As we prepared to hug the homeless, I happened to read about hugging and found a post where Carl Munson expressed his uncomfortable feelings about hugging. Here is my response.
I think forcing this is not fun at all. However, it is great to feel connected to the world. I am a natural hugger, always was, but my husband, Gal, didn’t think it was right to hug people you don’t love. It was an issue of sincerity, I guess, because he comes from a family of huggers that hug within the family.
If you live in a place where people do not hug each other, it is strange. It is like any other thing people do that is not part of your culture and you find it strange.
Think about it: babies are hugged a lot and one day parents feel it is not appropriate anymore, so teenagers are not hugged much. Why?
Many years ago, Gal was an exchange student in Connecticut (USA) for 6 months and stayed in touch with his host family. After about 10 years of sending letters and photos to each other, we went to visit them with our 4 year-old daughter. It was the first time I met them.
They were wonderful. On their fridge, I saw our photos and Sally, Gal’s host mother, told everyone that her son came to visit with his family. She called our daughter “my granddaughter”. They were a wonderful, loving family that adopted us as their own.
I remember on the first evening, when we went to bed, everyone hugged one another, long, loving hugs. I come from a not-so-hugging family and this was the kind of hugs I hug my family at the airport before a long trip, so I thought it was excitement.
In the morning, when we got up, it was the same thing – hugging and kissing again. It was strange, but nice, and I felt so much love.
In the second evening, there were hugs again, so when we went to bed, I asked Gal about this strange thing and he said, “Oh, they do this every evening and every morning. It is not just because they haven’t seen us for a long time”.
I went to sleep laughing. At night, I thought about it some more. “Why not?”, I asked myself. I tried imagining myself living life like that, hugging my mom and dad and sisters and brother the same way every night and every morning. It felt good just imagining it and I made a choice to think differently about hugging.
I thank our adopted parents in Connecticut that helped me learn that I can do things that I didn’t have at home. I knew my parents loved me, but the thought of them showing it to me every day made me decide I was going to do it to my children, every day, every morning, every night.
Only later on in life, I started to coach people and work with them on their life and on the choices they want to make and this brought me to hugging as a healing method. Read my article Hugs: The Ultimate Antidepressant to find the physical reasons to hug and watch the videos below to be inspired to start your own hugging campaign:
Sending you a big hug,