Many of us have already taught this to our daughters. But imagine a world in which no one will ever again be forced to hug Uncle Harry or sit on anyone’s lap because it’s “expected.”
Women my age grew up being taught, as little girls, that it was polite to hug and kiss men who wanted to hug and kiss us, even when every cell in our bodies said no. It was expected by these boys into men that we should let them crush their mouths into ours because they bought us dinner or paid for the movie.
My dear husband and I taught our daughters and son differently, but I still struggle with those lessons that I was taught. I don’t blame my teachers. They were the mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers who were taught that same lesson. They just handed it down to us, along with their cameo pins and pearl necklaces.
This pandemic virus offers us global encouragement to hold up our hands and say, “Halt! Stop right there. Step back and keep your distance until I say you may approach.” This practice can also keep us from spreading the virus of entitlement by those males who think they have a right to move their hands from what is a hug, to assessing our curves. Back then, it was endured in silence lest we appeared ill-mannered. Today, we can create a “new normal.”
What if we, as women, the tree and people huggers of the world, give ourselves permission at this next level of empowerment, to hug only when we desire to hug, have contact only when we say it’s okay? What if we use this moment in time to acknowledge those old lessons and then destroy them forever?
What if this goes viral and we spread a pandemic of personal power and choice like we’ve never seen before? What if we grant ourselves permission to make social distancing our default? What if from this day forward we redefine and declare our personal space as ours? The norm becomes distance and we choose who may approach and how far they may step.
Right now, social distancing is a prudent measure to safeguard our bodies from catching a virus. But imagine if we use it to preserve, not only our precious bodies, but our minds, our souls, and those of our future generations of women? A hug becomes our choice to press our hearts to another’s heart, out of desire, not obligation.
Join me in this practice, won’t you? If this resonates with you, please share.