Categories
Culture Events

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!

 

 

Categories
Media Opinion/Commentary

The death of Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett should be a wake up call. Words hurt

Cyber - bullying victim distressed
Image: iStock

 

Content warning; bullying, depression and suicide

People were understandably shocked and upset to hear the passing of 14 – year – old Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, the face of hat manufacturer Akubra. She took her own life after receiving abuse online.

This has sparked calls for Apple and Google Play to ban apps, like Saraha that allow users to make anonymous comments and posts.

While I sympathise with the campaignersa, I don’t think these calls for a ban get to the heart of the problem.

 

Here’s what people need to get: the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’ is a myth. I’ll go one step further. It’s total bull.

 

Words can kill. I thought we got this through our heads after the death of former model, Charlotte Dawson in 2014. Apparently not.

 

So, how can we stop this repeating? Maybe we can’t stop it completely. But what we can do is get honest, with ourselves and each other. We need to teach children and young adults that what they say matters. It has an impact and if they choose to bully someone, they will destroy both their lives and that of their victims.

People die due to bullying. That’s the reality. And there’s more. Last year, HealthDayNews reported  on a study that suggested that half of teens admitted into emergency were victims of violence or cyber – bullying. Nearly a quarter (23%) showed symptoms of post – traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings were published in journal General Hospital Psychiatry. 

 

Verbal or cyber bullying can and does have other affects, many arguably not so extreme. You’re ability to trust can be severely damaged. For me, it took me a long time to be able to trust people again.

 

Bullying also erodes your self – esteem. My self – esteem has hit rock bottom before. While it’s better now, I wouldn’t say it’s high. I’ve questioned my self – worth and to this day, sometimes feel like I’m not enough.

I wrote what I did above not to gain sympathy. I wanted to be honest about my own experiences and to demonstrate that often, the effects of bullying can last for years.

Fortunately, I’ve never been the victim of cyber – bullying. The rise of the Internet, especially various social media sites and apps, has made combating bullying complicated. This generation of children can’t escape bullying when they get home from school. Another complication is anonymity. They don’t have to see the impact of what their words have.

As I said near the start of this post, I don’t think banning certain apps like Saraha will work, nor is it necessary. Whether people like it or not, social media is the way most people, especially of this generation, communicate and a way they can get information and current events. The world needs to learn how to cope with social media, not avoid it. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” needs to be exposed for the myth that it is and discarded. Words do hurt and cyber – bullying needs to be condemned. Period.

 

 

Categories
Life

Love, love, love

Cosmopolitan (Australia) kicks off 2018 by celebrating love in all it’s forms in the wake of the same – sex marriage vote.

 

 

Last year was tense. My blogging last year was tense. So I thought I’d start 2018 on a light note. This is inspired by this month’s Cosmopolitan (Australia) issue.

Love.

Notebook with love heart
Image: Canva

Love can take many forms. At best, it’s reciprocated and combined with care, respect and kindness.

I’m glad that the Cosmopolian article went beyond the partnered/ romantic love. For many people, including those on the aromantic/ asexual spectrum, different types of love like familial and friendship take prominence.

Even people who are not romantic or asexual often have craving for different types of affection. In fact, it’s well known that in infants, the amount of affectionate touch  can determine further  (or lack of) neurological development throughout a child’s life.

 

Regardless of whether the love is familial, romantic or platonic, love is about caring about for the other person. It’s about respecting them as a human being and wanting the best for their well – being. It includes trying to understand the other person; their limits, their emotions, their wishes, etc. It’s about at least trying to keep their thoughts, feelings and desires into consideration, of course, without putting yourself or other people in any type of jeopardy.

The Beatles sang “money can’t me love”, which is ultimately true, but I think it’s nice to spend money on a loved one on special occasions, (birthdays, Christmases, Valentine’s Day, etc), or for no reason at all. Of course, if you’re crafty (which I’m not really), making something for someone will almost certainly be appreciated.

Love isn’t always about fun and games. It’s about being there for someone during good times and bad. You should be able to be yourself with the people you love. Love should, and even oblige, people to be honest, even if the truth is something that the other person doesn’t want to hear (not always easy.

I think the most important thing about love is that it’s unconditional. Love itself should not be a reward for preferred behaviour or other aspect of the person. Love should allow people to relax with each other and not have a care in the world. Whether it’s watching TV together, going out to dinner or even communicating on social media, love should allow each person to relax and not stress too much or fear judgement.

Love should build up, not tear down. Overall, I think people should feel better about themselves after talking to or being around someone they care about. When someone has low self – esteem or mental health issues, this isn’t always easy. Sometimes, people won’t believe you when you say that they are worthy, beautiful, etc (guilty). That doesn’t mean that we should automatically treat someone as lesser than because of it. Those people who dismiss it often are the ones that need to hear it the most.

 

Human love is complicated. It can be fraught with uncertainty. Sometimes love can hurt (we are human), but that pain should always be allowed to heal and should be prevented in the future.

That’s my take. What’s love mean to you?