Why do we hug? What does it mean to people? I was walking through a parking lot the other day and witnessed two young people in the midst of a pretty intense hug. Both were emotional, to the point of tears and you knew that they were saying good-bye. For a day, a month, or a year I have no idea. But I did realize that I had been a participant in just that kind of hug on several occasions in the past and I was more than just a little jealous.
Hugging is Caring
How long has it been since I had allowed myself to care so deeply that the thought of being separated from someone would create such a powerful and visceral reaction. As you age, the fear of pain in life and of being hurt has forced me to start to build walls around these parts of my life. You have experiences which hurt, build a wall. Disappointment, build a wall. Frustration, build a wall. Soon all you have around you are walls to protect you. Leaving you as an individual who is most definitely safe but also as certainly alone.
I remember the feelings of saying good-bye and wondering how you will ever survive without the presence of that person in your life. Yet you do survive, and move forward and convince yourself that the hug was a bad thing, and just the precursor of more pain in your life. You learn to never let your barriers down for anyone because it is easier, and cleaner than being open and honest with someone. Feelings are great, but there is risk involved in feeling. Just as easy as you can feel happy and elated, you can also feel unhappy, hurt, let down or devastated. Never open yourself up for a hug from anyone and you will never be in jeopardy of being hurt or let down.
It’s Not Too late To Become A Hugger
So can you change? Of course you can. When you realize that you are missing out on some of the best things that life has to offer, caring and intimacy. I believe we can start to re-learn how to develop intimacy with others by recognizing the power of it and express trust for a relationship and gratitude for the fullness it brings to your life.
As I thought about that hug I remembered what positive feelings I was having in that moment. It was non judgmental, caring, nurturing, and joyful. For just having been in contact with someone else who brought so much into my life. We tend to forget these things when we get hurt or experience disappointment. Remember the good that another person can bring into your life.
How often do you hug the person that you share your life with? Often? Never? Somewhere in between? The act of hugging can show appreciation, love, caring, vulnerability, and acceptance of what someone is. There is no dark side to this. If you are feeling bad, get a hug and you will feel better. If someone else is feeling bad, give them a hug and they will most often feel better.
How many hugs have you been a part of today?