Showing affection is not common in Arab societies, especially hugging. In order for you to suddenly hug someone would mean that you will be attacked because it is not considered normal and people are awkward when it comes to hugging. It is mainly witnessed in social events which is done by default.
People would hug in solidarity but to hug in love, it is a completely different scenario and you will be judged or stopped from performing this act. The act of hugging is kept in a tiny dull mould which turned it into an automatic and emotionless action.
We don’t witness public hugging a lot especially while growing up. Here, I am generally speaking, in terms of hugging our siblings, friends, and loved ones. How many times have you witnessed a real hug in the street or you hugged your loved ones dearly without a specific occasion?
It depends on certain families to enlist the value of hugging in their children and that it is totally fine to hug. It is okay and it is essential to remove the idea of hugging being only between a man and a woman and it would provoke sexual intentions and desires when in fact, hugging is a powerful tool and it can help so much.
Sometimes, all you need is a simple and loving hug from a dear person, this can be your mother, father, a close friend, or even a lover. A hug can sometimes replace thousands of words, a hug can simply tell you that ”it will be okay, you are loved” without saying these words.
It is funny how a hug is translated into a sexual indication that it will eventually lead to a closed room and a bed if done by a woman and a man! A hug is so profound and it is very important from an early age. Parents should normalize hugging to their kids and that siblings can hug each other regardless of gender.
My parents normalized it for me and I have spent my whole life expressing my love to them and my siblings through hugging. Also, I was lucky enough to study in a school that normalized hugging, I remember hugging my teachers since I was in primary school and my friends as well. My school’s principles made hugging normal for us and even hugging them was fine.
Even after I finished high school, I would go and visit them and I simply hug them. Hugging meant that those people love and care about you and you care about them, too. However, back in high school, I remember that a teacher yelled at my friend and I because we were simply hugging each other and she was furious and we were very confused at that time.
How come hugging was an act to be yelled for? I learned later that showing any kind of affection is seen as a threat and some people could translate wrongfully. How did we grow up to fear love and kindness? I wonder sometimes about the person who started all of this fear, who spread the rumours on hugging and embracing our loved ones. I think who ever created this idea and imposed it in people’s minds is someone who was never loved or hugged and suffered a lot.
I am aware that COVID-19 restricted many from hugging their loved ones but make sure that you normalize hugging to your kids. Hug people you care about and make sure they know that they are loved greatly.