Somewhere along the way, we grow up, and for some reason, we trick ourselves into thinking that we don't need hugs anymore. It doesn't help that hugs become much less socially acceptable as adults. But why? I suppose there's always the worry that a hug will be misinterpreted, or the motivation questionned, or that it will be unwelcome. But sometimes all a hug is is a greeting, a show of support, or a simple expression of friendship. And sometimes we need it more than we think we do.
As I write, I'm struggling with thinking that this is going to come accross all soft and cuddly and cutsie, but I really don't think we adults get or give enough hugs. The chorus of a children's song by Charlotte Diamond repeats over and over, "four hugs a day, that's the minimum, four hugs a day, not the maximum..." Perhaps she's on to something. Children get and give lots of hugs. But do we growns ups meet that quota?
This line of thinking came up after I saw this video a few days ago on a friend's blog. It was a video of a man in Korea standing on busy streets with a giant sign that said, "Free Hugs!" Anyone who wanted to could come up and get a hug. The looks on people's faces as they walked by were curious, though there were definitely those who looked suspicious. Most just took photos. Very few people actually went up for a hug, but those who did left with a big smile. How could they not?
Then tonight after Alpha, one of the other girls on the leadership team came up and kind of randomly hugged me, and it was great! I must have given her a weird look or something (why? I love hugs!), because she said, "We don't give enough hugs!" That of course turned my thoughts back to the video, and the leaders and I started talking about the lack of physical touch in our culture. Even just putting a hand on a shoulder will often get you a, "Uh, what are you doing?" look. Of course, after this conversation, we all had to give eachother hugs as we left, and it turned into a great big "hug-in." As goofy as it was, it really made my day.
Now granted, I probably wouldn't go up and hug some random person on the street who was offering them (... oh who am I kidding, yes I would, just cause it'd be fun!), but it got me thinking... so often I go about my life with a sense of isolation from other people. I fool myself into thinking that I don't need that kind of interaction, and worry about giving it to others. But there's something so powerful in human touch. It gives security, it brings healing, it is food for the heart.
Now this doesn't mean that I'm going to start accosting everyone I see with a great big bear hug. But I'm definitely going to try to pass out a few more so if you know me in real life, consider yourself warned! ;-)
* Quote by Terri Guillemets