Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Can You Ever Get Enough Hugs? How do you feel?

Can you ever get enough hugs?  The answer for some, would be a resounding yes because they don't consider themselves to be huggy people. They are uncomfortable with touchy, feely people and so they retreat from, rather than respond to the hugs.

The answer for others, like my mother and other senior citizens that I have asked, would be no, because they simply do not get many, if any at all.

I would consider myself to be slightly resistant to hugs. I feel a little uncomfortable and find it hard to hug back. My brothers, who were never particularly huggy growing up, now greet and say goodbye with one. At a kiddie's party the other week, it was as if people could sense this from me as they didn't greet me with a hug as they did with others. I always feel a certain caginess about hugging and I wonder why, since I do feel good when I am given one.  I wonder if it's because of my background or if its just something inert in me.  As my Dad got older he used to give us what we called 'bone crusher' hugs, but I can't remember him doing that when we were younger. My mother hugged us a lot as children, but not so much when we grew up.

Yet, as a mother, I have no difficulty in accepting hugs from my little son.  There is nothing that fills me with so much joy as a hug from those little arms.  My mother loves to get hugs from her grandchildren as do many of her friends with theirs.  They say they simply don't get as many these days.  As their spouses and close relatives and friends are passing on, the hugs are few and far between.  Since I heard this, I have been making efforts to hug my mother much more. Sometimes it's hard, after a conversation where I am being criticised as only mothers can do with their daughters, but I do it anyway. Though she wants and accepts the hugs and always seems delighted, I can still sense a kind of reticence where she wants to respond but holds back.  If we get hugged less as we get older, I better start giving and receiving more now!

Once, on a family holiday to France, we passed through Barcelona.  In the square, at the Cathedral, it felt like such a happy place.  There were people hanging around with signs offering 'free hugs' and there were people just going up to avail of them.

For someone who is slightly nervous of being hugged,  I felt compelled to give and receive one.  The feeling was very strong and I thought I might actually do it.  Then I looked at my parents-in-law who are quite reserved and knew they wouldn't approve.  My father in law thought they were weirdos and since I often suspect he thinks I am too, I decided against it!  They were more interested in entering the Cathedral for the latin mass so that is what I ended up doing too.  It was beautiful but I would have preferred a free hug, given that I am usually so reserved about them.

There is even a facebook page and a website dedicated to the 'Free Hugs'. You can see an example here.

There is a woman known as 'Amma' who travels the world hugging people.  She believes in the loving healing power of the hug.  Apparently she has hugged more than 20 million people in all parts of the world.  Now there is someone who is not afraid of hugs!

Am I alone with my feelings on this?  How do you feel about hugs?