If you haven’t heard of the blog My Year of Hugs please check it out. Melinda is documenting her experience of giving out hugs everyday. Lucky for us, Hug It Forward has gotten a chance to catch up with her!
What is your biggest message for people that want to start a project like yours?
The biggest message I have for someone wanting to start a project like this is to just listen to your heart. It will always steer you in the right direction. And, of course, be sure to put your thoughts in to action.
Does giving hugs make you feel like you approach problems differently?
What a really great question. I am much more open to looking at problems differently than I did before. It started with recognizing the differences in people more than I ever had through their hugs or their reactions to my request for a hug. This in turn has reinforced that not everything is as it seems. I have learned that I can not always rely on my own limited experiences to tell me everything that I need to know about the world. There is so much more to life than I could ever fully grasp. There will always be people or situations that I will have difficulty understanding due to a factor that I am not entitled to know. I try to keep this in mind as I assess problems and try to remember that I may never be fully armed with all of the knowledge of a situation. All I can do is work with the knowledge I do have and make the decisions that feel right to me.
What do you plan on doing to celebrate day 365?
I have not yet made plans to celebrate day 365. One of the greatest things about this journey is the potential that is unfolding for me and my life. I am not sure where life will take me. One thing I am sure of is that the celebration won’t be just about ending my year, but also about celebrating the person I have become.
Do you have a favorite quote?
There are so many great and inspirational quotes out there, but the one that has always stuck with me is from Christopher Reeve.
What an empowering statement. I always come back to it when I need a reminder that life is what I make of it.
Any ideas for the shy Hugger?
The best advice I can give to the shy Hugger is to begin by embracing your family and close friends more often. Hug them every time you see them and even multiple times while in their company. Then, when you feel a little more comfortable, if the urge hits you to hug, take full advantage. Once you recognize the awesome power it has, there will be no stopping you.
I know that more hugs can change the world. I see the way that others already treat me differently because of my hugs. People are friendlier, share more with me and there is joy on their faces as I approach them with my arms wide open. There is also a physical change that takes place when I ask for a hug. All of the stress that they are carrying melts away as their faces relax, shoulders drop and their arms reach out to meet mine.
Thank you Melinda for spreading hugs. We love what you are doing!