Originally Posted by Sherlockian
Honestly, not since I was in my early teens. I've been pretty choked up at funerals and stuff since, but there's always that "knife edge", tipping point feeling of shame at being a wuss that holds me back. How terribly British of me.
And yes, I am totally in denial, wound tight like a drum and on the verge of being batshit-crazy. Even I can see that the bravado is doing me no good in the long term.
I'm still kinda surprised when I hear men say they cry semi-regularly, though. Do you really have that much pain in your lives?
I suspect that many SF posters are like you. I certainly was until only a short time ago. I would hold back tears during sad films and would almost never cry for personal reasons. I failed to cry at the last two funerals I went to, and not for lack of trying.
About your last statement - "Do you really have that much pain in your lives?" - No, not necessarily at the moment. But at our age (i.e. not children anymore, grown adults with jobs), it is really about getting the emotional build-up from previous experiences out. The stuff that was never expressed and was built up within. It's not like something terrible happens to me daily. But there is a lot of shit I never processed and never confronted and its buried inside. If you don't confront those things and get them out of the way, you will be emotionally blocked from the present as well.
Realizing this, and having read a lot about it, I decided to start actively focusing on things that I feel guilt, shame, or sadness about and reliving them in my head to get myself to cry. And by the way, I'm not even talking about really bad things like child abuse or witnessing something terrible as a child - to my best knowledge I had a pretty nice childhood, but if you do have those issues bottled up, all the more reason to do this or see a therapist. If you are a person that cries relatively often and has confronted all of the bad stuff from their past fully, then you do not need to do this I suppose. But I pretty much ignored everything emotional in my life for a decade and was just an emotionally dead man walking. Not how I want to lead the rest of my life, bravado aside.
Funny enough, but over that same last decade, I've noticed that whenever I smoked weed and ended up being by myself still stoned (intermittently - I was never a pothead), I got really thoughtful and "sober". As in, I would get fixated on parts of my life that I felt guilty about and think about them in depth and with focus. The weed somehow changed my plane of focus to a little further under the surface of consciousness. A litmus test is if I have bad feelings about it when thinking about it while stoned, I have unresolved emotional issues with it. If I do not feel negative emotions about it, I don't have issues with it. When I was literally sober, I would never spend more than a fleeting shallow moment thinking about these things (probably to avoid negative feelings).
This is why I'm considering picking up weed again (with a vaporizer to avoid lung damage). I want to smoke by myself once a week, focus on a list of issues I've written out, and get myself to cry it out. Then I write about it. When I am no longer high, I read through what I wrote along with action-items I should do in my life to change course. It's worked pretty well so far and it keeps me grounded on a weekly basis so I don't go months or years without remembering what the important things in my life are. Luckily I have the least addictive personality of anyone I know, so I have zero fear of getting psychologically addicted.
There are other ways to do this...psychotherapy, meditation (but not nearly as immediate results), some recently scientifically developed breathing techniques. Doesn't matter how you do it, it just matters that you get there somehow. If you want to. I didn't really recognize this as a problem until recently. A lot of things happened at once to make me realize I was emotionally locked up / shallow. If you cry less than a few times a year, you likely are as well, whether you want to admit to it or not.
Anyway, that's just my take.