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Finding The Hugger in Me

Originally posted on Intent.com

I am not a hugger.

I probably just failed Spirituality 101 by making an “I am” statement that includes a negative, but the truth is, I’m not a big hugger. Even though it’s a negative, it’s a true negative, so there. I’ll hug my children and my close friends, but I am not one of those touchy-feely, hold your hand at a weekend seminar where we literally just met kinds of people. And don’t get me started on those weekend retreats where everyone sits on cushions and shares stories. Oh God, help me. Not sharing!

Really, do I have to sit here and listen to some person go on and on about how they feel about their husband leaving them (“Honey, he left…move on!” is all I can think of to say) and then hear them whine about how they just want to get their power back? I’ll tell you get your power back: you go out and bang the first 27-year-old hottie you can find…trust me, your ex-husband is! On and on these people go, talking about sh** I just don’t understand, like they left their body and were soaring like an eagle and saw the world as an apple and picked at the apple until it was nothing but a core, and they realized the apple was them and they were empty and filled with the seeds of love. WTF?

This is why I have always avoided these events like the plague. I have often been invited to these “Find your Inner Goddess” weekends or “Dream Your New Reality Night” at the local new age bookstore, and I would politely say no thank you. It all just seemed freaky to me; all this out-pouring of love and light. I’m good with you holding your own light and I’ll take care of mine, thank you very much. Yes, I know I made WHAT THE BLEEP and all, and these are supposed to be my people, but I never quite actually felt I fit in.

Probably because I am not a big hugger. And I don’t want to tell you my deepest darkest secrets about how shitty I feel about myself and how afraid I am and hurt I feel. So I didn’t. Instead, I took on the role of documenter of the transformation instead of participant. That was safe for me. I sort of liked watching, like a peeping tom at the awakening of humanity. I could set up cameras and watch, but join in on the circle of light? Nope, not me.

And then the shit hit the fan and my outwardly perfect, very safe looking, carefully crafted charade of a life took a big nose dive out of the sky. Clearly, I wasn’t channeling my inner eagle, and I realized that I was divorced and unhappy, alone in my un-huggable bubble. The truth was, I wanted to actually experience an authentic life which meant, well, I was gonna have to learn to hug and share. Because the truth is, transformation, awakening, or simply realizing happiness, isn’t something that rubs off on you by watching. You have to participate.

So I did.

I went to a Goddess Dream weekend in Mexico and had my mind blown. It wasn’t just about the hugging, although it turns out I’m pretty good at that. It was about me, showing up for myself, listening to what was in my soul and sharing it, not only with myself but with others. Then, finally feeling not alone, and actually feeling that love and light everyone talks about. But not in some fake, glazed over, blissed out because that’s what we think we’re supposed to be kind of way. It was real, authentic and it didn’t come from hiding how I felt and pretending everything was cool. It came from good old-fashioned honesty, hugging and sharing. Boy, did I share. I was the annoying one; I was the one crying about my past and my hurt. And suddenly, it was released. And I finally understood all that love and light.

So now, when someone approaches me to hug me, I practically leap into there arms. I am happy to admit I am a damn good hugger and if you’ve got something to share, I’m here to listen too, with all the love and light I can muster.

About Betsy Chasse

Betsy Chasse is a mom, author and Film Maker. Her films include "What The Bleep Do We Know?!" (Writer, Director, Producer", Song of the New Earth (Producer) and Pregnant In America (Producer) she has written 4 books most recently "TIPPING SACRED COWS - The Uplifting story of spilt milk and finding your own spiritual path in a hectic world"

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21 comments

  1. I love your ‘o so honest’ post! I have to say that I am a bit like this too, but I don’t really keep my feelings to myself. I usually make sure everyone knows how I feel and I don’t really care whether they like it or not. I used to be a hugger, but in recent years I have withdrawn. Most likely because I work from home now. However, I will make a note to visit you if I need a shoulder to cry on. Thanks for the offer!

    • I don’t really come from a hugging family, as a matter of fact I was ridiculed when I was a kid for being too friendly to strangers haha. And as I grew up, I definitely became more and more of an introvert. So yeah, I’m not a big hugger either. However, sometimes a gesture like a hug speaks a lot more than words, so I can make myself open up and let emotions go in some situations, if I feel comfortable enough.

  2. Wow! This really hit home for me! I tend to keep everything in side because I don’t want people to know anything is wrong or to judge me. However, I am starting to realize that by keeping everything in I am limiting myself and if I would just open up I would also find a lot of people who probably feel the same as me.

  3. I like your blog post because I am not really a hugger. I never felt comfortable with people hugging me and I used to fake it but now i just avoid it until absolutely necessary. I have met people who have strong hugs. It just really makes me uncomfortable.

    • It sometimes can be uncomfortable especially if the person is an acquaintance or stranger. However a hug from a friend or relative can be really reassuring. Do not be too uptight though, hugs are a good source of endorphins.

  4. I have found it difficult to let people in my personal space, it felt like a bit of a violation. I also found people a little distant. Reading has made me wonder how much of their distance is brought on by my own ”arms-length” approach? I wonder if finding my own inner hugger will attract warmer, more welcoming people into my life. Your post very interesting, it has prompted a little introspection on my part.

  5. I am definitely not a hugger. I have tried to change this aspect of my personality to be honest, specially because everyone else around doesn’t seem to have any problem. I just feel it is an encroachment in my private space!

    It makes up for a terrible consoling on my part though, which sucks because no matter how much I actually empathize, people ( especially those who aren’t close to me) just think I couldn’t care less about them!

    So far, no success. Hopefully one day I could open up too!

  6. Although I am a huge hugger, I have friends who are like this. They feel so weird and sometimes even disgusted when people share their feelings and hug it out afterwards and they avoid all the emotional and mushy talk as much as possible. After reading this post, I guess I finally understand them. I guess there’s something bottled up inside of them and if they let that go, I’m pretty sure they’ll understand more and be a hugger themselves. Awesome honest post!

  7. This post really struck a chord within me! I like to think of myself as a “social hugger”. Although I am not comfortable with the infringement of personal space that the act requires, I would hug only to keep up appearances. Yet, every time I am enclosed within closed arms, I feel uncomfortable and insecure. I hope someday I will be able to get over this too!

  8. I’ve always loved hugging! I’m so glad that you were able to warm up to the idea of hugging. For some, hugging is so far out of their comfort zone and it’s hard to branch out and feel okay hugging others that aren’t close to you. Hugging is a great way to feel safe and loved, never turn down a hug or half-heartedly give one! Hugging is the best. Just let go 🙂

  9. I’ve never been big on hugging and I am pretty much where you are in mentality when it comes to sharing. I keep my problems to myself. Funny thing is, I’m the one everyone runs to with their problems and I listen and give advice when the whole time in my head I’m screaming for them to get over their issues. I guess I should try out one of those conferences to see if it can help me to find a clearer path in life.

  10. I love your honest post and resonate so much with everything that you have written here. I was just telling a close friend of mine on Thursday that I am just not a hugger. She was trying to comfort me as I was completely overwhelmed and stressed about work and paying bills. She leaned in to try to hug me and I instantly felt myself flinch and move away from her. I know it hurt her feelings so I later went to her and explained that I have just never been big on hugs. That’s not really true, though, after reflecting about it later. I used to openly hug my family and friends when I was a little girl but somehow, over the years, have lost that ability. I can hug my children, my parents, and my husband. But I have so much trouble hugging others, even close friends. Maybe over the years after so much hurt and losing the ability to trust people, I have also lost my ability to touch people. I hope to be able to one day find this again, as you did.

  11. Your honesty is appreciated. We need more people who are willing to be transparent and open. The experiences we go through in life were never meant just for our own edification, but for others as well. I myself am not a hugger. I try to force myself because I’m a wife and a mother, and I refuse to bring in the way I was brought up to my household. It’s just not healthy. That’s one of the main reason I want to be a blogger because I want to share my experiences and begin to feel comfortable connecting with others. Vulnerability may feel awkward but usually the things that make us most uncomfortable are greatest for our growth and progression.

  12. I definitely am not a hugger. I feel sometimes hugs are given too openly. I have had to work hard at allowing myself to be hugged. For me, I was just not hugged a whole lot growing up. It always seemed very awkward. As I have grown, more and more people want to hug me and it has helped that I have learned to fake it.

    I love your openness and a lot of what you said rang true with me. I don’t trust many, hardly anyone to be honest. It’s nice to know I am not the only one.

  13. Gotta love the title for this entry… I am not a hugger either, except if I am talking about my kids, wife or parents, in that case yeah, I do it most of the times I see them, that in the case of y wife and kids it’s on a daily basis. We need to show affection, being in the form of a hug or in any other way. All in the right measure of course.

  14. It made me think of the hug in Mad Men during the final episode with Don Draper and the invisible husband. I really enjoyed your story and can say I used to be affectionate with all my friends and family. Somewhere along the way, maybe after I had my daughter I seemed to be insecure around people. I am still affectionate with my daughter and husband but it doesn’t feel as natural to touch other people. I used to lay with my friends bundled up on a bed or couch watching a movie with my feet propped up on whoever was closet. Now I sit up uncomfortable with sufficient space between each person. What happened?

  15. Oh yeah, I’m also not really a hugger. I adore hugging my mother and my boyfriend, but hugging friends and otherwise strangers is just too awkward for me. I can’t do it. I mean, of course I can but it makes me uncomfortable and it’s so awesome knowing there are other people out there that feel the same way. That doesn’t change how much I appreciate the people in my life, it’s just that I’m not really into body contact unless I’m 100% comfortable being around you.

  16. I’m a hugger when it comes to family, but not so much when it comes to everyone else. I like my personal space, and I’m not so keen on it being invaded. It just feels awkward. Just like when you’re talking to someone, and they insist on getting really close to you, and no matter how much you try to inch away, they keep closing the gap. Okay, hugs aren’t quite as bad as that. It’s still awkward though.

    As far as sharing, well that’s another story. It’s not so easy for me to share things. I’m super emotional, and I don’t like to cry in front of people. Just listening to others share can leave me bawling my eyes out.

  17. I love hugging my kids and wife, but that’s pretty much it, I don’t share that much intimacy with many more people. My older kid is already 9 and he is starting not to like hugs, but now and again I manage to get a few from him. 🙂

  18. Thank you for a refreshingly funny and honest opinion! I am a natural hugger and sometimes you can feel genuinely slighted when your attempt at showing affection is rejected, but it’s good to know that not everyone finds this a natural way of connecting with people, and that they probably have their reasons, and I’m so glad you blossomed into your new, huggable way of being!

  19. Well there are certainly times when I need to dig deep to find the hugger in me, but he is there. Anytime that you can have “good old fashioned honesty and hugging” you are probably in a good place, and it seems like you were really able to capture that particular moment. It does seem to be the case where once you get started and get a couple good ones under your belt, the more willing and ready you are to embrace the hug. Thank you for sharing.

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