When it’s safe, I hope we go back to touching and hugging.

Social distancing started a number of weeks ago. It started with no more handshakes, no hugs, and progressed. Now we don’t get together, we don’t gather. My social events are done behind a screen. My business meetings are done behind a screen. My walks are done alone.

As an introvert, you would think I would be happy. I’m not.

I am the owner of the company. I believe in the importance of building relationships. I promote the intentional building of relationships. Building of these relationships didn’t mean physical contact. It meant ensuring that people felt appreciated. They felt important. We can still do that today even with social distancing.

I’m not happy because I believe there is something beautiful about a hug. I believe there is something amazing about reaching out to someone and showing them with a smile, or a touch, that they matter.

My fear is that we will lose this. My fear is that we will be afraid to touch someone. My fear is that it will last long after we can gather again.

I just finished reading the book Becoming by Michelle Obama. I was finishing this book at the start of our isolation. What struck me was how much Michelle Obama connected with people through the physical connection.

In the book, she talks about interactions that felt natural, genuine even. “I found myself hugging people instinctively and getting hugged back.” She goes on to say that, “a hug, for me, is a way to melt away pretense and simply connect.” When you look through the pictures in the middle of the book you will be struck by how many picture there are of her hugging people or interacting with people in an intimate way. Gardening with kids or playing double Dutch. You could see she shared emotions with people through the power of a hug. She shared grief, she shared hope, she shared loved.

I found this passage: “Hugs are powerful… they can be the comfort you need at the end of a long, frustrating day. A display of complete happiness. The impetus to express your grief. They can communicate, “I have missed you” as easily as, “you will be missed.” They can mean the difference between feeling connected or isolated. Between hope and despair. Never underestimate the power of a hug or your ability to ground another person long enough for them to catch their breath, to see the possibilities they may have missed. Hug often. Hug well.” Author unknown.

As you read this passage, I am struck by how many of us are feeling unconnected and isolated at the moment. Perhaps these feelings are exaggerated simply because we are missing the hugs from people that are important to us. Perhaps healing will start for all of us when we can reach out to hug those we been unable to touch.

This is what I hope we don’t forget. I hope we don’t forget the power of a hug. I hope that when this is over and we can come together again, the first thing you do is hug. That you reach out to someone and let them know that they were missed, that we remind each other that we are not separate beings, we let people know that they matter.

This is my hope….

“Hugging is the most beautiful form of communication that allows the other person to know beyond a doubt that they matter”

Zen Buddhist