with us as something that would make us cry. This is because when we were younger, we were very materialistic. Our toys, food, clothes and wants were important to us. We were more likely to cry over our mom not buying us a candy bar than heartbreak. An article on Medicine Online supports this statement by saying the most typical reason for a child to cry is out of frustration, and not getting what we want.

There are many studies trying to find the reason of ‘why we cry’. Depending on what one believes, the real reason for crying can probably never be answered because every person is different. We realized this more when we were in middle school and were starting to make an identity for ourselves. We essentially matured a little– capable of developing real relationships with people and not just materials, and learning more about the world. But with our transition from child to pre-teen, relationships with other people started to become more important to us. With this, we developed new emotions and experienced new sensations when those emotions were experienced. Unlike any other impression we were able to feel previously, our tested emotions were not always negative. Though we were still young and not as experienced as we are now, we developed an understanding for the beauty of the world around us. We could cry over a happy ending in a movie or when we experience acts of kindness.

But it is safe to say that our greatest, most recognizable transition was from pre-teen to actual teenager. In high school, we have an incredible amount of responsibility, are held to high standards, are capable of creating intimate relationships and having an identity of our own. Attached to this list is also a greater exercise of our emotions. Now that we are able to express our emotions publicly and person to person, we become vulnerable: Our emotions are not just personal anymore, and others around us can recognize them, which sets us at a greater risk for getting “hurt”. Because when emotions are made public, others have the ability to manipulate them or use these emotions to control us.

We, as high school students, are held at high standards: grades, image, responsibility and relationships. Our emotions are constantly flowing through our minds everyday because with our age comes the value of emotions. Though we all can understand this analysis, there are many hidden “laws” of crying in society along with scientific reasons. In an article on the American Psychological Association website, Lorna Collier concluded there are biological reasons that adult women cry more than adult men. This statement is true on a scientific level but also evident on a social platform. Because of stereotypes and modern gender roles–men are expected to not cry as much as women. This stereotype plays a negative role in trying to understand why we cry because it does not “allow” men to cry for the same reasons women may. This complication between men and crying makes crying not a form of communication, because the majority of men do not cry in front of others. But, this does not stump the idea that crying is a way to release internal emotions because every human needs a way to release inflicting emotion.

In order to understand the evolution of the crying teen, one must understand that with maturity comes complications. Though this may seem a little obvious, accepting this concept will allow one’s self to understand my crying theory. Also, by understanding that nobody is capable of reaching a complete level of maturity, we understand that our reasons for crying in the future are going to be different. Therefore, our evolution of crying–will never end.


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