This I Believe

Nixaly - Corona, New York
Entered on May 22, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love

The Power of a Hug

Hugging sets me free. It’s the only liberation from the stressful and overwhelming times I go through as a 21-year old full-time college student and part-time receptionist. When I’m upset, a hug breaks my quiet depression and causes me to burst into tears. It opens me up to say what’s on my mind again and I go back to being myself.

Hugging brings happiness to my world, and I want to share it. I want to hug everyone—my family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. Of course, I don’t go around hugging random people, but I never stop feeling that need to hug a person who looks like he or she needs one. Although I praise hugs for their amazing power, there was a time when I didn’t think much of them.

When I was younger, my older brother would try to hug me. I wouldn’t let him. I remember seeing the crestfallen look on his face as he walked away from my rejection, but I didn’t care. My love for him had changed after the accident he had in the second grade. He was hit by a car and suffered Traumatic Brain Injury. He nearly died. That accident changed him; it made him more aggressive. He used to hit my sister and me whenever he got upset and tried to force hugs on us when he realized he had hurt us. Since my family had denied his disorder and rejected him because of his change, I too started believing there was nothing mentally wrong with him. The only person who hadn’t disowned him was my mother. His near-death experience made our family grow apart. Now he is twenty-two, and in an attempt to fill that missing piece in his heart, he goes out in the streets searching for the love and acceptance he’d been denied.

He was a stranger to me and I hadn’t looked him in the face in a long time. But one day I approached him and forced myself to look into his vulnerable eyes. They still looked innocent; he was the same brother I used to love and look up to. At school, I had recently learned about TBI and the symptoms involved. Every symptom made me think about my brother.

I don’t know if it was this information that made me gain sympathy for him, but I decided to offer him a hug. His eyes lit up and he threw his arms around me. That hug seemed to last forever. I wanted to cry. I had thought the hug was for him, but I was wrong; it was for me. I needed that hug to rediscover the love that was buried for all those years after that life-changing accident.

I believe in hugs. I believe they can bring out positive feelings, restore peace, and form bonds between people. I believe hugs are so simple and yet so powerful. I believe hugs can make the world a better place.