Like so many aspects of this culture, crying somehow became a taboo at work. And, yet, the very act of crying is not that different from any other expression of emotion, such as laughter when we find something funny. Then why has crying become such a questionable, disparaging act of self-expression? The answer lies in the belief that crying somehow demonstrates weakness or being overly emotional. Nonetheless, the act of crying is deeply biological and can emerge equally during times of sorrow and anger or during moments of joy. So, while, we continue to live in a society that frowns upon crying, especially at work, there are times when crying may be the best response you naturally produce. Here are some of those times:
Because you genuinely care: The irony of our professional lives never ceases. Employers want passionate, inspired people, and, if your crying is related to your deep concern, care, and passion for a project or initiative then, well, it’s probably safe to let the tears flow.
When it demonstrates emotional intelligence: In a world that is starting to finally acknowledge that intelligence is not just about how much information you can spew out or about how many books you’ve read, emotional intelligence has become increasingly valuable. The ability to read, interpret, and create emotional connections with colleagues and clients is a priceless commodity. If crying is the result of your high level of emotional intelligence, then suddenly your tears may be an asset and not a deficit.
When you have an empathic response: One of your colleagues breaks down in tears. You suddenly find your mirror neurons responding to their biological mandate by crying in return. This can be a bonding experience, and your colleague feels understood and supported. A positive side effect of this type of crying can also build trust between co-workers.
When it helps you release repressed emotions: Crying can be a direct response to frustration and anger, and, frankly, it is probably wiser to release a few tears when you’re frustrated and angry in a work situation then to completely blow your stack. Crying can also help relieve elevated stress levels. In this case, you may want to politely excuse yourself and head to the restroom to release those pent up emotions.
When it’s connected to your professional growth: Your career advancement is important to you, and you find yourself deeply appreciative of opportunities to continue on the trajectory of your corporate climb. You are a diligent worker, and you put a great deal of passion into all aspects of your work. This results in you getting a promotion and being acknowledged for your work. Tears of gratitude and appreciation are wonderful for you and those around you, so, don’t be afraid to share those joyous tears.