“There’s no shame in showing your tears,” said Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday, recalling a time when he believed that crying makes a man weak, a belief he wants none to have now.
In an open letter to fellow men in the ongoing International Men’s Week, the cricket icon said his tribe should never pretend to be tough when things are falling apart.
“There’s no shame in showing your tears. So why hide a part of you that actually makes you stronger? Why hide your tears?” he asked in an emotional note.
“Because that’s what we are brought up to believe - that men are not supposed to cry. That crying makes a man weak.
“I grew up believing this. And the reason I’m writing to you today, is because I realised that I was wrong. My struggles and my pain made me who I am, shaping me into a better man,” he added.
The 46-year-old, arguably the greatest batsman to have played cricket, said crying does not mean weakness.
“It takes a lot of courage to show your pain and your vulnerability. But just as sure as the morning, you’ll emerge from it tougher and better. So I encourage you to move past these stereotypes and notions of what men can or cannot do. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I wish you this courage,” he said.
Tendulkar said his tribe will face “fear, doubts and experience great tribulations” and it is fine if some of it leads to a breakdown.
“Undoubtedly, there will be times when you fail, and you will feel like crying and letting it all out. But sure enough, you’ll hold back the tears and pretend to be tough. Because that’s what men do,” he wrote.
Recalling his last day in international cricket, when he broke down while delivering a farewell speech, Tendulkar said he embraced the flood of emotions that came with the occasion.
“I had thought about it for a long time but nothing could prepare me for that last walk back to the pavilion. With each step it started sinking in. I felt a lump in my throat, the fear of it all ending.
“There was so much going through my head in that moment. I just couldn’t keep it in. And I didn’t fight it. I let go in front of the world, and surprisingly, I felt a certain peace,” he remembered.
“I felt stronger for putting myself out there and grateful for everything that I had received. I realised I was man enough,” he said.