We Don’t Cry Because We’re Sad

It’s a while since I’ve featured a Jason Silva Shots of Awe video but I saw this one recently and was moved to tears just watching it.  He quotes Alain de Botton and the video focuses on the fact that we don’t cry because we’re sad.


I’ll let you watch it first and then I’ll share my thoughts 🙂

I love this video and the surrounding discussion about how tears are to correct an imbalance – a cognitive dissonance between what we expected and what we actually found.  Because what you found was more conducive to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.  The serendipity of melancholy.  That something is so much more moving than you thought it would be.  These moments that define our lives, pregnant with significance, revelatory ecstasy.

When I stopped drinking my eyes became taps.  Years of stifled sadness and unexpressed grief sprang forth like I’d sprung a leak.  I hated it because I’d spent years drinking to stop it from happening and nothing shamed me more than getting tired and emotional and sobbing all over someone in a drunken heap.  But it was vital and healing and necessary.  I cry now so easily – at music, at films, at others words, at my own failings and humanness.

Tears are so important and the shame I carried about expressing sadness and crying, particularly publicly, was crippling.  What’s wrong with expressing that something is more moving than you thought it would be?  The imbalance between the barren tearless drunk or hungover past and the often moist eyed sober present needed addressing.  No wonder I sprang a leak!!  Getting sober is a life defining moment, pregnant with significance so who wouldn’t cry?  And the ongoing revelatory ecstasy continues to reduce me to tears but now I feel no shame just a deep happiness that I am here and feeling and expressing it all with you 🙂

10 thoughts on “We Don’t Cry Because We’re Sad

  1. Wonderful! I cry a lot!! Not usually at sad stuff…usually at things that are beautiful or moments when people reveal things about themselves. My emotions are definitely heightened since stopping drinking…but it feels good to feel…after such a long time of feeling nothing.

    1. Thanks Tamzin for reassuring me that I’m not the only one who cries at the drop of a hat these days 😉 And so true about feeling fully after feeling nothing!

  2. I loved reading and watching this – what a positive start to a Monday ! I cried this morning at 6am as I did a power walk with the sunshine peeping through . I was wondering what is wrong with me but my feelings are so sharp now . I was thinking of all the Monday mornings that I have wasted dragging myself out of bed with a hangover as I used to cram so much booze in at weekends because I never allowed myself to drink during the week .I was just bursting with happiness this morning and the tears flowed . I would not want to swop that feeling for a glass of wine . Thank you so much for blogging everyday – I don’t know where you find all your words of wisdom ! May x
    P.S I hope your work shop went well on Saturday.

    1. Oh May That’s so great to hear! I wouldn’t swap it either and the workshop went really well thank you 🙂 xx

  3. I think crying is a bit of a release… I cry at all and everything!
    I plan to read this again when I have a bit more time… Thanks Lou. Wonderful as always xx

    1. I agree Claire – now! Before I was so buttoned up that release wasn’t allowed ….. xx

  4. I read recently that laughter can be our signal to others that there is no danger. we laugh when the man arises from his slip on a banana skin, because he is not hurt, because it is all right.

    and maybe we have learnt in our lives that tears are a symptom of danger, of everything not being all right, and if we can control our tears then we will be safe, we will not be in danger… whereas of course the opposite is true – the longer we stifle and shut off our true feelings, the riskier it is….

    thanks for a great post and video – I got goosebumps watching it! xx

    1. Hey Prim 🙂 His video’s are great aren’t they? I agree with your thoughts and our maladaptive stifling of tears! xx

    1. Thanks Lotta! I remember reading the expression ‘water fell from my eyes’ on your blog first. Thank you for normalising for me the okayness of crying 🙂 xx

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