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.