It’s been a couple of months shy of a year since the pandemic abridged many of our personal and social niceties. One of those that I greatly miss is hugging my friends. I’m a very tactile person. I like to get hugged by family and friends; and I like to hug them in return. It doesn’t matter if it’s one to one hugging or a group hug; I’m all for hugging.
I want to believe those experts who claim that hugging is healthy for us. Hugging my family members, hugging my boyfriend, hugging my pals, and gently hugging a pet feels calming and reassuring.
Hugs are a way of expressing affection and empathy. A sincere hug is welcome at times of joy and times of sorrow. Think of all the hugging that happens at weddings and at funerals. Hugging is an instinctive, powerful way to communicate deep feelings for which words are insufficient. A simple hug expresses a primal need to physically show comradery and caring. Regarding the communication of positive emotion, there is nothing more powerful than a sincere, strong hug.
There is a special something about an innocent hug that warms the heart and makes life seem a little bit better. That’s why I like the family custom of hugging as a form of greeting when saying “hello” and upon saying “goodbye”. The farewell hugs always seem to last longer than the hello hugs. Even after the hug has physically ended, the memory of it lingers afterwards.
A former boyfriend, who was killed in a traffic accident many years ago, taught me an important practice regarding hugging and quarrels. Takeo believed that if either one of us felt anger or frustration towards the other, we should sincerely exchange hugs. The frustrated partner hug felt somewhat different than the happy hug. The frustrated partner hug wasn’t aggressive, but it was tighter and lasted longer. Even if words were not spoken, I could readily tell the degree of anger Takeo felt towards me. He said it worked the same for him. One beautiful thing about those hugs, is that they usually culminated in heart to heart talks. That said, I’m glad our affectionate hugs far outnumbered our frustrated partner hugs.
An interesting observation can be made if you are paying full attention to the other person during a hug. That is the aroma of the person. It’s not about the cologne, or soap, or any topically applied medication. There’s a very subtle, natural fragrance that comes through. Perhaps it is endorphins or some such biological mechanism. When you hug a significant other or close friend there’s a particular note in his aroma that signals whether or not he’s a member of your tribe. This comes through at a primal level that is difficult to put into words. That particular note of aroma is just more noticeable when hugging happens.
There are many reasons I’ll be glad when the pandemic passes and we can live somewhat normally again. Hugging will no longer increase our risk of passing along the deadly virus. After all, the world is a crazy, harsh mess. Our lives are difficult enough. To be able to confidently, safely hug our loved ones and friends every day will once again greatly enhance our lives. After all, hugging is one of the best uses of arms. When we wrap them around a special person, we give our emotional support and love.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Indian movie actress and fashion model, Tejaswi Madivada. “I like hugging, holding hands or monkeying around with the people I like. That’s my way of letting them know I like them.”