It's happened to all of us before. You're told to give someone a hug despite not wanting to or being comfortable with it. You also don't want to say no because you don't want to come across as rude or hurt anyone's feelings. Well this year, I'm putting my foot down.
I think it's unfair to just expect people to hug someone. I understand that it's a nice gesture, but you shouldn't be forced to do it.
I'd like to be able to hug people on my own terms. I shouldn't feel like I owe anyone any type of physical affection.
I also think that giving people the option to hug or even asking people for a hug teaches them about physical boundaries and consent. This is very important. I teach it to the kids at the daycare I work out. If they want a hug from someone else I always remind them to ask first.
Not everyone wants to give a hug or be hugged sometimes, and that's OK. It's your body, your affection, your choice.
If I don't hug you but hug other people, I'm not trying to hurt your feelings. It just means I'm not quite as comfortable hugging you as I am someone else. If I don't hug anyone, once again, I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, I just don't wish to be hugged.
There are other ways to show affection. I always remember my manners, I will smile, I will acknowledge you. I don't think I should have to physically touch you to show that I care. If my friend's kids don't want to hug me I don't take offense. I don't think they love me any less. Instead, I just tell them that I love them and say goodbye.
Physical affection is not the only sign of love.
So, this Holiday season, when hugging is more expected than ever, I will be picking and choosing who I am OK with hugging. It's nothing personal, it's not out of spite, it's taking care of me and keeping myself comfortable.