“You Have Nothing to Cry About”
Reframe How You View Crying.
I’ve heard it my whole life.
You have nothing to cry about. You have no problems in your life so you make up things to cry about. You make up problems.
Sometimes people will say this phrase out of frustration. They see you cry, and they get aggravated. They think, “why are you crying? What did I say/do? How can I make it stop? I don’t understand.” And they don’t try to. They don’t try to understand. They try to shut you up, to voice their frustration so you stay silent as to not upset or aggravate them more. People who say this might just harbor some of their own insecurities about crying and project it onto you. They might have grown up hearing the same thing, or perhaps they even had to tell themselves that to get through a tough time on their own. Maybe they just lack empathy.
These gaslighting sentiments have been echoed time and time again to me and frankly it’s one of the most annoying, invalidating, and hurtful things I’ve ever heard.
I’m privileged in many ways and not in others. Regardless of how many good things happen in my life or privileges I experience, I can and do still have problems. But then comes the sequel statement:
But people have it so much worse than you. Your ‘problems’ are nothing compared to them.
Yeah, people have it worse than me. I know this. But that doesn’t mean that, within my own lifestyle and circumstance, I can’t have very real problems. While objectively less severe than other people’s problems, I still have them and they’re still valid within my life. I’ve never understood why both things just can’t be true. Somehow someone else having it worse than me equates to negating my experiences?
Not to mention, yeah, I know I’m young. A lot of times that statement is rooted in the fact that I’m not as old as the person telling me these things. And while that’s true, how does that justify telling me that I, as a young adult, don’t have problems just because they’re different than your strictly adult problems? They don’t have to face some of what I do now, and they can’t relate to my problems because we’re in such a vastly different time. I understand and accept this, but why can’t they?
I used to hear these phrases and feel like I was being ungrateful for the life I had. I used to feel like I was a horrible person for crying over things I got upset over, and I used to feel like I had no right getting upset over the things that I did.
Over time, though, I’ve realized that it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Whether it be an insane amount of stress and being pushed past my personal breaking point, mental health issues, feeling extra anxious or sad for a period of time, sleep deprivation, loneliness, fear, or whatever else that causes me to cry, it’s all valid.
There’s a lack of empathy, consideration, and understanding behind these statements, too. Assuming someone is crying ‘for no good reason’ just about ignores the billions of reasons that could bring on tears. Sometimes, the situation isn’t even bad, but I’ve not slept enough, I’m moody, I’m very stressed, or a combination of all of that, and something small was said or done to me, pushing me past my breaking point.
For example, one time I cried because I wanted to buy limited-time-only merch from an online store, but I waited too long and the pieces were removed from the site. I started crying in front of my computer and my family just looked at me all confused and embarrassed that missing out on a crop top caused me to cry. Tears seem ridiculous at that instance, and it probably was, but not realizing that there might be underlying factors that brought the tears to surface is shortsighted and inconsiderate. On the surface, it’s very much absurd to cry over not buying a crop top, very first-world-problem of me. But, when you consider that I had been very exhausted from school, sleep-deprived, I had been having an off week, and it was one of the only things I was looking forward to, it becomes a little more understandable why I reacted that way. All that being said, tears don’t have to have a logical reason for happening. They just do.
Plus, according to Healthline and Harvard Health, crying does have its benefits. For me, crying has been a relatively healthy way for me to physically release all the built up worry and stress and badness inside of me. Making anyone feel bad for trying to healthily release and understand their emotions and feelings they have is harmful because it makes them think they’re doing something wrong, leading them to possibly repress them instead. As I’m sure you know, most of the time, nothing good comes in holding things in. It just builds up the more you bottle it in, and can lead to explosive and damaging outbursts in the future.
Invalidating how someone feels for your own personal comfort is not okay. It’s not okay to dictate whether or not someone can cry. And it’s never okay to tell someone they have nothing to cry over. I know I’m generally a sensitive and emotional person, but that doesn’t make it okay for someone to tell me that I’m suddenly crying for nothing, especially when something they said or did incited the crying.
Whenever I hear that phrase, I tell myself that there is no one who understands my situation, my feelings, and my perspective better than me. That whatever happened did warrant tears to me, and that’s all that matters. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else.
If someone says similar things to you, just know that you are valid, I sympathize with you, and you’re not crazy or overemotional.
The takeaway here?
Just because something doesn’t seem like it’s worthy of crying over to you, doesn’t mean that it isn’t at all. What might seem silly to you might be a serious concern or stressor for others, and it had to be a strong enough force in their life to cause tears. Discouraging crying isn’t as beneficial as some people might think. It’s harmful to tell people to repress their emotions and feelings, and it’s natural to feel those very emotions and feelings.
So all in all, I do have things to cry about. And I will. And you should, too. Let those waterworks flow, baby!
Liked what you read? Consider checking out some of my other work, follow, and read more about me below if ya want:
Personality Piece: More About Me
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A Love Letter To Community College
Community College, I’m so sorry you’re so over-hated.