If you don’t know the power of a hug, then you are probably not having much success in your relationships.
To hug is to heal. To be hugged is to be healed. To not hug is to deprive.
I am not exaggerating when I say that hugs have the power to convert. A person having the worst day of their lives can be instantly restored to peace and contentment when they receive a hug from one who loves and cares for them. A miserable person can muster up a smile when they are hugged with love and sincerity.
People who do not get hugged often are at risk of becoming miserable people. A hugless existence is a deprived existence. The hugless come to fear the world and become defensive, suspicious, frightened people.
To be hugged is to know that everything is going to be okay. A great hug from one who loves you makes you feel as if all the cares of the world melt away.
What is it about a hug that gives it that much power?
Couples who argue need to learn how to recognize when a hug is in order. Many harmful fights could easily be nipped in the bud or avoided all together if one would have reached out and hugged the other.
A good hugger is an observant person. They recognize when a hug is needed. They can see past the outward antagonism and courageously approach the person. A hug can defuse the bomb that was trying to go off.
Hugging is proactive and heroic. It takes courage and humility to offer a hug, especially when it might not seem desired or if you don’t feel like it.
A good hugger loves to offer hugs even when they don’t seem to be needed. They know that everyone can use a hug. You don’t have to wait until there is a reason to hug.
Who doesn’t need a hug? We all do. If there were more hugging and less talking, people would be much more pleasant and balanced.
Hugs can be enough. They can still off passions from arousing in two people who are dating. Hugs are a strong sign of affection that an unmarried couple growing in love need and which can help prevent unchaste signs of affection meant for marriage. Hugs are enough because they make the other feel loved and make the growing bond stronger, all in a chaste way.
Hug for God’s sake. The embrace of Jesus Christ most present to us through another human being is the hug. When those are arms wrap around you and you are pressed close to the hugger with sincerity and caring, you experience the feeling of the love of God.
One of my favorite pictures of Jesus is the one where you see Jesus fully embracing the person with a major hug. Jesus’ eyes are closed and He is smiling big. He is clearly sincerely happy to be with that person. His hug is full of welcome and unconditional love. You just know that no matter what the person has done, Jesus loves the person. Period.
What a gift we all have to give to another, especially the people we love. It costs nothing to obtain nor to give, but what it accomplishes is priceless and greater than anything that could be bought and given.
What an opportunity we all have! Any person with a pair of arms and generosity in their hearts can give this tremendous gift to another person. No one can claim ignorance of not knowing what to do for someone in need. A hug can be given, and it is much.
Do we even realize how much a hug is worth to another? Ask anyone who is hugged what it is worth and they will tell you it means the world. Ask anyone who gives hugs and they will tell you it serves them just as much as it serves the one they hug. For a hug has an affect on both simultaneously.
There is no such thing as a one-dimensional hug. No one can hug with only the one being hugged benefiting. The hugger cannot help but be affected. At the very least, they are closer to God who transmits love through the hugger to the person hugged.
I grew up in a hugging environment. Italians are big on hugging, so I am a hugger and have no problem hugging a complete stranger. There is something about hugging that makes people feel immediately welcomed.
There are people who do not like to be touched at all, and therefore find being hugged uncomfortable or offensive. They are also very likely not huggers themselves. I don’t pass any judgment on them, but I do feel sad for those who dismiss hugging as something not too important in the scheme of relationships.
I can only challenge people to try it. Become a hugger and see what happens. This includes your dating experiences. Hug the people you date as you date them. You will find less of a need to act on sexual impulses. But you will also find that mutual hugging to be quite the method of growing in love for one another. You will grow to realize just how much you depend on those hugs to heal each other, thus learning one major aspect of how you can serve each other as Christ to one another.
You should also practice hugging when you have conflict. You will learn more and more how to address what is wrong not by battling things out in words, but by defusing the mounting negative emotions by hug communication.
It is so true that sometimes a person just needs to be hugged when they are upset, not battled or pressed on how to solve the problem or talked to in a patronizing way. Just hug them and without words show them that it will be okay.
If you are not a hugger, you need to become one. Hugging is a love requirement. You cannot survive marriage without giving and receiving hugs. Best to learn the art of hugging before you are a married person so you are ready for the great mission of healing, being Jesus Christ to your spouse via your loving and sincere embrace.
If you are already married, then it’s never too late. Just start hugging. And don’t worry about being hugged. Though you need hugs too, start by being a hugger. Chances are good your spouse will quickly start wanting to hug you.
Finally, no matter what relationships you have, don’t be afraid to ask for a hug from someone you need it from. It is highly unlikely that person will deny you your request. And the dividends paid by your courageous decision to ask for a hug are astronomical.
Everyone can use a hug. Just give it them. When in in doubt about what to do for a troubled person, give them a hug. Don’t be afraid to hug. It is one of most important medicinal forces we have this side of heaven that can fulfill the Lord’s command to “love one another as I have loved you.”
Anthony Buono is the founder of Avemariasingles.com. For thousands of Catholic singles, Anthony offers guidance, humor, understanding, and practical relationship advice. Visit his blog at 6stonejars.com.
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.