where have you left traces of yourself?

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As you move through the world you will have touched people. Some you will know. Family. Friends. Colleagues. Loved ones.

These people will recall you. They will feel connected. Your life and theirs inextricably linked through a bond. Maybe the bond is tangible, physical. Maybe it is emotional. Maybe it is transparent, maybe it is just there in the system, felt in the ether.

Others you have touched, you may not even realise it to be so.

In the midst of your own hectic, muddled life, you may have inadvertently dropped little traces of you on your journey. Like a dusting of you, cascading in your wake. Equally you may have deliberately acted, not seeking gain, not cognisant perhaps of the lasting impact or significant consequences that result for that person, or those close to them. You may have done this through…

An impromptu smile
A comforting word
A timely glance
A small act of kindness
Listening when someone needed to be heard
Witnessing someone’s truth
A small but critical thank you
A heartfelt hug
A positive thought

With fairy-like footprints, we invisibly stand in people’s lives, often unaware of those we have touched.

But they remember. They know. They thank you.

 

how much is a hug worth?

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I read this morning about a Chinese mother selling hugs in an attempt to raise money and awareness to save her four year old daughter, who has leukaemia.

She is selling them for around £1.  It made me wonder what a hug is worth?

A hug at certain times in our lives can mean much. It says hello, it says I’m pleased to see you. It is an expression of intimacy. It says I love you. It also says I’m there for you. It says I acknowledge your existence, I see you and you’re ok. It transmits understanding and empathy. It says don’t worry. It says you’re safe. It says I understand. And much much more. Physical connection, touch, makes us feel good, emotionally, physiologically and psychologically.

Research has shown hugging has an impact on our health, reducing levels of stress and anxiety, reducing heart rates, cortisol levels, blood pressure. It has also been shown to increase levels of Oxytocin, referred to in some circles as the bonding hormone, raising levels of trust and feelings of security.

Of course, reassurance and affection of this kind, through touch, can also come through holding hands, fingers gently entwining. It can come through a stroke of the arm or face. Even meeting eyes, or exchanging a smile can have similar impact. The hug though, seems to be the ultimate. Its level of connection more total, more of us physically in contact with more of someone else, our bodily cores aligned, as one. It pulls our hearts closer together, so that each feels the other beat. It holds our very being, in that moment. It contains our energy, our life source, which, in that moment before, seems in danger of leaking away.

Maybe you can think of a time when you gave someone that gift?

Maybe you can think of a time when that was what you needed. All you needed.

At that moment, what was that hug worth?

I would suggest, priceless.