Give More, Get Better: Should Kindness Be One Of Your Five-A-Day?
Hazel Gale

EMBRACING THE PROBLEM: Can world peace be just hugs away?

Great article, Hazel. I have a friend who has been suicidal and told me, “I have no life.” I will share this with him. Also I totally am part of the hugging movement that’s happening today. I’m launching a Meetup group: Hug & Cuddle Group for Gay Men in Chicago. I also believe that a long, loving embrace can heal many problems in our world and can provide — a feeling of connection and caring, comfort during stress or a life crisis, old-fashioned joy. Not to mention oxytocin, the chemical in our brain that makes us feel loved and nurtured which is released 20 seconds into a good hug. Maybe embracing can even point the way toward addressing the gun violence epidemic. So many of the shooters feel unloved and overlooked. And the even bigger problem of one-on-one violence (I live in Chicago, remember) may also be helped. Murders caused by people unable to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner, domestic violence, road rage, gangs who seem to offer the only sense of family and validation to youth.

There was a co-worker at a previous job who I liked and respected. But sometimes we’d butt heads and I’d be scared by the intensity of his anger. We talked about it on various occasions but it still kept happening. I told him, “I like you but when you get so enraged, you scare me.” He is a straight married man and I am a gay man, by the way. At that point, he leaned over to embrace me. It became something we did to resolve tension. These were no perfunctory hugs. They were longish, meaningful ones. Brave hugs, especially in the workplace. He said I was one of the best huggers of all time. Hugging worked where words alone did not. Could world peace be just hugs away?

Here’s a thought: LET’S EMBRACE our problems. And see what happens.

NOTE: Dwight Okita is an award-winning novelist and poet. His books include CROSSING WITH THE LIGHT, THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL, The Hope Store, and Everytime We Say Goodbye.

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