I was intrigued enough when this word popped into my mind as a topic for this blog post, to look up its definition.
- hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection.
- accept (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.
The first definition is something many around the world are not allowed to do as much as they would like in our current world situation, or at least not with people outside their house bubble. The second is something that can be difficult to do, because we might feel like our own lived experience is being challenged, even if the end result of adopting this new way of thinking will lead to a better quality of life.
When I was in my teens, I used to be someone that didn’t enjoy or partake in the act of hugging family and friends often. I wonder if this negatively impacted my mental wellbeing, at least in a small way, and assisted depression taking hold throughout my twenties. There was no good reason I had for not wanting to hug others, except I didn’t feel I wanted to. Maybe I didn’t understand it was a well defined way of showing I care about someone and accepting that they care about me too?
Thankfully, through the kindness of family and friends, and some useful explanations of how hugs do benefit wellbeing, I have changed my thoughts on the matter. There have even been times I’ve felt low and the thing I find myself saying and feeling was, “I could really do with a hug.” Once that hug is found, I experience the benefit of this physical contact with another human. I feel better and feel more like myself again.
Change can be one of the hardest things to reconcile within ourselves. Having built up our world view as we have lived and experienced the world, then to have the expectation that this might completed turn on its head? Sometimes on a daily basis? This is a tough thing.
It is also one of the most rewarding experiences we will ever have in our lives. I went to university the first time because it was something that would help me get a job out in the world. It did, but due to the places I ended up working – not the people I worked with – and a neglect of what looking after myself would look like, the specific field did not work out for me. What it helped me learn was perseverance to work through difficulty, how to write for specific audiences and purposes, and how to look at a problem from different perspectives to find the best solution. What I needed to embrace was the process, not only the end goal I felt I was aiming for.
This is part of the reason I believe my second time around at university, studying a joint Bachelor of Arts with a Bachelor of Teaching, was more rewarding. I had the end goal of becoming a secondary school teacher, BUT, I also understood that what I was learning would help me in every area of my life. Communication skills, how to scaffold learning, how to listen, and remembering I will always be a learner even when I am labelled as the ‘teacher’ in any specific context. I embraced the process as well as what I was working towards.
We are all different, and the struggles we have experienced in our lives are very real. Something that will help in that life is zooming out, and remembering our struggles are one small part of a larger picture, within our own life, and within the world as a whole. Understanding each other can be difficult, but we should never stop trying. Build acceptance, and more than that, an attitude which encourages action to benefit the world and those living in it. Everyone.
Small steps may seem imperceptible when we take them, but put 100,000 together and you’ll be a long way from where you started.
Peace and hugs to you all.