Saturday, April 17, 2010
Hug Your Loved Ones More.
Of all the things I hear people complain about, it is that we have become an isolated, lonely society.
Even in our own homes.
A lot of different things isolate us. Anger at each other, jealously, feeling like we have been let down. Being "too busy". Stress, feeling worn out, wanting to just be alone. Computer time. Gaming time. TV time. Chore time. Homework time. The list goes on and on.
But most of us could just use some hug time.
How many times have you hugged your child, and they don't seem to care or they even push you away, so you don't do it as much anymore, especially in the morning when you are trying to get them off to school and they are yelling because they cannot find whatever.
How many times have you sat there with a friend while she was telling you yet another story of how rotten her life is. And when she is finished, you tell her you must run and then you literally do.
How many times have you stopped by your mom's house to drop something off and scurried out the door to avoid yet another conflict.
And how many times have you walked past your husband or wife doing dishes or cooking something or on the computer and you went straight to the refrigerator to look for a snack and left.
Well, these are all times you could have given someone a much needed hug.
People need hugs the most when you think they don't. When your kids are being rotten, when your husband seems distant, when your friend is upset, when your mom criticizes. As crazy as it seems, many times these behaviors present themselves because people just don't feel loved or appreciated enough.
I know, I am not a licensed psychologist. But I am an observer of people. And what I see are a lot of people who need a hug. A touch. They need to not feel so alone in this world.
It is sometimes hard to imagine hugging all the time. And you need not do that. But once in while, it is the best medicine. For all of us.
And asking for a hug is a good thing, too. Just to say, "I could really use a hug right now" can show others that you are human, too. That you have needs. That you need love. No one can meet all of your crazy expectations, we know that.
But everyone can hug.
And hugs are carried far beyond the time it takes to give one. Many adults wish they were hugged more as children. If there is one thing I hear over and over again from patient's adult children, it is that. More hugs. More tangible evidence of love.
When people or children seem to be at their worst behavior, this is often the time they need a hug the most. And it is also the time that we want to give it the least. The time we withhold love to prove some point. A rather meaningless point. A punishment that only hurts us in the end.
Touch is magical. It really is. (Appropriate touch that is, you know what I mean)
As hospice nurses, we hug a lot. We are asked for hugs and we offer them freely. Patients randomly hug me all of the time. A hug shows something that mere words cannot express. It connects us as humans. We feel like we are part of something. That we matter.
Too often, hugs are given only when there is bad news. Or when we have not seen someone in a very long time. That is a shame.
So, think more about hugs. Offer them more. It can be a good way to connect in this busy world. Do not be stingy with them. Offer them freely, not conditionally. Do not make people deserve them. Do not set limits on hugs. Do not be surprised if someone resists at first or thinks you are weird. They really love it. They do. And if they don't appear to, that is okay. You will feel good about reaching out. That is like giving yourself a hug. And that is okay, too.
And hug your children more, especially when they are teenagers and roll their eyes. Inside, they are smiling.
It only takes a few seconds, but hugs can last a lifetime.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”