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I Am A Man, And I’m Not Afraid To Cry

My life used to suck.

As a younger man I was insecure, needy, sad for no apparent reason, and I had a lot of stuff from my childhood that I hadn’t worked through yet. I found myself in unhealthy relationships, unfulfilling jobs, and uninspiring friendships. And I hadn’t yet developed methods for dealing with the ups and downs of life, which left me absolutely frustrated at times. But as much as my life sucked, I never cried.

You see, I was taught by societal norms that crying is for girls and babies. So I didn’t cry even when there was a perfectly good reason to. The only times I remember crying in my early twenties were when I got drunk and finally let down the facade of a man who had everything together. Then I would bawl my brains out, usually on the shoulder or lap of a close friend. Not exactly the healthiest situation.


Fast forward to today and my life is amazing. I wake up every day and jump out of bed like I’m on fire. I am my healthiest, happiest, and absolute best self ever. I have tools, frameworks, and methods for dealing with anything that life has to throw at me. I can reframe any shitty situation into rainbows, puppies, and unicorns.

For some reason though, since my life has gotten better I actually cry more.

For the past year or two, I cry at least once during a good 75% of the movies I watch. I cried watching this Chipotle commercial. For heaven’s sake, I even teared up a little watching Step Up 3D. Seriously.

It’s not that I’m sad, I’m just easily inspired and moved. With all the self-work I’ve done over the years, I almost feel as if I’ve increased the capacity of my heart to experience emotion. Although I rarely watch TV, shows like American Idol and The Voice get me every time. When I see someone living his or her life to their full potential, I can’t help but shed a couple tears of joy.

And the Notebook. Don’t even get me started on the Notebook. The first time I watched that I had to excuse myself from a girlfriend’s living room to the bathroom where I weeped in the fetal position for several minutes. True story.


Tonight I cried for a while for a perfectly good reason. Afterwards I felt great. So great that I felt like I had to share it with the world. So here it is.

Part of me hopes this gets shared into the hands of those who vehemently disagree. Part of me almost hopes I get hate mail or comments from guys who think “crying is for pussies.” Trust me dude, you’re on the wrong side of the issue here. Don’t try to be so macho that you lose sight of actually being a human being.

And if you ever want to let down your guard and start living life with an open heart, I’ll be here to give you a shoulder to cry on.

Yes, I am a man. A confident, secure, strong, healthy, and happy man. And I’m not afraid to cry.

  • Nicky Hajal

    There are times in the past few years where I wished my body would just let go and cry.

    Going through some rough times a few months back, that definitely happened.

    At the time, I saved the note: “Make a decision at least once a year that makes you cry – not out of happiness, but out of loss, fear and uncertainty.”

    The truth is that the release crying brings feels amazing in the moment and although there’s much pain involved, getting all of that intense emotion out is just the first step in leveraging it to something greater than you could’ve originally imagined.

    Thanks for reminding me of that.

    I’ve never seen the Notebook – bro movie night?

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Yes, the Notebook is totally a bro movie. Up there with Die Hard and GoodFellas.

  • Dave Lukas

    Awesome post Michael! I am also a man who is not afraid to cry and see the fact that I do cry as a good thing. It means I’m connected to myself and my emotions and not blocked. Being blocked is NOT a good thing. I appreciated your honesty in this post in pulling back the curtain on your personal journey.

  • Kyle Alexander Adams

    Wow – completely inspirational

  • Dan Jarvis

    When I was young, I used to cry all the time – hell, I would even say too much. Granted, I had plenty of good reasons to cray at that point, but I allowed it to carry over into every aspect of my life. One day when I was 11, I fell and banged up my knee pretty bad and cried like, well, a baby. It was at that moment I decided that I was never going to cry again. Unfortunately, young kids can take extreme measures when they’re not necessary and that definitely happened in this case. The low point came when my grandfather (who served admirably as my father) passed away and as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t even shed a single tear. It occurred to me at that point, some 10 years after I had made that decision, that crying is indeed a good thing. Last Tuesday, we had to put our family dog to sleep. I was able to keep it together thanks to years of training while I was with him as I didn’t want to frighten him, but once we left, I broke down. It was a terrible moment, but it also felt wonderful to know that I was able to allow Jake to touch me like that. It’s all part of the journey, and you’re on it!!

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing that Dan.

      We are going to spend a lot of time together in April. 🙂

  • Drew Grubich

    true and possibly sad story: i believe i’ve cried more on camera than i have not.

  • Nina Yau

    Mike, you had me at rainbows, puppies, and unicorns. My heart actually leapt a little inside my chest. Truth. 🙂

    You know what? Like you, I’ve noticed that I cry way, way more now than I have in the past five years. And it’s because I’m happier and healthier, that I’ve finally let my guard down and begun to feel real human emotions. Tears are one way to shine your spirit, to allow your beautiful humanness to fully be present.

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  • bettyjeanbell

    Don’t know where to start. I will start with The Notebook.

    I watched it by myself for the first time about a month ago. My niece kept saying it was a total chick flick. I don’t usually cry at chick flix so that didn’t mean much to me. Late one night after a long day of work I decided to watch it. My niece (roommate) had already gone to sleep. Half way through I had to pause the film so that I could go to my bathroom, grab the hand towel, collapsed in the floor and then sob uncontrollably questioning my life and wondering if “anyone would ever love me like that.”

    So, Mike… reading that you also went to the bathroom and laid weeping in fetal position lets me know that, once again, we are kindred spirits… probably separated at birth. haha

    The Notebook is like… I don’t know – some sort of weeping pill. Seeing you and Nicky talk about it as a bro movie makes me love the shit out of you guys.

    Any guy who has read this article and needs a way to force himself to cry… watch The Notebook. That should get you there (if you will let it).

    The rest of this article: I am so grateful to see this conversation started among men. Men who refuse to deal with their emotions are not men. Society has a way of telling men they shouldn’t cry and they shouldn’t let things get to them. It is frustrating.

    Women will love and respect you A MILLION TIMES MORE if you will just be honest, say what is messing with you, deal with your emotions in a HEALTHY way (by crying and feeling them) and then have the strength to move on because you dealt with your stuff.

    You guys are who aren’t afraid to cry and feel your humanness: more power to you. you are the sexiest, most coveted men on earth.

    Great article, Mike. Thanks for writing it.

    • Mike Hrostoski

      BJB, I love you! Thanks for joining me on the best friend date ever. Can’t wait to spend more time in Austin with you crafting perfect day after perfect day.

  • geoff

    I agree with you completely. I’m starting to actually reveal in the fact thati
    I am so in touch with my emotions. I’m the”emotional” guy in my group of friends and am perfectly fine with that. Having an understang and supportive girlfriend helps immensly as well. So glad I stumbled upon this.