I like touching people. It doesn’t have to be much – just a touch on the arm or hand, a pat on the knee, or better yet, a hug. Most of us have heard of the health benefits of touching and how beneficial it is for the giver and the receiver – strengthening of the immune system, positive mood stimulation, reassurance, and comfort. It is said that humans needs four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day for growth. How many of us actually get that?
Well, I try. As my friends can attest, I hug just about everyone. It takes me awhile to get through a room full of people I know, because giving a heart-felt embrace takes time. I’ll even take a chance on people I meet for the first time. They’re surprised for a second, but most of the time they open up and give as good as they get.
Aside from the benefits, I hug because it feels good. I hug because I can. For me, it’s a way of exchanging energy. It grounds me and connects me to others. I have a lot of energy and touching and hugging is a way to disperse it, keeping the flow going. Without it, the qi can back up and turn rancid.
Like the moon and tides, I go through cycles where my energy runs high and I have more than enough energy to share, but then almost from one moment to the next, I’ll fall and I’ll fall hard. It’s during those times when I’m drained, that hugs from others are life savers, helping me to fill up the stores again. Very similar to long distance runners, with nothing to replenish the energy I put out, I bonk.
For the most part, I find people are receptive to hugging, but not everyone feels the same as I do. Some people don’t like to be touched at all. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve hugged my mother. She was one of those who just did not like to be touched. That trait was apparently passed down to my oldest brother. On the rare occasions that we see each other, I’ll instigate a hug, but as close as I try to stand to him, he makes damn sure there is plenty of space between us and all I can feel is a light tap of his fingertips on my back. Kind of like air kisses. Completely pointless and far from satisfying.
My son is sort of like that. He’s generous with hugs, but when I try to touch his leg, knee, or arm, he’s quick to get out of reach.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him one day after trying to get his attention by tapping on his knee.
“I just don’t like being touched,” was his reply.
“Why?” I reached for his knee again and he pulled away. “What is it about being touched that bothers you?”
He thought for a moment and shrugged. “It’s kind of like the backward kneecaps on a flamingo. That’s just the way it is.”
*Blank stare* Yeah. Thanks, buddy. You really cleared that up for me.
But, to each their own, and I totally respect other people’s spaces, but it’s all I can do to not give people like that a drive-by hug.
So what about you? Are you the touchy-feely sort? Do you make it a point to hug or is your personal space yours and yours alone? Everyone is different and that’s why I’d love to hear from you!