Humans seem to be the only animals that cry for emotional reasons. Perhaps there is some sort of evolutionary advantage to being able to show others that your heart is broken, or maybe its as useless as an appendix.

Counter intuitively, it doesn’t seem okay to cry in public, nor is it easy; it seems some semblance of privacy is required for tears to be able to stream down your face. At least it is for me. I get shy just listening to a song in public that has made me cry before (or often many times before). And yet, when I cry I want to reach out to the whole world, if only someone cared enough to listen and tell me its okay. It does seem that sadness being so evidently shown should require some social element, but it does not.

So here are the steps to cry quietly:

1) listen to a good sad song (some examples: Lua, Bright Eyes; You Make It Seem Like Nothing, Elliott Smith; Hurt, Nine Inch Nails).

2) pretend there is an other, in some generalized form, if not a specific person, that has some sort of sympathy for you. A warning: if you’ve been battered, bruised and demonized and it feels like the whole world hates you and wants you to suffer… tears will not come. You literally cannot cry for yourself; you have to at least hold on to the fantasy that someone cares about you and would be there for you if they knew how much pain you were in.

3) cry like a little baby until tears don’t come anymore. Don’t tell anyone it happened or why; you’re imagined other really is just that and no one has time for you or cares.

4) go on with your day and pretend your normal and don’t want to peel your own skin off.