This young man and his friends were at our downtown Saturday market offering free hugs to anyone who wanted one. The Free Hugs Campaign has a web site with a short video that is well worth watching, if you can see through your tears. (The Becka thinks I'm silly!) Here is a quote from the site.
" In this age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact, the effects of the Free Hugs campaign became phenomenal."
Human touch is a powerful thing. In my job as a physiotherapist, I am frequently in close contact with my patients. This requires trust and creates some vulnerability. I had a patient, an elderly spinster who had succeeded remarkably in business, who bristled when we reached out to position her swollen legs.
"I don't like to be touched!" she reminded us over and over again.
I touch people in a professional way, helping move a weak limb, or supporting someone learning to sit or walk again. Those whose trust I gain often open up on a deeper emotional level. During treatment sessions I may be entrusted with the disclosure of very personal memories, hopes and fears. This is often an important part of the healing process.
The family I grew up in would never be described as "huggers". There was a combination of stiff Germanic emotional control combined with a strong British sense of propriety. People we met who displayed more emotional exuberance seemed humorous (or intimidating) to us. This kind of response is very common in Canada. People were not lining up to hug these young people at the market.
Touch is so important, even to those who would resist it. Teachers are discouraged from giving hugs to their students and too often fear stops us from physically reaching out to others.
The old lady who initially protested our attempts to give her physical care came to accept it. With the acceptance came a mellowing, tears, and open grieving about her loss of health and independence.
Give a hug today, to someone you love, or to a stranger. I am sure you will both be rewarded.
to all my readers
to all my readers