We live in a world where tears are often synonymous with weakness. It is often called out as a feminine trait often in a derogatory way. When men shed tears, they have it even worse. Tears in the workplace are called unprofessional and can be labeled emotional and unproductive. Sure, there are times when tears and crying in certain settings can cause more harm them good but …


… let’s pause for a moment… What if this wasn’t true all the time? What if our tears existed to tell us something even deeper?


I’d like to offer a different perspective that our tears aren’t a sign of weakness but rather a means to express our capacity to empathize with our own or some one else’s suffering. They can be a channel to express what it means to be a human. They can point us to what it is that we truly care about, our deep truths, fears and dreams. Take that in one more time – Our tears can direct us to what truly matters …


And crying in public can also be a sign of courage, rather deep courage that comes with being vulnerable and authentic and giving our inner truths to manifest fully. It can also bring people together and inspire others to connect with their truth.


My personal most powerful encounter with tears was in my business school Effective Management, Communication & Action classroom. We always start this class with each student engaging in an intentional check in. Our class in Dec’12 was a little different; it was soon after the tragic incident in Newtown, CT. My male professor stepped into the circle and said that he needed to grieve, he was in pain for all the children who were dead and that he really wanted to hug his children since he hadn’t seen them since the accident. He then broke into tears, lots of them – powerful, kind, intense and raw.


There was silence in the room and soon after there were more tears in the room, we all joined one another in mourning for this loss and praying for the families who were gone. Yes, we were all adults in business school and we were crying, tears falling down our cheeks…


And then the professor shared his voice after holding a space for us to feel our pain for a few minutes – “ We have grieved and shed our tears. Now let’s wipe them and do our part to try and make a positive difference in the world. We have to move on…“


My heart was heavy but I was inspired by the power of the tears in the room and what our professor had just modeled for us. He gave us permission to be human in a business school setting and to bring a systemic view of looking at the world. We had a productive class albeit with some sadness but we reached our goals for the day.He showed us that being human and being productive were not mutually exclusive, rather ways in which we can truly embody and expand our own capacity to be our whole selves.


What’s your point of view? Have your tears been a source of strength, connection, impact or community?  Come join the conversation…




  1. Sumit Singh says:

    Great post Neha! “Our tears can direct us to what truly matters …” – beautiful way of putting it and it is true we shed tears for what really matters in our lives.

    • Neha Mandhani says:

      Thanks Sumit! Its really warm & heartening to hear more people resonate with this. I hope to see a world where more people can find their strength in being vulnerable for what truly matters in life.

  2. Pooja says:

    Love this post Neha. Beautiful instance on how important it is for us to let it out on things that matter.
    Vulnerable we all are, so important to cry it away.

    Keep writing 🙂 !

    • Neha Mandhani says:

      Thanks Pooja for your kinds words and for reading my work! You have always been my rock for letting me cry for things that matter. Such a gift:-)


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