Some individuals find it very difficult, if not foreign to give a hug making it awkward when receiving a hug. Yet, others appreciate the gentle embrace be it friend, family, stranger or foe. Known as a universal form of physical intimacy, shared among many there are different types of hugs, several reasons for or meaning behind the hug even the degree of its intensity. Hugging is seen as caring however, others are not so physically or readily inclined to hugging due to upbringing, our culture or even society having an impact on the way one demonstrates affection or not. Two of my long time friends are reluctant to hugging due their upbringing. For years they found the gesture very awkward to receive, let alone initiate a hug. It is a joy to see, in time, both have come to appreciate the embrace and meaning behind such a connection despite the history of hugging as a negative.
From the hundreds of hugs I have received or given to those willing and comfortable with the gesture, to those timid to the embrace and even those who don’t like to be touched -- I observed, no matter the experience -- one’s behavior despite their feelings about hugs to always been civil and respected between the one giving and the recipient. Never is there any animosity even when the exchange is with a stranger or foe. Then one day as my arms made the embrace my hello and verbal expression of sympathy is interrupted. Not by the familiar embrace I have become accustomed to over the years from this particular individual, instead, I am gently pushed away with disgruntled energy, no comment and given one heck of a scowl. I quietly backed off returning to the company in which we were surrounded - the years of loathing has yet to lift from the aged soul. For the first time ever, in 58 years, one of my hugs is flat out rejected.
Much to my dismay I was startled and my feathers were ruffled. I tried not to be nettled by the rejection, yet again. Although I did not expect much chatter or a big bear hug in return, however, always holding on to hope, I did for the sake of the circumstances when death nears expect a cordial exchange while being respectful to the situation and to each other as we both were being touched by the same sadness and sorrow.
At the precise moment of rejection I was ready to confront though my respect and empathy for the circumstance curtailed what could have been a very emotional response. Had this anti-hug occurred in private I would, most likely let my emotive reaction loose ...but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. Galatians 5:22-23.
At some point we find ourselves in a situation where people unfairly attack us physically or orally due to their wrong perceptions about others or situations. To one degree or another they generally react with fear that causes turbulence leading to cruelty and in some cases festering animosity to one or others for years. I look not at eliminating this type from my life. Instead, I respond to the injustices by casting a heedful eye while expressing the wrong perceptions about me. I wash away the discomfort and the sting of unjust acts or the exercise of one's retribution by clobbering it with benevolence despite the continual sting being a bit taunting. Be it a rejected hug or any one snag the better solution is turning to wisdom and apply the heart to understanding.
Understanding starts with acceptance. To acknowledge and accept what we feel without criticism and blame and not be disappointed or angry that people do what they do. To accept that forgiveness, civility and moving onward is incomprehensible for some no matter the effort or extent for resolution. Despite the disappointment that lingers from an obstacle nearing 15 years, to foster a sound soul in a sound body, to retain optimal well-being I know my optimism, even with a rejected hug, must remain high. Undaunted by the episode I will continue to be the giver and hopefully, receiver of many hugs in my lifetime - rejected or not - the desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.
© 2013 Debra S. Walling
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