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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Is For Affection

I grew up not knowing how to physically express my affectionate feelings for another human being, and that left a toll on me to this day. I feel very uncomfortable saying "I love you" or hug someone if I don't know them well enough.

You could imagine my shock when I see people freely hugging and kissing everywhere, including all kind of relationships between people, friend to friend, sibling to in-law, same sexes, or people to pets.

This kind of affectionate display was quite refreshing, but at the same time was disturbing in my thoughts too. I was not accustomed to it in any way! The only thing I saw when growing up, was parents kissing their children on the forehead, or on the top of their children's head. Never on the lips!

Men and women were not allowed to even sit on the same side of the church. Touching in public was forbidden, and considered inappropriate. We don't hug, or give kisses on the cheeks like other cultures. Love is defined by "the look" and action. You would just develop the intuition to recognize when someone likes you. No need for physical touches, and to me it was a beautifully tradition!

The rule was quite sterile and compressed, but it was understood and respected. It definitely had a guideline for boundary. Nowadays, hugging and kissing could be anywhere, with anybody. We're all used seeing it and wouldn't even bash an eye lash.

I'm more at ease with showing affection to family and friends but not quite liberal just yet. What was it like when you're growing up? Are you a hugger/kisser or are you reserved?

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  1. I'm reserved, but my mother was kind of cold and so was her mother. I remember my mother telling me how cold my great grandfather was too. And my grandmother's mother died when she was less than two and her father had to go to work. He'd lock her in a room with pots and pans to play with and bottles placed around the room. He'd run home at lunch time to check on her. I think that might explain why she was kind of cold and her father might have become cold when he lost his wife at such a young age. Things get passed down from generation to generation.

  2. My family was English and we didn't hug. I actually hugged my grandfather for the first time the day before he died.

    I am exactly the opposite. I hug EVERYBODY. It's probably obnoxious to some people, but it's just the way I am...

    Hugs to you Mumsy!



  3. I am reserved like you are so I can guess how uncomfortable you feel when everyone is hugging and kissing. I have read that most people in the United States are extroverted and so are likely to be openly demonstrative. It makes introverted people feel like there's something wrong them until they realize there's nothing wrong at all. Introverts are just different. :)

  4. I grew up with a father who was always angry and married a man that is almost as bad. I have been affectionate with my children/grands and we hug every time we see one another. I truly appreciate a warm hug.

  5. Hmm, this is quite thought provoking and interesting. My family wasn't the type to show a lot of physical affection too. I think it has to do a lot with my grandparents traditional Chinese upbringing. Over these past few years, things have changed a lot and my family show more affection with each other. In many ways, I am okay with being a hugged but only with people I am comfortable with. Ive been hugged by coworkers and other people I barely knew and it would weird me out but I'm getting use to it since it seems to be a common way of greeting one another in the international community here.

  6. This is an interesting topic I could write a lot about, having experienced so many cultures. But let me leave one funny story. As you and others have said, Vietnamese and Chinese are not overly physical affectionate. But my Chinese-Canadian husband is (and has always been, even when growing up in China, although the expression of it there was more limited.) Today he is a warm hugger. A few years ago, we were toured around in Taiwan by my business partner's sister. After a lovely few days, as we were leaving, I hugged the sister and she warmly hugged me back. But when my husband went to do the same, she recoiled and said, "no! we Chinese don't hug!" LOL! It is not rare for my Chinese friends to hug me, even if they hug no one else. Me? I NEED hugs and give them liberally to anyone I like or love.

  7. I come down somewhere in between. I find that I am more of a hugger than I was in my youth, but to be honest, I only kiss my husband and very occasionally a family member.

    But I hug a lot and freely.


  8. Interesting. I'm a hugger... affectionately yours! anita

  9. I grew up with lots of hugs and loving words. Cheek kisses only though, not lip kisses. Those are only romantic in my mind. I don't fault people who kiss their kids on the lips. It's just not my thing.

  10. I did not grow up hugging people. Kissing- never. We had our "space" which was not to be entered into without permission. I married a man who hugged and kissed everybody. He really changed my life- as I don't recoil when someone comes to me with a hug. (anymore) It still feels funny- but I don't want to hurt their feelings- so I try to relax my shoulders and hug back and remember to smile as we part. Most of my friends know a "warm loving look" means as much as a hug would. We even joke about it- as we stare each other apart- warmly of course!

  11. I am a lot more affectionate now than I was as a child and teenager. I am quite free in hugging loved ones - family, children, grandchild, close friends.
    Other than that, I tend to "go with my gut feeling". I don't mind a friendly hug and sometimes it makes me feel better.
    In my mind, a kiss on the lips is a romantic kiss. Otherwise a kiss on the cheek is fine!!

  12. I also come from a family that was never affectionate. Well, my grandma was but that was it. Other than that there wasn't hugs, kisses or I love you's! I grew up in the American culture and my mom is full blooded German my dad is of Irish decent... I always thought those were both affectionate cultures but maybe not. Anyways, because of it I do have a hard time to this day showing affection of any sort to any one! I never hugged until recently in the last 5 years or so. It's crazy cause hugging alone feels so great sometimes... I missed out:-)

  13. I am not at all reserved when it comes to showing affection to those I care about. People need hugs--it gives on a sense of well-being to be hugged and to hug in return.

  14. Hm... My mom (from the Philippines of Filipino/Chinese/Spanish descent) was a hugger, my dad, and American of German/French descent was not as much of a hugger.

    my hubby's family are definitely, big time huggers! :o) They are born and raised in Hawaii of Portuguese descent. so, after being married to my hubby almost 30 years, I am a big hugger too :o) Kisses...reserved for my husband and kids...and future grandbabies :o)

    Blessings & Aloha!
    I’ve been very busy this time of year with art orders (for which I am thankful, blessed and love to do), but Yay!, it is also fun to be back in Ms. Jenny’s Alphabe-Thursday class again!

  15. You have been on such a journey! I think it's amazing that you can express your emotions as well as you do!

    It seems like it would be human nature to simply try and hide them away.

    You embrace your pain. You embrace your past.

    I am a big hugger and if I ever have the pleasure to meet you in person I will just hug you as long as you let me!

    Thanks for sharing this.



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