Growing up, I have always been known for being hyper-empathetic and sensitive. As a woman, this has been a bit of a mixed blessing due to the stereotype that women are “too emotional” or even “hysterical” to begin with. As a result, at times I have been made fun of for my sensitivity.

Earlier in my life, I saw my empathy as a detriment and something to hide. However, over time, I have come to view my empathetic and open nature as a real strength in terms of forming connections with people. 

I am the type of friend that will cry during any movie, regardless of its genre or content. Just to give you an idea of the severity of the situation, I cried at Dawn of The Planet of the Apes.

On the other hand, I am also the type of friend that will share in my friend’s sorrows, sit up at night to give them advice, and really feel their pain when they are going through difficult situations. Personally, I think the advantages outweigh the detriments.

In a world where so many people push down their feelings and put logic over emotions, I feel grateful that I am unafraid to be sensitive and express myself openly.

I will never apologize for feeling deeply because it is what makes me who I am. I wouldn’t undo it if I could.

Crying is viewed by many people in contemporary society as a sign of weakness. People associate crying with feelings of shame. For men in particular, crying holds negative connotations. Many boys as socialized to believe that men don’t cry and that they have to shove down their emotions in order to be respected. This type of indoctrination can have damaging life-long effects.

The truth is people shouldn’t view crying as an admission of weakness. It is a sign of strength. Allowing yourself to feel your emotions deeply and deal with them in a healthy way signifies emotional maturity.

Crying is also a great form of catharsis and release. Sometimes, when there is no solution to a problem I am having and it’s getting to me, I have a good cry and everything seems just a little bit better. Sure, the circumstances of the situation haven’t changed, but I have given myself a moment to validate my emotions.

Bottling frustration and sadness tends to only make these feelings intensify and bubble up. By crying, you are allowing yourself a healthy outlet. It definitely beats the alternative of accidentally lashing out at others due to your own inner frustrations.

I understand that not everyone is comfortable crying. There are endless reasons why this could be the case, socialization being a big one. I respect however people choose to deal with their own emotions.

I am not recommending that everyone should cry all the time. Rather, I am suggesting that people be gentle with themselves and allow themselves to express their feelings in whatever healthy way they choose.

If you’re not an emotional person by nature, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, nothing is wrong with me either for being sensitive. Being empathetic is something so central to my personality.

I won’t apologize for it anymore.

  • Maggie Mahoney is an editorial fellow based in Washington D.C. She is a soon to be graduating senior at American University studying Literature with a minor in Communications. Maggie is passionate about poetry, elementary education, blogging, and R&B music. She loves to cook and try new cuisines and considers herself a textbook Virgo.