One minute I can be watching a movie, then all of a sudden the emotion wells up and then… Know the feeling?
“A good cry.” The positive and negative going hand-in-hand.
Crying can be seen as an expression of sadness, a cue that we need comforting. But there’s more to it than just that.
It’s about releasing all those pent-up emotions and anxieties that can eat away at us and poison our souls. Trying our hardest to hold back creates stress and anxiety. Instead, when we let emotions flow free… the weight lifts and we feel blissfully freed somehow.
And, holding back emotions is hard work! All that energy being used to hide our true feelings is such a waste. We should show it! How else can we get what we want out of life? Life is too short.
What drew me to the story of Hachiko is the simplicity and power of unedited feelings. This amazing dog lived by those uncomplicated emotions of love and loyalty. Too often, being true to our “real” selves – in touch with our raw emotions – remains tough for so many of us.
By introducing the story of Hachiko through Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, I have witnessed what uncovering pure emotions can mean.
I heard from one elderly gentleman about the dog he had when young. After he left for college, his loyal dog escaped in search of him – never to return. When he watched Hachi, he felt the devastating pain through his own dog’s eyes. He broke down in the repressed grief he had been hiding for over sixty years.
It’s unimaginable to carry that burden for so long. Yet, all of us hold onto some form of negativity, if not for decades. Even if we’ve been forgiven – we don’t forgive ourselves. We feel guilty or pained long after the event has passed.
A “hardened soldier” wrote me – those are his own words to describe himself. Throughout his adult life, he had no memory of ever having cried… but the “floodgates opened” while watching Hachi.
Only by presenting our authentic feelings can we attract and receive what we emotionally need. And be accepted for our actual selves.
Sharing our emotions builds precious bonds with our loved ones. It’s our vulnerabilities that make us human. Genuine feelings should be cherished… not scorned.
The more traditional generation and those who subscribe to the “macho” concept are taught that emotion is a weakness. There’s this mythology about trying to appear competent, and in charge – “the strong silent type”. It could be men who are taught not to betray emotion. Or hardworking moms who care for everyone else’s troubles… without taking care of their own.
It’s not indulgent or pointless either. In fact, science says that crying can be good for you! I always suspected that was the case, but it’s true.
The science part
In the Netherlands, the University of Tilburg studied how crying actually affects our mood. Their research didn’t just look at how people felt at the time. Instead, they interviewed their participants immediately after crying, then twenty minutes later, then ninety minutes after.
How do you get people to cry on cue? You show them Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. That’s right, our very own Hachi was screened along with Life Is Beautiful, Roberto Benigni’s film about life in a Nazi concentration camp.
Obviously, participants who were weeping they said they felt sad, or sadder than before viewing the film. After twenty minutes they reverted to how they had felt before. But after ninety minutes they felt better than at the start!
I think that’s fascinating. That people can feel better after crying than they did before.
There used to be this idea crying was just about sadness. Now it seems there’s more to it than that.
Crying relieves stress
Does it matter what kind of crying you do? I think so. Most of the top tear-jerkers aren’t an unrelenting, pure heartbreak kind of sad. Like the story of Hachiko, there is an uplifting, life-affirming message embedded within. Films like Hachi have us weeping but also looking at life in a powerful and novel way.
Crying isn’t just good for your emotions. WebMD lists some of the physical benefits to letting the tears pour out. It relieves stress. Tears release high levels of cortisol and manganese, both of which can cause tension.
“Crying activates the body in a healthy way,” says Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UCLA and director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. “Letting down one’s guard and one’s defenses and [crying] is a very positive, healthy thing. The same thing happens when you watch a movie and it touches you and you cry… That process of opening into yourself… it’s like a lock and key.”
Time after time the sources about having a good cry come back to movies.
Glamour’s list of 37 sad movies for when you want a good cry features teary romances like Titanic or The Notebook along with children’s movies like My Girl and ET. If your heartstrings are best pulled by animals you aren’t alone and there are several on the list – including Hachi.
Overwhelming love for Hachi
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale has thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon of how the movie touched so many hearts. The stories shared are overwhelming in their love for the film and the message of Hachiko’s life. Hundreds of those reviews describe people moved to tears. And, I hope, not just moved to tears but changed inside too…
Crying can relieve the tensions we have felt deep inside us. Perhaps we wish for more in our life. Maybe we have lost meaningful values along the way – of loyalty, family, and enduring love. The lovable Hachi brings all that pain and tension back to the surface.
After having that good cry… we can move right on. The lessons we learn from Hachi bring clarity to our vision for how we want to live. Did you cry when you saw the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale? Let us know in the comments- you’re not alone!