We’re often discouraged to freely express our emotions and sometimes advised that crying is a sign of weakness and a reason for shame. Yet, letting your emotions take control and cry out is our body’s natural way to respond to strong feelings— pain, sadness and joy.

Over time, people learn to swallow the tears and express themselves more suitably.

However, some seem to be unable to hold back their tears while at the cinema or theatre, and they’re often considered to be emotionally weak.

We’re here to break these stereotypes because, as it turns out, these people are apparently much stronger than we thought.

These individuals are highly empathic and tend to identify themselves in other people, trying to understand their feelings, emotions and motivations.

Empathy is a crucial aspect of emotional intelligence, and it’s prominent among great leaders and highly successful individuals.

Mentally stronger people know how to relate with others and share their pain, grief, or happiness. They’re also more generous and friendly.

It takes lots of strength to be empathic, and this trait says a lot of things about you. Generally, it means that you’re strong enough to withstand the pain someone else is undergoing, but you can feel it as well.

When you feel empathy, it also means you’re strong enough to be strong for others, to the point that you’re actually able to feel what they’re feeling.

So don’t be ashamed if you emotionally care for someone else (even if that person is a fictional character) or if you cry during a movie.

When you step into a character’s shoes and envision a different reality, you tend to develop into more open-minded and understanding individuals, and you become increasingly compassionate while interacting with others.

Let’s remember Roger Ebert’s words of wisdom:

“We live in a box of space and time. Movies are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter other minds, not simply in the sense of identifying with the characters, although that is an important part of it, but by seeing the world as another person sees it.”

According to researches, nearly 92 percent of people have cried at least once while watching movies.

When you watch films with highly emotional content, oxytocin (a potent hormone that behaves as a neurotransmitter in the brain) is released in your body system.

Paul J. Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate School, explains:

“Oxytocin makes us more sensitive to social cues around us. In many situations, social cues motivate us to engage to help others, particularly if the other person seems to need our help. …”

“So, go see a movie and laugh and cry. It’s good for your brain, and just might motivate you to make positive changes in your life and in others’ lives as well.”