Growing up, I was uncomfortable with hugging. It felt too personal and vulnerable. And I felt very pressured into awkward embraces with adults. As a young adult, that feeling carried over into my relationships with friends, coworkers, and family. Physical touch was jarring and weird which widened the gap between myself and everyone else. I am now a hugger. Here’s what changed:
- I have worked through my trauma and now allow myself to set boundaries. If I do not want to hug someone, but someone is closing in fast, I now say, “I’m not in the mood for a hug” while holding up my arm forming a kind of barrier in my mind. Giving myself permission to hug only when I wanted helped a lot. It’s my choice now.
- Covid. I saw a Tweet that said “I hope my friends are ready for a ten minute open mouth kiss when I see them again.” So there’s that.
- I learned how to push through the uncomfortable feeling to notice what else is going on during a hug. Energy exchange, motivation, comfort, intimacy outside of partnership all flow through a hug, I’ve discovered.
Now that I feel I have complete control and I’m able to set boundaries, I find so much joy out of embraces. I can’t wait to hug all of you!