Every Friday at work we have casual Friday, where we are allowed to wear pretty much anything that we’d like. Without fail I have worn my Can I Get A Hug shirt every Friday since I’ve gotten it. It is probably one of the greatest purchases I have ever made and I will most certainly buy/make more hug related shirts.
I have always been an avid fan of the hug. I am the kind of person that when I first meet you and you put your hand out to shake mine I will most likely say “I’m a hugger” and try to hug you instead. [Some people aren’t huggers and you can tell just by looking at them, but I might still hug them anyway.] There are dozens, if not hundreds, of articles that will discus the importance of a hug.
A lengthy hug will literally make your body release chemicals and endorphins that will raise you immune system, elevate mood, lower blood pressure. The list can go on and on. They say the hugging children from a young age is a benefit that helps them and their physical and mental health in the rest of their life. Physical contact is something that is necessary for human beings to have. The human species was not meant to be isolated and alone.
I started wearing my shirt with the intentions of getting a few hugs from my residents. I figured I knew which ones would be looking for a hug, and which residents wouldn’t. I just assumed that the ones who regularly hug me would just be more excited to hug me. I was only partially correct. I couldn’t believe how many residents would ask for hugs on Fridays. Residents who seldom speak to anyone would stop me and quietly ask for a hug. Big rugged veterans who don’t even shake hands with people would sheepishly approach me and ask for a hug. I gave them all willingly. One resident told me, “That’s the first time I’ve been hugged in years”. The thought of that absolutely stunned me.
Hugs are not a suggestion they are a requirement!
Even staff members would stop me and ask if I was really giving out hugs, and they would ask. I always reply with the same sentence “Always! I never run out of hugs.” and I have yet to run out of them either. You’d be amazed at how a hug can change a shitty day to a wonderful day. Since I’m giving out so many hugs, I’m also receiving just as many hugs. I have yet to have a bad Friday. Maybe its a coincidence or maybe being hugged like twenty times in the span of 8 hours is all we need to make it through our humdrum daily routine.
One of the physical therapists stopped me and told me that hugs are actually very necessary when she saw my shirt. I told her that she was preaching to the choir and that I was well aware at the importance of them. That was when she started hugging me every Friday as well.
Every single day, at least once, and for a lengthy amount of time, my boyfriend and I will hug. It is something that is incredibly important because if you hold a hug just long enough it almost hits a reset button in your mind. I once explained this fact to a coworker who didn’t understand how that was possible. I told her “let me hug you for 15 seconds.”
We started hugging, and she agreed that the hug felt nice. I was counting…I got to about 12 and she said “It feels nice…but I don’t feel a diff—ooh!! oh!!! oh my God I felt that!” Right around 15 seconds she felt a wave hit her whole body and she felt suddenly relaxed. She didn’t realize how much she had tensed up all over until she felt the relaxation hit her. She started hugging me regularly after that.
The fact that I’m fat simply adds to the allure of me as a hugger. I remember when I first started dating my boyfriend I was sitting in his dorm room. His room mate came back and looked really sad. He had had a falling out with his girlfriend at the time.
“Would you like a hug?” I offered.
“…I’m not really a hugger…” he replied, before he could finish the thought my boyfriend said
“He’s got the best hugs in the world…I promise it will help.”
He begrudgingly agreed, and as soon as I started hugging him I felt the difference in him as he went from apprehensive to comfortable. “Wow…that really was the best hug in the world.”
To which my boyfriend replied “Now do you understand why I like fat guys?”
It then became like a party trick, I’d be going to college parties with all these straight guys and his roommate would say “Have you hugged L yet? You gotta hug him, seriously.” I would end up going around the room hugging these guys. I’m sure there’s a stigma that it’s not manly to hug, but every single hug I have always ended with the word “Wow”.
Maybe I am the best hugger in the world, or maybe people just aren’t hugging enough. How often do you hug? It is a day changing experience to have a really good hug. It will change your outlook on the rest of the day. I don’t think I have ever denied anyone a hug, unless they are very sick and it’s contagious, or they are visibly very dirty to the point where it may pose a health concern. Hugs should be given by prescription.
I have seen absolute strangers crying in public and stopped to offer them a hug. You don’t have to tell me what’s going on, or your personal life, but if I can help relieve some of your pain with an embrace then I’m more than happy to take a few seconds of my day. There will always be a few people that do not want the hug, which is why I always ask first.
Respect first. Hugs second.
Nine times out of ten though everyone will take a hug.
Your homework for today’s post: Give out three hugs.
1.) Give a hug that’s longer than your usual hugs, if you can count to 10, or 15, or if you can 20!
2.) Give a hug to someone you don’t usually hug.
3.) Give a hug to someone who looks like they need it.