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There’s the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. So then I’d have to take it further and say a hug is worth a thousand emotions. I truly believe there is nothing better in this world than a nice big hug. Not even chocolate! Now from me, that’s really saying something!!

I want you to think of the last big hug you had; who was it with? What was it for? How did you feel?

Hugs can mean so many different things. Whether it’s a child giving you the hug or your parent hugging you, a friend hugging you, a partner hugging you, a colleague, a grandparent, a sibling, a son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, friend’s child, pupil (if you’re a teacher), a flatmate… they all happen for different reasons, and mean different things.

Photo of two people hugging on free h...

There’s those hugs that are a little awkward – maybe from a boss, colleague, relative or friend you’re not very close to consolidating you. But you can tell even through the awkwardness if it’s genuine or not, if the giver truly feels empathy and sympathy. Or whether it’s just because they kind of feel they have to do something.

Then there’s hugs from a parent; unconditional love. I know not everyone’s relationship with their parents is fantastic, but when they hug you it’s still genuine. In my personal experience I feel loved, supported (even those times when I know they don’t know how to make me stop hurting and they feel at a loss as to what else to do), respected, that they are happy for me, that they trust me, that they will always be there for me, and one of my favourites – that they are proud of me.

Close friends hugs can mean similar things to that of a parent – they see and support you through all the rollercoaster ride ups and downs of life too. Sometimes even more so because they’re usually of a similar age and life situation, so they sometimes understand a little easier.

Hugs from a young child – now these hugs just warm your heart through and through. Children have such pure and simple emotions; to show you how much they love you, to get your attention, to forgive you if you’ve scolded them, that they trust you for keeping them safe, or just that there are happy right at that moment and are having a super fun time! Hugs from my niece or nephew (or both at the same time) simply swell my heart! (I just wish they didn’t live on the other side of the world…). I also recall my first Uni prac in a Prep class (4-5yr olds) last year – we had been told not to encourage the children hugging us (a sad sign of the times as it can be misconstrued as something less innocent) which is hard because they’re so affectionate at that age. But on the last day of our 4wk stint when we told the children it was our last day and wouldn’t be back next week, and they all rushed up and flung themselves at our legs. Well I simply could not resist hugging them back! What a special moment, one I will fondly remember forever.

Partner hugs, now these are exactly like close friend hugs, only with the extra element of romance! To share with you their support, their comfort, their friendship, their happiness, that they miss you, their respect and understanding, their encouragement, that they want to look after you, their depth of feelings for you…

Hugs are such a simple thing in life, yet so important. So many different feelings, thoughts and emotions can be conveyed and felt, all without saying a word. Sometimes hugs are given specifically to convey emotions which you might not be able, or ready, to say in actual words for whatever reasons. The message though, will come across loud and clear.

Go and hug someone 🙂