Hug it out

I’m not sure when it started. Certainly I’ve always been affectionate. But I can’t say I remember hugging that much before my late 20’s. But something happened in the last decade or so that opened up my arm gates of love.

Some years ago, a friend you might know (hi Jim!) became my example of a big friendly hugger outside of my close-family hug club. He opened my mind (& heart) to hugging friends. He is a man full of love for others. It’s awesome.

“Research indicates we need 4 hugs/day for survival, 8 for maintenance and 12 for growth. If we want to be growing we need 12 hugs/day! Hugs have a healing effect on the body. Hugs bolster our immune system. Hugs help us to feel special and feel close to family and friends.”

Hugging my girl Val is easy. Love those. And I hug my kids of course. My teen son likes them less so he says. But he still gets them. (Even if they are sometimes only side-guy-hugs.)

Of course I’ve always hugged my Mom.

My Dad and I hug now. I don’t think we did that much before I was 30.

Times change. Now I’m the father. My teen daughter has taken to joking “Oh, let’s hug it out, Dad.” Not sure what the “it” is but I’m always ready to get rid of “it” and embrace her.

My father-in-law passed a few years ago. He was a big guy and a hugger. Now I wrap arms around my mom-in-law every time I see her. I know she needs lots.

In fact, I’m sure there’s loads of hug-deficient people I pass by every day. They are walking by yearning for someone to hug them, and make them feel someone loves them. That makes me sad.

Hug old friends that haven’t been seen in a while? Yup. I’ll even hug those I’m not that close with. Sure sometimes I sense they aren’t totally comfortable. But hey – there’s lots of people that have made me what I am. They deserve a hug of gratitude!

Work colleagues that I often don’t see? If they are into it – we hug. I like that. (And I’d argue it’s more sanitary than shaking hands.)

Hugging doesn’t have to be weird. Just a nice warm embrace for a few seconds to let each other know they are appreciated. And valued. And loved.

So friends, if I haven’t seen you in a while, be ready. Let’s hug it out.