Guys, I used to HATE hugs.
I mean, to the point that I would cringe so hard it was almost impossible to hug me. My whole body would recoil involuntarily. I’d been hurt so much that physical touch was painful and scary to me.
Sexual abuse as a child, followed by many other assaults growing up had taken their toll. Neglect, abandonment, and emotional abuse broke me. I didn’t feel safe and protected in my home, where most people learn safety, love, and boundaries. I learned that being polite trumped boundaries, which is why the assaults continued. I have always been a strong person in many ways and most often presented myself as such, so people around me misunderstood that I was able to protect myself. The truth is, I crumbled when I was in an uncomfortable situation. (Take note if you read the story about Aziz Ansari and thought the girl was to blame. There’s always more to the story than you know.)
Don’t misunderstand, I am no victim, but you can only navigate life based on what you’ve been shown until you learn better. We don’t magically know all the answers. We have to be curious enough to find them. When we face adversity, we must learn to acknowledge that it’s there because there is a lesson you NEED. Don’t look at your problem and say “this always happens to me” or “this is unfair.” This problem is there to shape you. Look for the lesson. If you don’t, the shitty thing will keep happening over and over until you grasp the lesson. I know from experience, dude. (Billy Madison reference, because these things pop in my head at inappropriate times...and I love that.)
Things have changed so much in the last few years. I’ve done A LOT of work to heal from my experiences. I’ve been presented with challenges that forced me to learn and grow by leaps and bounds. I’m a different person with those close to me...and new people too, actually. I regularly tell people I love them. I love hugs! I have clearer boundaries. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect or “done,” because we never are. There’s always more to learn. I stumble. I backpedal. But I know what I have to do now and I don’t stay stuck.
In fact, in a very ironic moment, one of my lessons smacked me in the face, AS I WAS FINISHING THIS POST. (You can’t make this shit up, folks.) I had no idea there was still a lesson left in this past experience, until it was literally walking right toward me. In the past, I probably would have just been stressed about the problem and not realized within 5 minutes that it’s ok. It’s just a lesson that I still need to take in. So, I’ll just be over here learning from this fun, little surprise that popped into my life unexpectedly. Please feel free to learn from yours. If you can’t find the lesson, hit me up and I’ll help you navigate.