EMOTIONAL FITNESS THOUGHTS ABOUT HUGS
The Transactional Analysts (TA) speak of Warm Fuzzies. The idea started with Claude Steiner, one of the greats of TA. He gave me a warm fuzzy at one of his workshops with a 30-second comment. No one knew he was speaking directly to me. He had noticed my painful expression because other people at the workshop were laughing at some stereotypical pictures of old folks trying to look young. Steiner had passed them around to make a point about the sadness of trying to be who you are not. At least I think that was the point he was making to others in the group. He sent a different message to me.
He looked me in the eye and said, “Some of us feel other people’s pain when those people feel no pain. ”
The people in the pictures were not being hurt by the laughter in the room. Steiner’s comment helped me moderate my mad, bad, and sad feelings a bit better.
I am still known for being too sensitive. I am better at moderating my sensitivity for as with all things sensitivity to other people’s pain – what the experts call empathy – can be overdone. Balance is everything. I try to not let my sensitivity get down on harmless jokes and at the same time speak out when I see damaging cruelty.
Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, has said “we need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs for maintenance. We need twelves hugs a day for growth.” And, research in a Korea orphanage demonstrated a significant boost in the health and growth of infant orphans who received an extra 15 minutes a day of physical touching.
Nevertheless, for the miracle of a hug to work, it must be wanted. Two stories:
When I was young and single and worker at a hospital, I walked into a corridor and there was an intern coming toward me. He opened his arms wide planning to hug me. I did like or dislike him, but I did not want to be hugged by him. I walked up to as if allowing the hug and then sidestepped around him and walked on, never looking back. I am sure he was not happy, but I was.
This is a sadder story. One of my sweetest foster children shivered, the first time I hugged her. She had been sexually abused; hugs hurt. I apologized immediately and never hugged her again. She did give me a goodbye kiss on the cheek when she left our care.
EMOTIONAL FITNESS TIPS
Tip one: Face to face hugs when wanted by both parties build physical and emotional strength.
Tip two: Be sensitive to those people not able to hug freely. Most were abused or neglected as children. A few are just super sensitive physically and hugs hurt. The bodies of both groups stiffen, as my foster child taught me, when hugged.
Tip three: Don’t make kids hug family members or friends. Remember, most abusers are family members or friends.
Tip four: Give lots of non-physical hugs. How? Sincere praise and compliments
Tip five: Even properly delivered criticism can feel like a hug. Steiner’s felt that way to me.
Tip six: It only takes a quick key press to send a social media like which is a virtual hug.
Thank you for all you do
Practice Kindness and share, comment or like this post. These are hugs to me. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, please do. You will help keep me strong.
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