I’ve accepted a “truth” for me in my life, which is I never stop changing. I hope I never do either, because I can’t think of anything less fun than being stagnant. Whether it’s work, ideas, life, friends, anything, I am embracing continual change.
I went through a huge chunk of life where nothing changed, and I often found myself telling people who asked how life was: “Same old, same old.” And I saw that lack of change as a good thing at the time.
Now I’m on the other side of that “same old” I think I’m super cool with change, and it is cool with me. One of the changes I’ve experienced is related to hugs. While I was married, I never hugged anyone but my husband. It actually felt odd when people wanted to be touchy or huggy, and I decided I was not a physically affectionate person, except to him.
Two and a half years out of marriage, being single, I am super secure with myself, who I am, and I’m seeing I’ve BECOME an affectionate individual. This has been a slow process, but a few key individuals have been an example of easy affection, and how harmless AND beneficial it is. Harmless meaning it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or have motive, and beneficial because it allows you to let people know you care about them.
I think I have to elaborate… In my job I supervise people younger than me. I’m continually telling/asking them what to do, and in my quest to be a supervisor who is respected, AND enjoyed, I’ve learned that people need to know you care about them and appreciate the work they do, especially when you keep asking them to do things. (It’s not that I’m bossy, the job requires lots of flexing.) So, a hand on arm or shoulder either in passing or in conversation is an extra way to convey I see them as important, I respect the work they do, and I genuinely care about them. This also means that they know where I’m coming from and if at any time they need to express themselves through touch or a hug, they know I will be receptive.
Key here is hearing that the majority of the people I work with are young. Young people aren’t so threatened by touch, they aren’t so shut off to affection, and for some reason they “hear” touch the way it’s meant to be heard. As we get older, it becomes stranger, less comfortable, and as I said earlier “odd”.
One of my biggest teachers in this physical affection lesson I have written about before in Energy Givers. I talked about her energy in that post, but not the sweet way she touches your back when she walks past, just to say, “I’m walking behind you, and I care”. It’s the most simple and beautiful thing the way she does it, and there couldn’t be a person in the world who could find her way of doing this “odd”. I sometimes feel like my mind stands open mouthed when I learn lessons from young people, and truly, her physical-ness has made her one of the most influential people in my lesson on affection. Since I mention her, and I started with hugs, I have to say she is one of the best huggers I’ve ever met. She should give classes. Her hugs are free from expectation and all you feel when she hugs you is that she is genuine. I have hugged her when she was happily just married, and when she was struggling on the anniversary of the death of her two sisters, and all I ever feel from her is her genuineness. Her affection has no motive, it is part of her in a way that I think most people don’t have. I didn’t have it, I’m still trying to learn it, and for some reason, she makes me more aware of hugs being as unique as individuals.
The funny lesson I’ve learned in all this, is the best huggers always have been.