Leo Buscaglia worked actively to overcome social and mental barriers that inhibited the expression of love between people, from family to acquaintances to people with disabilities, the institutionalized, and elderly, to complete strangers, often making his own forwardness on the subject a topic of self-deprecating humor. The profundity of his subject, however, almost invariably struck a responsive chord for many in an area frequently regarded as deficient in their lives, and by 1998 his books had reached eighteen million copies in print in seventeen languages.
The notion of hugging was alien to me for much of my life. A little over 25 years ago, it was suggested to me that I needed to get hugs. I scoffed at the notion that I needed anything. I could take care of myself. The idea that I could engage myself to allow another person to hold me and reassure me was ridiculous. Why would I need that from you?
As I engaged my own development as a man, I kept finding gaps in my emotional relationships where intimacy and honesty were concerned. I cannot tell you when, but one day I asked a friend for a hug and was incapable of being embraced. I was stunned by my inability to let another person be close to me. I was determined to conquer this emotional void and began to ask people in my life, man and woman, for a hug every day. When they asked me why, I was honest enough to tell them because I needed to be held.
I have since become a wonderful hugger and hugee. I know today how much I have to give and how open I am to receive. I know how great it is to receive the love of another person in a short and meaningful hug. As a result of my own experience, I now include hugging as an essential component of my work with clients as a Rabbi and Addictions Counselor, if they allow me to. I have learned for me that the warm embrace of a hug is greater in many cases than a thousand kisses. It tears down barriers and builds trust and intimacy inside me and with the person who has consented to hug me and be hugged by me.
My prayer for you today is that you ask for hugs on a daily basis and savor the warmth in your soul as your metabolism accelerates as you feel the love you are both giving and receiving.
Hugs and Blessings,
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