Most of us have succumbed to a heart-wrenching scene in a movie at some point in our lives. Some of us preempt the tears and keep tissues to hand; some of us attempt stoicism and release nothing but a single tear.
Our brains are not always the best at telling the difference between fantasy and reality. When we witness movie characters in emotional scenarios, our brains release the neuropeptide oxytocin. Oxytocin, the “empathy hormone,” makes us feel compassionate toward others and compels us to do good.
So if you often cry during movies, what else does this say about you? Here are the eight hidden traits of chronic movie criers.
1. You don’t bottle up your emotions
Crying during movies is an effective outlet for pent-up emotions. It’s a great way to work through your own emotions; if you know this about yourself, you might even intentionally watch a tear-jerking movie in order to work through the stresses of a rough day.
After all is said and done, it’s only a movie, so it’s a safe way to experience authentic emotions with no lasting repercussions.
2. You’re empathic
If movie scenes make you cry, then the likelihood is that you’re a very empathic person. Movie criers find it easy to put themselves in other people’s shoes, and your friends know this; you will probably be one of the first people they come to for comfort and advice.
You are possibly also someone who finds it easy to strike up conversations with strangers, and you willingly immerse yourself in their stories.
3. You can handle emotional baggage
The upshot of being empathic is that other people’s worries are often offloaded onto you. It is a wonderful thing to be able to offer someone you love some emotional support, but to do so implies a huge inner strength. It’s not called “shouldering a burden” for nothing.
4. You’re resilient
Nothing beats the emotional rollercoaster of a great movie plot line. And anybody who rolls with the emotional punches, allowing themselves to cry when things get serious, is likely to be an expert in managing emotional equilibrium. The tears end when the credits roll (most of the time), right?
5. You have an artistic leaning
Movies are the product of a huge amount of artistic intention and execution. If the art form of the moving image can move you emotionally, then it’s likely that other types of art move you too.
Whether paintings, music, literature, or dance are your forté, you may either be an art appreciator or an artist yourself. Regardless, your artistic appreciation comes hand in hand with being able to differentiate fantasy from reality.
6. You’re emotionally intuitive
As an empath, you are good at intuiting other people’s emotions. You are also good at examining your own and can often anticipate a change in mood or the way you might respond to a change in circumstance.
“We don’t have to reject scientific logic in order to benefit from instinct,” says Francis Cholle, author of The Intuitive Compass. “We can honor and call upon all of these tools, and we can seek balance. And by seeking this balance,” he continues, “we will finally bring all of the resources of our brain into action.”
7. You’re charitable
Movie tragedies, albeit fictional, nonetheless represent the tragedies of the real world. As oxytocin swirls around the brain and body of the movie watcher, those tears may turn into altruism and prompt some real action once you leave the movie theater. The same study intimated that watching a sad movie actually encouraged people to donate money to charity.
8. You’re brave
Some movies confront us with terrifying and challenging scenarios. They also give us the opportunity to rehearse our emotions in a safe space, just in case we ever face similar scenarios in our own lives. If you allow yourself to emote while watching movies, then very possibly you will be less afraid of facing uncomfortable situations of your own.
Thus we should all give ourselves a break if a movie leaves us bawling like a baby; it could actually say something tremendous about the people we are on the inside.