|Look at that face! Found here.|
I remember when I was getting to know my now-husband's family (all 1,000 of them, or at least it feels like that). Most of them are huggers, too, like his mom's family. But his step-father's family, they're cheek kissers. I didn't take to that too quickly. I had to work very hard over many years at consciously staying calm for the kiss-greetings and especially the kisses goodbye. Eventually I got used to it and now it doesn't cause me stress, but I'd still just rather have a good hug.
So I asked myself, "why hugs? What's so great about a hug? Why develop such a strong preference?" This led to a few observations:
- When we hug, we show the other person we support them. Physically, we actually do support them a little bit. Ever topple over or stumble from a hug? It's because the people engaged in a hug are throwing each other a little off balance and then holding the other person up. When you hug, you are literally helping support the other person.
- When we hug, we get support. Same deal, going the other way. In my opinion, this is why the "hugs" we exchange with people we don't really like (you know, there's always that relative you don't really want to see but have to be nice to kind of thing) aren't full bodied, two-armed hugs. They're usually side hugs and arm pats. Because we don't believe we will be supported (and perhaps, don't want to support them either). In a real hug, the other person helps hold you up.
- When we hug, we let ourselves go. Ever start to hug someone then burst into tears? When you're that close, heart-to-heart really, it's hard to have barriers or facades. That's how it should be.
So next time you give a hug, go ahead and indulge. Close your eyes, hold on just a split second longer than you have to. Take a full breath in and let it out before letting go. Remember you're hugging this person because they mean something to you, and "tell" then that with your hug.
I just love hugs. And I'm apparently not the only one: enjoy the Top Ten Cutest Hugs of All Time!