Tears tell tales


Melissa Martin, Ph.D.



Stories are tied up in our salty tears and released when the delicate drops of liquid spill down our cheeks. Tears can represent our physical, emotional, and spiritual parts and pieces.

There are three types of tears. Basal tears, always present, lubricate and keep our eyes from drying out. Reflex tears protect eyes from harsh irritants like smoke, dust, and strong onions. Emotional tears, the third type, signal the endocrine system to release stress hormones. www.science.howstuffworks.com.

What is the physiological purpose of tears? Having water seep out of small holes at the edge of our eyes seems weird, but so necessary.

According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, there are three main parts in the tear system: the glands that make the tear fluid; the openings that let tears flow out of the eye; and the ducts inside the nose that tears drain through. www.my.clevelandclinic.org.

“Scientists have also found some evidence that emotional tears are chemically different from the ones people shed while chopping onions — which may help explain why crying sends such a strong emotional signal to others. In addition to the enzymes, lipids, metabolites and electrolytes that make up any tears, emotional tears contain more protein,” according to TIME. www.time.com.

What part of survival involves tears? Think about how infants get attention — they cry. newborn baby’s tears expose helplessness. Then we feed, hug, sing, rock, and change diapers. Or examine for sickness. And tears are universal.

What is the emotional meaning of tears? Meaning leaks and flows out of human tears — sometimes happy and sometimes sad. Tears contain messages that communicate with others. Crying elicits compassion from empathic individuals. Sometimes we need comforting and sometimes we need to be alone. “Tears come from the heart and not from the brain,” wrote Leonardo da Vinci.

Tears can flow due to guilt, shame, and regret. Weeping water droplets is your body’s release valve for stress, frustration, and anxiety. Crying is a method of purging pent up emotions.

What tales do tears tell? Ask three people and you’ll get three answers. We attach our own meanings and perceptions to our tears.

What tales do my tears tell? When my mother died, my tears gushed out uncontrollably for an entire year. Tears accompany loss. These tears told a story of intense grief, agonizing heartache and utter despair — but also of love, longing, and living. When my daughter my born, my tears gushed out uncontrollably with relief, joy, and delight. Those tears also told a story of love, longing, and living.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love,” wrote Washington Irving.

What is the spiritual meaning of tears? “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 New Living Translation). “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 English Standard Version).

What tales do your tears tell?

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Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com. Contact her at melissamcolumnist@gmail.com.