What You Didn’t Know About Grief and Tears

March 24, 2023

“I experienced grief and didn’t cry—is something wrong with me?” Learn more about grief recovery and discover how to jumpstart your healing (whether you shed tears or not). 

People often have many questions and experience confusion around crying and grief. When does crying become too much? Is there something wrong with not crying? Am I not healing effectively if I’m not crying often? Will the tears ever stop? Is there a difference between men and women crying? Can one move on after the crying has ceased? Conversely, what if you didn’t cry when the event occurred, but 20 years later you start shedding tears? Or, what if you never cry?

The answer to most of these questions is that every individual has their own way of processing and grieving. However, it doesn’t mean if one person cries, the pain is any less, or they aren’t brokenhearted. Therefore, it’s essential to learn that grief—and tears—are unique to everyone and that how each person individually processes their emotions, no matter how different, is perfectly acceptable. 

How Do Tears Help?

You might ask yourself how tears can benefit you while grieving, especially if the crying causes even more pain at the moment. However, tears serve a unique purpose! They work by relieving the pressure of your emotions.

Many people feel ashamed to cry or equate it to a good or bad emotion. However, it’s not about the tears but about processing the pain. In other words, why can’t it be ok to cry? What’s wrong with a male crying? Or, why can’t a mother cry in front of her children if they’ve lost their sibling? The truth is, crying is a healthy way to process emotions and is a perfectly normal and healthy response to experiencing a loss. 

Practical Tips to Jumpstart Your Healing

Tears are an integral way to process grief and loss. But if crying is not your organic response to a painful experience, then that is perfectly fine! However, avoiding the pain won’t bring us to completion or recovery if we don’t face it head-on. Therefore, if crying is not your avenue for releasing the pressure of your emotions, you still need to process your feelings and work through the grieving process. In other words, with or without tears, it does take work to jumpstart your healing. So, how do you do that?

  1. Take an inventory of your heart. It can be tough to reflect on painful emotions, but it is essential to feel the pain and be honest about how you felt in those moments. Acknowledge that you are angry or sad and that whatever you have experienced hurts your heart. Allow yourself to just be in the moment. Through time and repeated exposure, the pain will begin to soften. 
  2. Zone in on the area causing the pain. To pinpoint the cause of your pain, you must get to the source of it. Therefore, ask yourself where the pain is coming from inside your body. Is it in your eyes, your gut, or somewhere else? In addition, holding back tears will only allow grief to linger and appear in other ways. For instance, you may begin to overdrink or oversleep in an attempt to avoid experiencing those raw, painful emotions. Therefore, it is critical to zone in on those areas to release these feelings that have built up inside you, begging to be felt and expressed. 

To Cry or Not to Cry? That is the Question

Grieving looks different for everyone. So it’s important to remember that whatever you are feeling is OK. If you need to cry, then cry. If the tears aren’t coming, then that’s OK, too. It doesn’t mean your feelings of loss are any less. Everyone’s grieving experiences are unique, and so is their way of processing emotions. Therefore, allowing and respecting how each person grieves is necessary because no two people are the same. 

If you are struggling with unresolved grief and in search of healing, you are not alone. We see you, we know you’re hurting, and want to offer you a safe place to share your story and feel supported in your healing journey. Contact us today to set up a free discovery call and spend some time with us – we’re here for you. 


Sharon Brubaker is a certified Life Coach and credentialed Grief Specialist who, along with her team, teaches women who are grieving how to process their thoughts and emotions. To learn more about navigating grief within the family, listen to the full podcast episode here or download my free e-Book, The Griever’s Guide, which equips you with the tools to live life after grief; because no griever should have to navigate a broken heart on their own. 

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