A New Perspective on Tears

Every year in January our company hosts a life changing event known as EPIC,( Empower People – Inspire Consciousness). Over the years we have had the greatest of great motivational speakers, modern day philosophers, movie stars and average people with pretty incredible stories.

So what is this all about. Well, it is a three day time out to cleanse, to push the pause button on life, to be present and to rid yourself of emotions that are not serving you well.

Because of the nature of the stories there is not a day that passes without tears flowing. They flow from everyone, the big burly ex-NFL lineman, the Ex-Marine, the Hard-ass manager. They flow freely in this corporate meeting for many reasons.

As the CEO I cry in front of my staff to the point people are wondering if I am downing Costco Size Estrogen Beverages. But more importantly, I give people permission to cry and encourage them to cleanse themselves of the past. Even the celebrities who speak are so caught up with the energy in the room that they cry in front of people they have never met.

Last year a very macho manager approached me and said, “I cried more at EPIC then I have in 20 years. I don’t cry in front of my wife or kids and have never ever cried at a place of employment. I don’t cry all year but I cry every day when I’m here.” That was very sad to me.

I remember when I fell off my horse at age 7 and it hurt like hell, my cowboy dad said, “Stop crying or I will give you something to really cry about.” I grew up playing Pee Wee Football and at age 10 a kid knocked me out of my shoes with a monstrous hit. I cried and my coach yelled and said, “Don’t be a sissy, stop crying.” Or the time I cut my leg with a saw in shop class and was bleeding like crazy and crying, my shop teacher an ex -marine said, “Real men don’t cry son.”

Well, I am here to tell you real men do cry. All these voices from my past have broken ideas of what real men are.

So do your family, your community, your company a favor, give them permission to cry. You will be surprised at how freeing an event this truly is.


  1. Posted April 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Very powerful story. Definitely relate and find it very refreshing to see some men are in touch with their feelings (instead of oppressing them, and having it come out later as rage and anger).

    As a girl, growing up in a time frame not far from yours, instead of being told “real men don’t cry, I was told: “Grit your teeth.” Or: “C’mon now. You’re tough.” Or “Stop being a baby.” (As though any of those words would make the blood stop gushing.) Even got spanked for crying after falling off my bike and skinning my elbows and knees. My cries had frightened or annoyed the adult. Think that’s why they had sayings such as “children should be seen and not heard.” Grown-ups back then assumed they were the only important voice in the room.

    So while I’m convinced from my experiences that this “toughen the kid up” mindset was not solely a gender issue … not just about boys holding in their emotions, I do think it was harmful and backwards. The military does that kind of thing to people. Little children never enlisted and should not be treated that way.

    Thanks to the way I was raised – one day, as an adult, I was clearing land and my back really hurt but the childhood saying: “No pain, no gain” motivated me to keep working. Next day I went to a chiropractor who said I had a very high pain threshold. I assured him, “No. I don’t. I’m really in a lot of pain.” To which he replied: “Do you realize most people with this condition would have been at the hospital 24 hour earlier? You’ve got a subluxated rib that has pulled completely away from your spine.

    Long story short – life has taught me that ignoring pain, denying our emotions … all of that just causes more harm that must express itself later in bigger ways. We do more damage by holding it all inside.

  2. Mindy foley
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Very touching. I have lost both parents this year in just year and half time they were married 60 plus years. My father was my hero. My father always told me I was the chosen one and a gift from god . I am adopted . He pass july 2012 and my mom may 2014. Its been very hard for me . The past 5 yrs ive been takingcare of them.

    The day my dad pass he was worried about mom and ask if I would take care of her and I said yes that night mom came to live with me and my family for 10 months unti she got worse and needed more care so we but her in a wonderful place called agies of ventura. Memory Care place . The staff was wounderful and have recommended to other people . I will go back there to visit all the staff and friends I have made . Agies is my family .

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