Daily Prompt: The Power of Touch As usual perverting the topic so I can discuss how this relates to #EmotionalIntelligence. My topic:Hugs.
Emotional fitness thoughts
I am a hugger. Once upon a time, I assumed everyone wanted a hug. Most of us do. All I have to do around my youngest grandson is say “I need a hug” and he barrels into me with a happy face. Once upon other times, all my grandchildren responded similarly. Then things changed. At first the reluctance to my wanting a hug was usually part of the era I call “My way or the highway” aka “The Terrible Twos.”
Sensitive soul that I can sometimes be,, I not only stopped demanding hugs or kisses but I made a contract with each of my grandchildren. That contract? I would always ask and they could always say “No.” And did they exercise their right to say “No.”
Confession: I so missed the hugs and kisses that I amended the contract to give myself the right to “Air kiss” or “Top of the head kiss.” That usually became a giggly game and satisfied my need for bodily contact.
Teens and pre-teens are touchy about hugs. Hugs are too likely to stir sexual feelings or thoughts. Being attuned to body language is key. I had hugging uncles and when I started feeling uncomfortable when they wanted to hug, I turned my body, so they only got a sideways hug. Most got the hint.
Then there was the ongoing quarrel with one of my bosses. He objected to any physical contact with clients. That is a therapy mantra. But mantras should only be suggestions not Eleventh Commandments.
Think for a minute. How would you feel if you offered a hug to someone and the person turned away? Rejected? Of course? So my rule as a therapist? A client wants a hug, a client gets a hug.
Okay, all rules have exceptions: The exception to my rule as a therapist about hugs? Not if the person seemed to be using a hug for sexual kicks. That became something to discuss. In everyday life, the same should hold true unless you and the hugger are sexual partners.
EMOTional Fitness TipS
Tip one: Never force a hug on another.
Tip two: You use “Hug?” to ask for a hug or if another wants a hug.
Tip three: Communication is response; so when you ask “Hug?” watch the other person’s body language. People, particularly children will say “Yes” but their body’s will say “No.”
What to do when the other person’s body is saying “No.” Use your judgement. Best to comment, “Your body is saying ‘No’ so I’ll pass.” At times, I have given the hug, because the person was opening their arms. Then I would say, “That felt like you didn’t really want one, I can accept that. Just say ‘No’ if I ask again. I will try to wait until you ask if I want one, but I might forget.”
Tip four: Parents should never force children to hug or kiss even the closest of relatives. The best way to teach good touch and bad touch is to let the kids decide and to give full permission to say “No”. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the sort might get their feelings hurt, but a child learning to own their body starts young.
Humans need bodily contact; but it must be respectful contact. Don’t be afraid to offer hugs. Other ways to offer safe contact? Cuddles. My grandsons didn’t want hugs, but they often wanted to cuddle on my lap. My husband is not a hugger, but we cuddle each night. Back rubs are another way of providing the touch we all need. The trick is always to ask and then to check the answer with the other person’s body language.
Meanwhile smile as often as you can, laugh and play, and be grateful for all you have been given.
As always, share and care what you find helps you get and stay emotionally strong. I hope if you find my posts of value, you will practice internet kindness liking, rating, commenting, or sharing.
Thank you for all you do and as always work to stay strong, not always easy, but worth while.
Links and articles of interest
- Good Touch Bad Touch
- I Said No
- The Daily Prompt
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
- Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (emotionalfitnesstraining.com)
- The EFTI Store (eftistore.