Personal Journeys with Gramma

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Anybody Need a Hug? Receiving Help with Grace


Strength is being able to handle single-handedly whatever comes along.  WHAT?  NO!  Actually, I would’ve agreed for many years of my life—the reason many years of my life were stained with bleak patches.  Now I know for certain that allowing yourself to be vulnerable and to reach out for help is evidence of sanity.  People are meant to lean on one another.  We’re tribe creatures.

Many people have survived a dark month.  As I write, death and disease blend into the divisive rhetoric of politics or ugly put-down humor until the world feels like a bad dream starring villains.  Debts (OMG, is it tax time AGAIN?) and stresses pile up.  A few feel so utterly defeated that they beg for hugs on Facebook—sometimes even threatening the readers:  “If you don’t send a hug, I’ll know you don’t care.”  That’s desperate, because if the only hugs you receive are in response to coercion, how sincere can they be?

Some families have a tradition of secrecy.  Don’t let anyone know if you’re experiencing trouble.  While I don’t advocate dumping your woes using expletives in Tweets, I do think each of us needs to find a confidante—at the very least one someone to listen and care—or maybe several confidantes.  Or we need to be that person for someone else.  I like talking face-to-face, because I like to see the other person’s eyes.  I want to know what kind of reaction the other is truly feeling.  Does it match what the person says?  Are you REALLY there for me?

When our family experienced the sudden early death of a pivotal family member recently, I was shameless about letting people lend me love and prayers.  I was even more shameless about seeking them out for the new widow and her children.  We needed and need every positive thought to help us find firm footing in an uncertain new reality.  Once we allow ourselves to receive, we are gifted with suggestions for paths through our dilemmas—often from people we had mistakenly assumed are too unlike us to be able to relate.  All well-intentioned people have much in common.  We need help discovering options we cannot see.

As we share our grief, we receive ripples from the grief of others who have lost or are in the process of losing loved ones or are struggling through painful diseases or traumas.  Once I exposed our situation, I soaked up love and light from Facebook friends, too, and friends distant in time or space.  We share the essence of our humanity.  With your heart ripped open, you know what to say to others who are suffering.  You know they don’t need empty platitudes.  They need real caring, honest support.  You don’t promise anything you aren’t ready to deliver.

People can be most noble when they’re in pain.  The greedy, egotistical, selfish ones expose themselves immediately, so you can see whose love is genuine.  Perhaps we’re most beautifully human when we reach out to hug one another.

5 comments on “Anybody Need a Hug? Receiving Help with Grace

  1. Frances Sullivan
    March 20, 2016

    So beautifully written. So good. Thanks for this. Oh, and hugs, too. 🙂 xx

    • Receiving is often more difficult than giving since it requires enough self-love for us to believe we’re worth the gift. It also requires us to remember that we’re part of the greater web of humanity and not a special branch. Thanks for your hugs, Frances. I’m sending some back to you!

      • Frances Sullivan
        March 22, 2016

        Thank you. I am trying to receive your hugs with open arms. 🙂 Funny your writing this – I am being reminded of it a lot these days. Feeling worthy of ‘it’. Easy to ask, hard to allow. xx

  2. Chelo Diaz-Ludden
    March 25, 2016

    Susan, know that when you accepted help and comfort from others you helped them feel good too. It’s a scientific fact, we’re made for love.

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