I Need a Hug … Please?

I was standing on the balcony of my boyfriend’s apartment, my mind totally shrouded with dark thoughts, oblivious to the twinkling city lights before me.  I was distressed. That afternoon, the executives had announced a huge scope and location change for the project I was contracted to complete. How could they? That’s not what I had signed up for!

Slowly I felt my friend take me into his arms and hold me.  He whispered that I’d get through it; he’d help me; he’d take care of me.  I felt the compassion of his embrace gently creep into my heart, giving me the necessary strength to face the issues head on.  Today this friend is my husband.  He knew and still knows the power of a hug.

I have often seen the quote from Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, saying “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”   I believe it’s not just children who need these – we all do.

But what if we don’t have someone close to give us all those hugs?   Did you know that in 2014, 50.2 percent of the American adults were single, compared to 22 percent in 1950?  I suspect this trend is not limited to America alone.

And with the proliferation of smartphones and texting, I wonder if we’re moving into an era of disconnect where people are switching to cyber communication and shying away from human contact?  Goodness, I’ve even noticed that the way people hug has changed.  It’s become an awkward dance where they lean their shoulders forward and hollow their torsos backward, move sideways, barely make physical contact and gently pat the other person on the back.

Seriously, are we becoming a hug deprived culture?

Paro hug

Ten years ago, the Japanese firm AIST recognized our human need for hugs and lack thereof, particularly in care facilities housing the elderly.  They introduced a cuddly, stuffed, plush, anti-bacterial furry harp seal named Paro to the world.   Its purpose was to give hugs and encourage the owner to pet and hug it back.

Today, Paro continues to be sought out by care facilities all around the world. And it is slowly migrating into homes of the elderly as a pet.

Arguably there are plenty of good reasons why we need to watch what we do with our arms and hands; litigation being the most notable of them.  I contend, however, that there are just as many important reasons to share compassionate hugs with family, friends and acquaintances.

Let’s assume that an average good hug lasts for about 3 to 4 seconds. So for less than a minute a day we have an enjoyable way that we can improve our health by boosting our immune systems and lowering our blood pressure.

Hugs create trust and teach us how to give and receive, building harmony in relationships.  They help us let go and be in the present moment.   They relieve stress, anxiety and fears.  They make us feel safe and give us hope. Hugs feel good – hugs make us happy.

And the supply of hugs within us is endless.  The more hugs we give, the more hugs we find that we have to give.

Isn’t it time we brought hugs back into our lives?

19 thoughts on “I Need a Hug … Please?

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  1. I have seen this trend and it saddens me.

    We are becoming so disconnected from simple human contact. And many of us, who had family and are now living alone, become depressed and have no idea why.

    I believe it’s because we lack simple human contact and are more and more ‘hug deprived’ or even just ‘touch deprived.

    The little ‘I need a hug today’ photos and flyers that abound on facebook and other social media pages with soulful, sad-eyed bears, puppies and kittens are our plea for some kind of physical contact but we don’t even recognize why we pass them around. Instead we text and email without even the occasional real voice to break the silence and clicking of the keyboards.

    We can cover so much more ground by texting and emailing because we ‘fit it into our schedule’ and can multi-task to dozens at the same time. This is the new communication age.

    I miss hearing a voice, touching a hand, looking into someone’s eyes, sharing a hug.

    So, here I sit, responding to a blog posted by someone I have never met and will never speak to, but who brought to my attention the fact that I’m sitting here alone listening to the soft click of the keyboard and, although I am communicating, there is a vast space between me and the others who read this – if anyone ever does.

    I would like to feel hugged.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I wrote the blog, I had more answers than questions. I loved how you summarized our age of communication: “We can cover so much more ground by texting and emailing because we ‘fit it into our schedule’ and can multi-task to dozens at the same time.” But we’re really not communicating, are we? Your comment spoke volumes. I for one read it and appreciated it. Sorry I can’t do this in person, but here’s a huge *HUG* for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, I thought your post captured this message in Ann Hood’s quote beautifully: “I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.” Thanks for your kind words. *Hugs* and have a happy hugging day today.

      Liked by 1 person

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