She reaffirmed her faith in humanity. And mine.

Today's post is by Melinda Schmitt. I met her on a blogging platform when I started my blogging journey three years ago and what she did blew me away. I won't say much more about her, she says it so well herself-

It’s been 2 years since I embarked on a year long journey that reaffirmed my faith in humanity. On April 13, 2011 I started my year of hugs. On this journey I hugged everyone I encountered from friends and family, salesmen to garbagemen, nurses to firemen. It was my way of saying, “Hey I acknowledge you and I appreciate you for being a part of my day.” What I had hoped to accomplish was a deeper connection within my community. What I got was so much more.

A few days in, I had dinner with some girlfriends. A neighbor I had never been introduced to joined us. Perfect! I greeted her with a hug. She held her arms down and clearly wasn't used to that kind of behavior. Later that evening I wondered if I could even make a difference. The very next day I received a note from one of my girlfriends. Apparently the new friend I made talked more that night than she ever had. Perhaps I would make a difference.

My favorite hugs were always a little more emotional. I often didn’t even know why. They were the people that teared up after the hug and let me know how much it was needed. Sometimes they said nothing at all. I just knew. These were the times I walked away with tears in my eyes. Other times it was something I overheard. After walking away from hugging a female employee at the waste disposal site I heard her say to someone next to her, “That was the first hug I have gotten in a long time.” My heart just about burst. I was beside myself with happiness that I could be there for her, but choked with sadness that she didn’t receive hugs regularly.

Every day I blogged about my experience. This introduced me to an online community of like minded individuals. They encouraged me, inspired me and motivated me to be braver, kinder, more loving than I knew I could be. They helped me understand that personal contact can also be achieved through very impersonal electronic devices. I was giving and receiving hugs personally and virtually.

You are reading this because of a few of those online hugs. Clear across the world I was able to connect with Shabana and Anceeta. Our backgrounds, our cultures, our communities couldn’t be any more different. Yet, we understood the need for human touch. For love. For kindness. Together we understood that that made us the same. My story made it’s way across the globe. I heard from people in India, Africa, Vietnam and so many more countries. I have a much deeper understanding that we are one human race.
Just over two years ago I felt lonely, isolated and out of touch with the world. The experiences I had during my year of hugs moved me to tears, brought me endless joy and changed me to the core. Today I give and receive love freely. I motivate and encourage others to do the same. Now, not only am I a part of many tight knit communities, I know I am an important part of the human community.  

Please accept this guest post as my virtual hug to you.

Website: My Year Of Hugs.
Facebook: Click HERE.
Twitter: Click HERE.

Shabana Feroze

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