Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Power Of An Embrace

I've seen this video a while ago, but just tonight it inspired me to write a blog. I have seen many videos on YouTube featuring the "Free Hugs" campaign. I am proud to say that I fully endorse it. People sometimes neglect the power a hug can hold (pun intended.) Having worked in mental health for 4 1/2 years, I have come to see how important it is to experience the human touch. Some mental health "professionals" tend to view an embrace as a boundary issue. Personally, I have never seen it that way. In many cases, the people I have visited on the inpatient units of South Beach Psychiatric Center have nobody to hug them. I, for one, welcome the love. Some of the warmest hugs I have received have been from my former clientèle, and I know exactly why that is. Truth be told, a lot of people who are inpatients in state psychiatric facilities don't experience the compassion that people in their positions deserve. They are treated like absolute dirt. Therefore, since I initiated the kindness, they wanted to reciprocate in the best way they knew how. That's where the hug came into effect. To this day, I do not shy away from an opportunity to embrace a person in need of an embrace.

In another video I saw on YouTube, a cartoon man who looked like Kevin Smith traveled all over the world with his dog and started hugging people with anger and bitterness in their hearts. They would later surrender to the power of the hug and abandon whatever malice they had initially felt in their hearts. This was an interesting solution to world peace and a little far-fetched that we can end wars by hugging people. In a sense, I do believe it though. Some symbols of affection are not always universal. While this is unfortunate in some other countries, we can be thankful that the trend of hugging to show affection is a melting pot tradition here in the USA. Naturally, animals deserve affection as well. In the end of that video, the Kevin Smith lookalike shares a loving embrace with the dog. Call me a sap, but in the wake of all these animal abuse commercials by the ASPCA, that got me.

Perhaps the best illustration of the power of the embrace comes from comedian, Judah Friedlander. You may not recognize the name, but he starred in a Dave Matthews Band music video for the song, "Everyday." The purpose of his day: hug as many people as possible to make their lives that much better for the day. This was the predecessor to "Free Hugs."

As a spiritually minded person, I embrace this trend (again, pun intended.) The more love we give one another, the better we can make each other's lives. Suffice it to say, any man or woman who could use a hug can always come to me for support. Mine are tight enough to show I care, but not too tight that I will suffocate you. No doubt, the perfect balance.

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