A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away. ~ Bil Keane
That’s what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you’re not so lovable. ~ Deb Caletti
If you’re angry at a loved one, hug that person. And mean it. You may not want to hug – which is all the more reason to do so. It’s hard to stay angry when someone shows they love you, and that’s precisely what happens when we hug each other. ~ Walter Anderson
Hug therapy…. so important. In the past I have written about our intense human need for physical touch. I have also found that my animals have this need. Animals are such a gift to us – as they can provide the physical touch that lonely individuals desperately yearn for. This may be why it is a well-known reality that people live longer when they have pets.
As an educator, I have found that there are many times when a child needs a hug more than words of encouragement. Sadly, in this day of lawsuits and accusations, staff members have to be very careful about any sort of contact with students. Some school districts and states even recommend that staff members put their arms in the air and do not hug a child ever, even when the child initiates.
As a past child abuse specialist for a school district in the USA, I understand the importance of wanting to protect our children from inappropriate physical contact, yet as a therapist I also understand the developmental necessity of touch in a child’s life – and the healing power of a safe, comforting hug in times of distress. I believe that we have a happy medium where I work – and we do hug students when they initiate. We give them the comfort they need to feel safe and secure.
I also find that adults need hugs… in fact, we probably need more hugs than we get! This is something I am keenly aware of with our single staff members. Between my partners and my children I get all the hugs I need, but I remember what it was like being single – being deprived of physical contact for days, weeks, or even months at a time. As someone who was very conservative in my choices, I found that I yearned for physical connection, but was smart enough to not go looking for it in unhealthy places. I think there are many single adults who struggle with this same reality – some are lucky enough to have a pet to snuggle, others struggle and long for companionship and personal connection.
If you have single friends, think of them and their need for personal connection – and if they look like they may need a hug, ask them if they do!
Today, 86 days ’til 40, I am reminded about the need for connection – it is an ever-present need in our lives, from birth through adulthood.