Hugging Hubbub

Feb 24, 2009

Hugging is apparently on the upswing. First, I saw this post by Pete Wilson. Then a recent tweet led me to this post. Read them both. I mean it. They’re good.

Finally, I have a medical reason for being so crazy about all this affection. I’m a hugger. In spite of being independent and spacial, I’m a somewhat touchy person, which is good most of the time. Except when it isn’t. But that’s a different post.

I once performed a hugging conversion. Met someone new, who wasn’t a hugger at all. She turned stiff and started to run every time I headed her direction. Always up for a challenge, I set out to bring her to hugging salvation. And, over the course of our brewing friendship and my relentless two-armed embraces, she became a full-fledged believer in the art of hugging. Now she won’t leave a breathing soul alone. I’m so proud.

There’s something powerful about physical touch, reaching out to someone in a face-to-face encounter with unconditional acceptance, respect, and trust. Two arms thrown around another in a message that says, “I like you. You’re okay.” And though I know there’s a downside and a few cautions to be observed, I’m really not in the mood to talk about those today. Not in the mood at all.

Because I believe we’re far better experts at withholding love, rather than showing too much of it.

BTW, if we run into each other today, plan on having the stuffing hugged out right out of ya. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


  1. alece

    i’m a physically affectionate person. but… selectively.

    i know that makes me sound mean. or … something. but, well, it’s true. i’m selectively affectionate.

    (i’ll hug people when i meet them, but that’s not what i’m talking about.)

    for me, my physical affection (hugging, holding, closeness) is only possible within the context of trust. the deeper the trust, the more physically affectionate i am.

    i guess that means i withhold that expression of love from others. i think that’s okay, though. i need to feel safe before i’ll “give” myself to someone in that way. and i think, for me, it’s healthy to have those boundaries.

    so maybe what i’m thinking is that while i may withhold an expression of love, i’m not necessarily withholding love. and i’ll find other ways to express it to those i don’t feel close enough to to hug long and tight.


  2. Michele

    All good points, A. And I’ve been in the same boat many times.

    I think the primary motivation for this post is related to the time I spend with youth and teens. The desperation for love and acceptance often drives them to the point they’ll do anything (ANYTHING) for someone to love them. Makes me want to not let a day go by where I don’t give them a hug and tell each one how valuable they are. I’ve missed too many opportunities and later regretted it more than i thought possible. Don’t want to keep making that mistake.

    Thanks, as always, for your honesty and heart.

  3. Diane Shaw

    Michele, I so agree with you about the impact of hugs. I hugged a woman at church and just kind of ran my hand down her back and she started crying. She is a divorced woman with grown children and she said no one ever hugs her or rubs her back anymore. I was stunned. Ever since then I try to think of single women and their needs for hugs and back rubs. Of course I would not do the back rubs with someone I was not close to.
    I laughed about your hugging conversion. We had a woman at church who did not receive hugs and she has been converted also and she goes around looking for people to hug now. She always has a smile on her face now, before it wasn’t so.

  4. Michele

    Bless you, Diane. I was once a single mom myself, and understand your friend’s tears. It can be a desert. The fact that you recognize this and reach out to single women touches my heart deeply. Thank you for being so aware of those around you. It makes such a difference.


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