Reboot Podcast Episode #168 – ​​The Healing Power of Tears: Building Empathy and Connection in a Numb World – with Benjamin Perry

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.


Benjamin Perry

Benjamin Perry


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Episode Description

What is your relationship to crying? When was the last time you allowed yourself to weep openly? In this compelling episode of the Reboot Podcast, Jerry sits down with Benjamin Perry, minister and author of Cry Baby: Why Our Tears Matter.

Drawing from personal experiences and insightful conversations, Jerry and Ben explore the impact of emotional numbness, the transformative power of shedding tears, and the profound connection that it fosters between individuals. From discussions on the suppression of emotions in society to the role of vulnerability in creating welcoming spaces, this episode will challenge you to reconsider how you navigate your own emotional landscape.

Show Highlights

Memorable Quotes: 

“I cried a lot as a young child, but then by the time I was 11 or 12 or 13 years old, I stopped crying altogether. And then I didn’t cry for a decade. Between the time of my early adolescence to when I was going to seminary in my early 20s, I can’t remember a single time when I cried at all. Not even in private. When I think about that decade of my life, I remember such a pervasive numbness. This feeling of, particularly in retrospect and in hindsight, of feeling dead.” – Benjamin Perry

“I started this bizarre spiritual experiment where I made myself cry every day. I did that for months. And what I found at the end of it was that I just completely rewired my emotional life and all of a sudden I felt alive again.” – Benjamin Perry

“If you are a person who truly and earnestly opens yourself to the world with vulnerability. You’re just gonna cry, that’s how we’re wired as people, it’s part of our biology. But it’s that piece of opening oneself that I think is really, really crucial and a key part of truly being alive in the fullest sense of the word.” – Benjamin Perry

“People are so hungry to feel, particularly in a world where we have this acculturated dumbness, that when you give them the invitation and you create a space where you can hold that in a way that feels safe and loved and held people are eager to reveal the fullness of themselves. And I think, you know, offering that invitation is a key.” – Benjamin Perry

“There’s a binding together that comes from the experience of acknowledging suffering, of being compassionate with suffering, of allowing, if you will, the tears, of allowing, if you will, the lamentations. So that we can come together and build that which is essential, which is the heart of the community.” – Jerry Colonna

“When we are socialized to lock down those emotions, it is not just the individuals who pay that price, but it is all those around them.” – Jerry Colonna

“I think that the training that many of us have gone through to not feel what we feel as human beings has this horrific effect of shutting us off to the suffering that we see around us. Because when we’re numb to our own feelings, we tend to be numb to the pain and suffering around us.” – Jerry Colonna

“That affirmation that I found in somebody else’s arms that that’s the kind of thing that will lead us out, that will birth the world where these kinds of senseless tragedies don’t happen. It’s not going to come because we pretend that we’re strong and that it doesn’t shake us to the very core of our being. It’s going to happen when we are courageous enough to be vulnerable and to weep and to keep dancing to continue to be alive in defiance of all the forces that want us to say numb, dead before we finally die.” – Benjamin Perry

“How does change happen? It’s really crucial to remember that by and large, people aren’t changed by intellectual debate…What actually changes people is feeling. People change when they feel something.” – Benjamin Perry

“When we cry, it is this visceral, somatic affirmation of our interconnectedness. are as humans, when somebody else is crying, our own spirit is disquieted.” – Benjamin Perry