Last month, a few friends joined me on the Kansas City Plaza for my 7th Annual TCOY "Free Hug Day." The act of offering "Free Hugs or High Fives" to strangers may seem odd or even a little bizarre to some, but I believe we live in a time when people desperately need love and kindness.
A smile or hug is the shortest distance between two people. "Free Hug Day" offers a small way to do that.
The "Free Hug Day" started many years ago and is held in numerous locations around the world; thus, many people now have heard of it. Often people get excited when they see us walking around and start taking selfies on their phone to share with others as they join in to receive a free hug.
Each year, special memories are etched on my heart as well as for all who participate in this event. This year was no exception.
My friend and co-worker called at the last minute saying she wanted to join us. Upon meeting us, she introduced me to her sister and softly shared some unfortunate news. Her oldest brother was in a tragic accident just a couple of days prior and lost his life.
Overwhelmed with grief, she said "I just want to hug on others and hopefully bring joy into the lives of other, as well as into my own. My heart aches and hugs are a form of encouragement and support."
It's true...Hugs are therapeutic. One of my friends even brought her small dog for those who prefer to hug on a four legged furry friend. The positive energy was contagious and all ages experienced it.
We came across many people who were either talking on their cell phones, texting or playing "Pokemon Go." Once we caught their attention with a smile, a wave of our "Free Hug" sign or friendly "Would you like a Free Hug or High Five?", most would smile back and welcome the exchange.
Occasionally, we would stop and take pictures to capture these priceless moments of communication and connecting with others. The short 1:20minute YouTube video
reflects some of the joy from the day.
Our world is full of incredible technology to communicate. yet many are lonely, depressed and feel disconnected in these fast paced times. The simple action of a sincere greeting, whether it be a "hello," a smile, a high five or a hug can make an incredible difference. Sadly, that may be the only act of kindness someone will receive.
Little things do matter. Everyone wants to be respected, appreciated and loved. We can get so busy dealing with the urgent that we fail to nurture the important. Too often our relationships and our health are neglected.
I am passionate about wellness and feel lifting up others with a smile, gesture or comment is fundamental to our well-being. Add some laughter into the mix and inevitably any day becomes better as joy fills your heart.
Control is an illusion. The only thing we truly have control over is our attitude. A poor attitude drains your energy and spirit. The good news is at any given moment, you get to determine how to react to situations. Choose wisely and reap the benefits of a joyful life.
May your words to yourself and to others be kind and uplifting. May your heart be soft and not hardened by past heartaches. May you feel contentment and appreciation in the present moment.
Until next month,
TCOY = Take Care of You