Mum always used to tell me “everybody needs hugs.” Growing up hugs flowed in steadily, in a healthy and loving supply. I wasn’t a big instigator, which I now think was probably because my ‘daily hug quota’ was being met.

Not long ago, there was a guy at my workplace, who I was working alongside. He was substantially older than me, wore dirty socks and had just returned to work after doing some time on the inside. Mostly he had a pretty happy and upbeat disposition, only sometimes dampened by his short fuse and bad temper. I had no dramas with him personally, and one day he noticed I was a bit down and asked for a hug, and everyday after, he asked for another. Because he needed one, because he wanted one, or because he was just being cheeky – I don’t know. But there were no ulterior motives, ill intentions or anything like that. Everyday, it was just a big, friendly, genuine hug.

Some of the looks I was given from other workers were pretty quizzical and disapproving. Someone asked me one day why I don’t just say ‘no.’ I threw the old “everyone needs hugs” line out there, even him. And that’s exactly what I thought I was doing, giving him hugs because he needed them…then it hit me. I needed those hugs. Maybe he did too, maybe he just knew I did, but either way those hugs actually made my day. I realised, they were nearly the only hugs I got all week.

When we grow up and move out, most of us don’t hug as much anymore. When you’re in a relationship it’s a bit different, but being single out in the big wide world, if we are reciprocators and not instigators, our hug count drops drastically. Let’s face it, most of us don’t hug our housemates or co-workers every time we leave them and see them again. Some of us only see parents and family once a week or less. Even then sometimes, we are so busy or rushed we don’t give and receive big, heart felt, warm, genuine hugs.

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
Virginia Satir

…that’s a lot of hugs. But come on, I know it, you know it, we all, know it; hugs make life more bearable, happier, safer, brighter. So get proactive, take the time to stop, and give out big, warm bear hugs. Hug your best mate, your partner, your co-worker, your housemate, your grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, children. Heck even hug your cats and dogs! Be an instigator!



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