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The Importance of A Hug

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I never fully understood the importance of a hug until two days ago. For myself, I am not a big touchy feely person. It just makes me feel uncomfortable and even with family I’m not super big into hugs or what not. Why you ask? Well to be honest I’m not sure. There are a couple reasons that could have to do with my dislike of physical affection. One, is physical affection shows how you feel about someone and the closer you get to them the more they can hurt you by leaving. So maybe I just don’t like to give hugs because it keeps me safe and I won’t get hurt. Another possible scenario is it could just be plain awkward to get that close to someone. Yet, no matter what the reason is the fact still remains I do not like hugs. Of course that was until this last Saturday.

I am a former competitive gymnast who in August quit for a lot of reasons but one of them was to focus on my senior year of high school. It still is so sad for me to not be in the gym everyday because I loved it so much and I still do. Therefor, my former teammates were competing locally so I decided I wanted to go and support them plus see one of the girls who I became closest to on the team. She and I happened to get injured around May and so practices consisted of conditioning which is how we got to know each other so well.

Trust me, if you want to get to know someone, work out with them!

Anyway, I was nervous since I hadn’t seen her in months and didn’t know how she’d react to seeing me. High school is rough and teens can just be mean so having said that I am constantly in a battle with girls who I thought were my friends but only am until they get bored of me and leave. To be honest, it is tiring to keep inviting friends over to hang out or do stuff or just to talk and them not wanting to ever spend time with you. So that is why I was so nervous to see my friend, let’s call her Sarah. I didn’t know if Sarah would even want to see me or be excited. I didn’t just want a side hug, fake smile, “How are you?” I wanted a real authentic friend who wanted to spend time with me. So, after the competition on Saturday morning I didn’t think she had seen me so I went over to say hi. I will never forget the look on her face when she saw me. It was pure joy. She had the biggest smile on and gave me a hug that I’ll always remember. It wasn’t a quick, floopsy one. Rather, a long, full, “I missed you” hug. A hug can mean a thousand words. It can say I care about you or nice to see you or anything you want it to. It can be full of kindness or spite. She didn't try to force me into a hug, in fact it was the first time I dropped my guard and actually went in for that real hug. I never understood how much I needed that hug until Sarah gave it to me. She showed me that no matter how far apart you are true friends always stay friends and one small act of physical touch can open one’s eyes to the powerful emotional of feeling loved.

So why is a hug so important? And I don’t just mean any hug, I mean a real one. One where you feel like this person cares about you, they truly want to be your friend instead of just move on from one to the other when it best suits them. No, those hugs aren’t the ones I’m talking about. I never fully understood till now so if you haven’t had someone hug you in a way where you feel like this person truly cares about you, don’t worry it will happen. When you are hugged in this way I am describing you will know. You will know you have finally found a friend who gets you, who wants to talk to you, and who doesn’t take you for granted. And even if someone is being hard to love give them a hug because you never know how much someone truly needs it.

"If you're angry at a loved one, hug that person. And mean it. You may not want to hug - which is all the more reason to do so. It's hard to stay angry when someone shows they love you, and that's precisely what happens when we hug each other."

---- Walter Anderson

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