Thursday, March 21, 2013


I will not play tug o' war.
I'd rather play hug o' war.
Where everyone hugs instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggle and rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
and everyone grins,
and everyone cuddles,
and everyone wins.
~Shel Silverstein

Hugs, with the right person can turn our day around, with the wrong person violates our personal space.

A friend of mine (who is also my massage therapist) and I were discussing hugs this week. My massages are not the relaxation kind but the grip the table, try not to cry, but please fix me kind. So we catch up on each other's lives as we're both single moms with often more on our plates than we can possibly stomach.

The topic came up as she told me about a client that passed away that always accepted a big hug even though she was not a "hugger."

So are there two types of people-huggers and non-huggers?

I used to be a non-hugger. My family wasn't big on physical display. I remember having a friend that not only hugged her parents all of the time but kissed them as well!! I thought that was strange.

My friends growing up weren't super hug-oriented and hugging boys from junior high on usually involved some play for second base. Then I married someone I wasn't really drawn to. Hugging was awkward and I avoided it if at all possible.

It wasn't until my job as a martial arts instructor that I learned to give and accept them more readily. I would get very invested in my students and often developed a friendship with them. I'd feel such pride for them when they would accomplish something they really worked hard at that a congratulation hug was often involved.

Then I developed what I like to call my second family. It includes some of the best friends and co-workers I could ever have wished for. They all hug-often. Not in a weird way.

I also adopted a daughter who craves love. She is my Velcro child and I sometimes actually have to fight the urge for personal space (not proud) and just relax into the love. I find myself going beyond what I feel is right to hug, kiss and love her because I know she needs it.

My oldest son went through a time where I couldn't even touch him. His excuse: "You don't let dad hug you." Thankfully now we have a relationship like I never would have dreamed for me and my 17 year old. A lot of love and respect on both our parts.

My middle son will still let me hug and kiss him....but he's at a stage where I also fight the urge to water board him. Yet every night I tell him I love him and kiss him goodnight.

So what does a hug do for us? Physical contact gives us a sense of calm, love, self-esteem, compassion and, occasionally, passion. It is a magical endorphin if done correctly.

The quote above is by Shel Silverstein. He wrote The Giving Tree. Possibly my favorite childhood book. A boy loves a tree and a tree loves a boy. The tree does everything for a boy, and a boy loves the tree.

So that is a true hug. Giving yourself completely to that person you want to show love in that moment. Not wanting anything in return but the amazing feeling of knowing you're giving yourself over to a hug.

So find someone to hug. Not a casual hug but a Giving Tree hug. Give yourself to someone with no expectation but to get a hug in return.

Be a giving tree.

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