Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Love & Affection

Most people who know me well know that I am not a touchy feely person.  I'm not mushy and gushy.  I am not a hugger. 

There are few things I am less comfortable with than talking about my feelings.  I keep them to myself whenever possible.

I tell my kids I love them.  I hug and kiss on them, sure.  But other people?  Not so much.

I have lived most of my life being just fine that way.  Far more likely to show people my love with teasing and sarcasm, I was.  Fortunately, most of the people I know were okay with that.  I never had anyone force me to open up more than I was comfortable with.  Which was perfectly okay with me.

Until recently. 

I met a few people who crossed boundaries all the time.  Who hugged me, like, on purpose.  All the time.  They hugged to share joy, to comfort, to celebrate, to support.  Huggers. 

Hug. Hug. Hug.

There are a couple of them who habitually touch people inappropriately.  You know who you are. ;)

A few of them were the type to say those three little words.  I love you.  And they said it.  To me, even. 

Comfortable with loving people.  Something I wasn't very good at.

Between this handful of people coming into my life and the events of the last few years, I have softened a bit.  I've learned that it is okay to hug people.  I've learned that comfort comes often in the form of touch.  And that sometimes you really need to hear the words that someone loves you, and say it to someone else.

Over the years, I became a hugger, even if it was a bit reluctantly.  I have actually found myself hugging people I'd never have imagined hugging a few years ago.  People I know only casually, the friend of the friend and so on.  I hug them all now.

I even, gasp, tell people I love them.  Even people other than my immediately family and husband.

I tell them because I love them.  I have always loved them.  I just didn't use the words all the much before, and I have learned to see the value in them every time they are spoken.

Maybe I am just mellowing in my old age.

I think we all need to know someone loves us.  And we all need someone to love. 

I'm lucky to have a lot of someones.

What about you all?  Have you become more or less likely to show love and affection as you have gotten older?  Why have you changed?

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