Happy World Hug Day

Friend group hug
Image: iStock

 

On a warm and fuzzy note: today is World Hug Day. It’s on the 21st of January each year.

Awwww. Can you feel the love?

Actually, it’s National Hugging Day and is formally celebrated in the US (damn!). However, it is also celebrated at some point around the world. Some celebrate it the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. National Hug Day originated in 1986. The founder of the day was Reverend Kevin Zaborney. He thought of a national hugging day when he realised people often felt down between Christmas/ New Year holiday period and Valentine’s Day.

I think it’s such a lovely idea. I’m a big hugger. I believe in the mental health benefits of hugging. Studies have shown that physical affection can determines a baby’s neurological development, which can determine a person’s state for the rest of their lives. The longing for physical touch is also evident for most people throughout their lives and can have great impacts on well – being.

 

The origin of “National/ World Hugging Day exposes a real weakness in humanity. Too often, we neglect human connection. To be honest, this generation (including  my generation), unfortunately try and use social media and technology as a substitute to real human interaction. Yet, while social media is great in keeping in contact with people, it can’t compete. People need real physical interactions.

“But I’m not a hugger”

Not everyone is comfortable with hugging and certain people will ask not to be hugged. These requests should be respected. I believe in body autonomy and after what has been exposed recently, I think it’s more important now than ever to respect personal boundaries.

Asking for hugs, gender and relationships

Having said that, asking for a physical touch shouldn’t be frowned upon either. In platonic relationships, it shouldn’t matter the gender/s of the participants. I love hugs from people regardless of gender. If everyone is comfortable with it, it shouldn’t matter. Hugs between men and women,women and women or men and men should be allowed and encouraged (when mutual).

Of course, hugs and caresses may lead to something else, but it shouldn’t be mandatory in romantic relationships. Sometimes a hug should be enough… at least that’s what I think. Many relationship experts insist that some form of physical intimacy is needed for a relationship to survive and thrive. In my opinion, physical affection in friendships (i.e. hugging), is also really important. It can create trust and further cement the relationship. It creates security and communicates full acceptance. I think hugs are great and needed during times of tragedy, loss or when someone is upset. To allow yourself to be vulnerable, and being allowed to be vulnerable shows the strength of a friendship.

Friends hugging
Image: iStock

 

 

So, happy “World Hugging Day” or for those in the US “National Hugging Day!”. I hope you all have someone that you can hug today and any day. Give your mum, dad, brother sister, other family member or friend a hug for me.

What have you been doing this National/ World Hugging Day? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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The vote was a victory, but it doesn’t mean wounds are healed

D5ED582A-D349-49C2-8E65-BA6091F0DB33
Images: iStock

To be honest, I hope this is the last time I write about this. The announcement that 61.6% of people who participated in the Marriage Postal Survey said ‘Yes’ include same – sex couples in the Marriage Act.

the result was better than what I thought it might have been. I was fearing it’d been much closer to 50/50, or, frankly, a slight loss for the ‘Yes’ vote.

Some say that this was a ‘a vote of love’ toward the Australian LGBTQ+ community. I believe there is an element of truth to that, to be honest. This vote did prove that many people are willing to see LGBTQ+ people as equal and worthy of love as heterosexual people. I hope that this does signal a future where LGBTQ+ people don’t have to have any fear about coming out, or being seen with their partner/ spouse out in public.

However, and this is a big however, it DOES NOT mean that it was a painless process or that all wounds have been healed. As I wrote in the past, a number of counselling services across the country had seen a spike in the number of calls by LGBTQ+ people who were distressed during the vote. For some, it brought back bad memories and insecurities. The result announced on Wednesday may have relieved some of that, but for other LGBTQ+ people, healing will take a lot longer.

The fact that over seven million voted ‘yes’ may do little to help LGBTQ+ people who have felt betrayed by family members who voted ‘no’ and/ or don’t accept for who thwy are. The process may have poured salt into those wounds that, frankly, may never heal.

I think the debate around around ‘religious exemptions’ and ‘conscientious objections’ have been another hurdle that may also trigger negative memories and feelings from members of the LGBTQ+ community because the validity and value of LGBTQ+ people has been up for  debate. Again. To many, they still don’t feel equal. What LGBTQ+ rights will clash with conservatives and lose out? Exemptions for religious leaders and celebrants were always goibg to happen, and are fine. Extensions to florists, bakers, etc, however concern me (although James Patterson’s Bill has been dropped and Patterson is willing to debate and work to ammend the Dean Smith Bill. Let’s hope the Bill doesn’t end up opening Pandora’s box and allow other discrimination; against children with LGBTQ+ parents, for instance.

 

The last few days have brought a lot of people joy. Many may have found solace in the huge ‘yes’ response and that may have been enough to heal any hurt, fears and doubts. But it’s also true that, for a number of LGBTQ+ people, familial and friend rejection and the pain it’s caused will override the ‘national cuddle’. Because if you don’t feel accepted by the people you love the most, over seven million ‘hugs’ from strangers will seem hollow.

How did you find the Australian Marriage postal survey and the debate?

 

 

 

We need to stop demonising men

Former UK football star, David Beckham was slammed after he shared a picture of him kissing his daughter, Harper on the lips. Each to their own when it comes to affection. I’m more of a hugger myself. But this outrage over this non – sexual (can’t believe I had to write that) act of affection doesn’t do anyone justice.

This isn’t the first time a father has come under attack and their relationship with their daughters has been scrutinised. Last year, Arizona – based photographer, Heather Whitten was at risk of being charged with neglect when a photo she took in 2014 went viral. It was of a father nursing his sick daughter in the shower.

There is no doubt that child abuse is a scourge on society that needs to be eradicated. Demonising parents falsely — especially fathers — doesn’t help anyone.

Father with newborn baby
Image: iStock

 

Yes, there are men that do terrible things to both their partners and children. Same can be said for women, too. But to hit the roof and demonise men that aren’t abusive doesn’t help anyone and is proven to be detrimental. A lack of male teachers is a well – known problem.

Family law often leave fathers high and dry. While there is more awareness and pushes to change family law so this gender bias isn’t so strong, it still has a tragic effect. Fighting what is often a losing battle can take a toll on them and result in suicide.

Unforunately, the media plays a role in the demonisation of men. I’m not talking about fictional fathers like Homer Simpson. Earlier this year, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article from a woman who wouldn’t leave her daughter with a man. That included a male relative.

The majority  of men are good. A majority of husbands/ partners and fathers want to do the right thing by their loved ones, including children. Are they perfect? Of course not, but the majority don’t deserve this demonisation.

How do you think this mentality affects young boys? How can boys not feel horrible about who they are when their gender is constantly under fire. How can this not backfire — you tell someone how terrible they are long enough, they’re going to end up, not just believing it, but living it. How can a straight man be expected to commit to a woman? I think feminists are shooting themselves in the foot.

For the men who do their best to look after their loved ones, good on you. For those who want to commit to their partner/ spouse — *applause*. For the fathers who are committed to looking after children, regardless whether they’re with the mother or not, good on you and keep going! Step – fathers, same thing.

 

This post just got me thinking – in the U.S. it was Father’s Day not that long ago (was it last weekend?). Hope all the fathers in the U.S. had a good day.

 

What do you think about this? Do you think men are unfairly targeted, especially when it comes to children? Feel free to left your thoughts below.