When you are greeted with “Welcome” are some of these the responses you find rising up in you? The feeling of being accepted, embraced, received with gladness or delight?
Living in a nation that is not your own accentuates the inner need for feeling this “Welcome.” You are away from family and things that are familiar. Rejection, or just feeling on the outside of things, can be so easy to experience. You are an “outsider” to the culture and customs. You are the “outsider” to the language (even if you know it well, it’s not your mother tongue). You are the “outsider” to the history. You can’t depend on your “natural” responses to be the correct responses because this nation is not your norm. Their culture is not your norm. In this situation, there is a need to learn to feel comfortable with the uncomfortable.
So when there is this sense of WELCOME, that can be HUGE in the life of an expat.
Why are you welcome? I have found it is not so much because there is absolute agreement on things or that you do everything right within the cultural context. No, the WELCOME comes as a gesture of kindness. It comes with compassion. It comes in spite of the differences and challenges. It comes because we are human, and each life is valued and honored. It comes because we each need community. We need love and acceptance.
And then, when this WELCOME has been given to us. We need to stop and be aware of the valuable gift that has been given to us. We have been gladly received into someone’s presence, home, or group. We have not only been permitted and admitted, we have been willingly embraced by another. Cherish the gift that has been given to you…then give it forward to another.
Well, you may think this is a strange question considering the caution and mandates that have rolled out over the last year about social distancing, etc. But I think this is a worthy question for us to ask ourselves, even at such a time as this.
What is so significant about hugs? As one who grew up giving and accepting hugs easily between friends and family, it is a very natural thing to want a hug AND to give a hug. I’ve had to curtail some of my automatic custom of hugging others because in Asian culture, hugs are not automatic. This is one of the areas that I respect, but, at the same time, I’ve also attempted to bring this influence into their culture. HUGS!!!!
There is another side to the significance of hugs. Science has done some research and found some interesting information about hugs. Specifically, this research was about human touch, and hugs are one of those significant ways of touching one another. So, as we come to this year (or longer) marker of global social distancing mandates, I believe it is time to remember HUGS!! Touching one another. Being close to one another.
*Here is what the research says…
**A well-known family therapist, Virginia Satir, gave some guidance on “How many hugs do we need?” Here is her guidance:
**One interesting statement that I read along this subject line was, “Most western people today are touch-deprived.” Why is this so?? The author goes on to explain that in the western culture we have developed solitary lives. Also, we live life at such a fast and busy pace that we have reduced our socialization, thus our touching of others or being touched by others has decreased.
So, what do we do with this information?
HUG!!! Don’t be afraid of personal touch. Don’t let the social distancing we have had to endure cause us to avoid touching one another. We can even use safe guidelines (washing hands, covering our mouths to sneeze, etc.) and still be touchable people.
*So here are some practical ways to get TOUCH into your life…
Sources for this Blog:
Some people equate being steady to being boring. If you’re constant, where is the excitement? Where is the inspiration? Where is the thrill? I would say, however, being steady does not have to mean being boring.
Steady does mean there are some fixed aspects in life that should be constant and unchanging. These fixed points cause things to be stable, balanced, and firm. Without these elements life becomes chaotic. Life becomes a whirlwind with no fixed point, or anchor, to bring peace and calm.
Being steady does not mean taking no chances. Being steady does not mean to not be inspired. Being steady does not mean you are doomed to a life of boredom with no excitement. Being steady does mean there are set anchors in your life that will not change or move. Being steady means there is a tenacity you possess to stay constant in all situations. And this produces stability, balance, and firmness in you. This is confidence and a courage that heroes are made of.
So, what things become those unchangeable, anchoring points? This is where we look at our values. This is where we understand our vision, or as some say, our “end game”. These are the type of things that shape those “non-negotiables” in our lives. “But”, some may ask, “shouldn’t we be open and willing to change with other’s rights and beliefs?” Respecting others is not the same as compromising our own beliefs. If we want to be stable, balanced, fixed, and firm in our lives, then we will have to possess elements in our lives that are constant and unchanging (not moved by public opinions or desires).
We are in a time where many things have been shaken in the lives of many people. It is in the shaking times of trials and difficulties when we get a clearer view of what is unshakable in our lives…what is steady. If nothing is steady or if what we thought was unshakable is shaken, then we lose focus, balance, and a sense of hope for tomorrow.
Some questions to consider:
When we can say YES to being STEADY then we are ready to make a difference in our world…in this generation.
Some of my non-negotiables:
Cindy writes about her adventures, observations, and other nuggets from living in another nation. She and John live in SE Asia. She will also share nuggets from her 58 plus years of life.