Hi. My name is Michelle and I am a hugger. I always have been.
To me, a hug is the best way to say hello or goodbye, I love you, I’ll miss you, I’m sorry.
My goodbye hugs when leaving my daughters at college are a family legend; I insisted on a 30 second hug, which of course left us all laughing. But I admit I never gave my penchant for hugging much thought until recently, when I read an article on Facebook.
It began with the quote: Hugging is the most beautiful form of communication that allows the other person to know beyond a doubt that they matter.
That they matter — so simple and so easy. And so needed in these divisive times. And, quite frankly, I don’t think we hug each other enough. And I don’t know why.
About a year ago, my daughter’s best friend lost her mother. I didn’t see Annie until she came into the flower shop where I work to order flowers. I hugged her as soon as she walked in the door. Then, through our tears, we ordered the arrangements. It wasn’t until later that evening that Annie told my daughter I was the first person who had hugged her. And I admit I was shocked because a hug is my first instinct.
Current social conventions do have us conditioned not to touch others not closely related to us. I must say I really don’t agree.
And I have good company. According to a Healthline Media Inc. article, family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Hugs have been shown to reduce stress, pain, and fear. Hugs can make us happier and allow us to connect emotionally with others.
My job has given me the opportunity to offer hugs to grieving people, some of whom I know, many of whom I had just met. But I know without a doubt that those hugs left us both feeling a bit better.
If you would indulge me for a minute, I would ask you to place your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder. Now squeeze gently for as long you need for a hug from me. And know that you are cared for and loved.