Macho Men do not Cry: Dr. Sriram Nathan

The image of the engineer responsible for the Mission Chandrayan crying on national Television and being consoled by the Prime Minister literally split the social media. Of course, most had sympathy and concern for the Indian Space program (I did not say that the split was even!) but the view was directed to the fact that we saw a grown up man of a big institute crying on national TV. While many were of the view that it is just natural and human to give in to your emotions, there were also those who opined that one cannot manage such an important and complex job if you are not in control of your emotions.

Another memorable instance that we witnessed a man cry was when Vinod Kambli let it out during the world cup. In this instance too the opinion was divided but because social media was still in its nascent stage, the dissent did not catch on like wildfire. In many-a-discussions on this incident, there will be many people who would support the cricketer but keep mum during the conversations. On the contrary, many self-appointed macho men used to ridicule the cricketer by saying that he cried like a girl. I also remember how the legend Kapil Dev broke down during the allegations of match fixing. This was of course during the time when the scope of social media was limited only to your locality but now thanks to the social media, the whole world is our locality to discuss and dissect.

In fact, many times the original article may not be very interesting but we have seen that the comments sections turn out to be very interesting and they make the news. They prove to be useful in identifying the pulse or the opinion of the general population. All this used to make me wonder if, as a guy or a man, I should cry openly when I want to or I must hide my emotions all the time and never ever cry in public or in the open.

The only time I have seen my father cry was when he lost his mother and the impact was so deep that even though I was not very old, I do remember that day as clear as yesterday.

Crying is one of the basic emotions which makes us human and gives us a position which is right there up in the ecological tree. It is also understood that we can laugh at anyone or anything and without any feeling but we do cry only for things or people we care about. So in that sense crying is an emotion which gives us a beautiful insight to our true emotions.

Of course the general opinion is that true men do not cry which is very sad indeed because as far as masculinity is concerned it takes more courage and strength to cry than to laugh and that too in the open. It is said that you can hide your emotions when you laugh but it is very difficult to hide them when you cry. That reminds me of the famous song which mentioned that no one can see your tears when you are crying in the rain. It also reminded me of the movie ‘Aquaman’ where the queen cries on land and says that underwater in Atlantis our tears are taken away by the Sea which was a deep dialogue for a super hero movie!

Whenever someone is faced with the pangs of extreme emotion he or she should actually cry and let it out so that he or she can face the problem in a more calm and relieved way. There may be so many movies which makes us laugh which we do like but those movies which make us cry and brings our true emotions are the ones which we genuinely like though no man would be man enough to admit that! In fact, people would forget the times they have laughed or been happy but you would rarely forget the events which made you cry or emotional.

There is also a very famous saying by the great Poet Kabir who said that when we are born we cry and the world laughs so make sure that when you die then the world cries and you laugh (It of course means that you must do good deeds so that people will miss and cry for you when you die!). Of course that means that when someone close to you passes away, it is natural that you cry and you must if you want to. The matter of gender should not be an issue!

In the program Satyamev Jayate, Amir Khan’s guest had opined that nowadays people are told not to cry, especially men and in a misguided form of feminism, even women are told not to cry even if someone close to you dies or suffers a misfortune! The digital age has made us more mechanical and robotic and that is just sad. For this Amir Khan replied that then he is not a man since he cries at the drop of a hat!

The myth that so called ‘macho men ‘do not cry is of course suspect! So the next time you want to prove your machismo by not crying, you are going in the wrong direction.Of course it does not mean that men who cry cannot handle stress. In fact, when it is a matter of stress they tackle them head first and after the situation is settled they let out their emotional waterfall.

It has also been found that crying is beneficial to the health and body as well! Let’s look at some of the benefits of crying:

• Regulation of emotion, soothing mind and reducing the distress and stress.
• Interpersonal or social benefit
• Relieves pain by releasing oxytocin and endorphins
• Enhances mood
• Releases toxins and relieves stress
• Aids in sleep
• The tears have an antibacterial called Lysozyme which gives local protection

Crying also relieves headache and stress and also makes us calm and relaxed. So the next time you want to let out your emotions just cry your heart out irrespective of your gender and do not worry about your masculinity which will be safe!

 

About the Author:

Dr. Sriram Nathan, an ENT and Head and Neck Surgeon working at the Narayana Health Hospital in whitefield, Bengaluru.

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Disclaimer: The featured image is only for representation.

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