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Silent Hugs

Once when I was in Holland I stayed with a Dutch family for a few days. One day the mother went to the store and said she would be right back. I didn't expect any dramas, but soon one of her daughters, about 7 years old, came downstairs crying. I was sitting at the computer and knew I should do something, but wasn't sure what that something was, since I couldn't speak a word of Dutch. The girl sat on the sofa and looked over at me. I decided to go sit next to her.

She moved a bit closer to me and I put my arm around her to comfort her in the only way I could think of. First she put her head into my chest and cried. Then she looked up for a few seconds. Next she started talking. But since it was in Dutch, I understood almost nothing at all. The only thing I did understand was name of her sister, who she had been upstairs with. I assumed they got into some kind of argument and that is why she came down crying. I just held her and gently touched the top of her head, still wondering what else I could or should do, and hoping for her mother to come back to save me! But that didn't happen.

Instead, in about one minute or less, the girl looked up at me and smiled. Then she got up and went back to play. The whole time I had said absolutely nothing.

This showed me the value of a silent hug. It also showed me that you don't need to say anything to comfort someone. You don't need to talk them out of their pain. Just be there for them and the pain will pass right out of them.


S. Hein

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Respect | Empathy
Caring | Listening

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Emotional Literacy
Invalidation | Hugs
Emotional Abuse |
Feeling Words
Depression | Education
Emotional Intelligence
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update - feb 2016

this is a really interesting story. as i read it again i see how important it was for the girl to have someone listen to her.

i didnt even have to understand her words to help her.

i didn't have to say anything. i just had to be there, offering my physical presence as some kind of security for her i guess.

i don't know what would have happened if i had not gone over to the couch but instead stayed sitting at the computer on the other side of the room. it probably would have increased her pain. she probably would have felt more alone.

when i was in school, no one taught me anything about how to listen to a crying child. or the importance of a silent hug. or the importance of just being quiet and listening.

maybe one day all schools will teach this.

i am thinking now of someone very special who I met in Ushuaia, Argentina in January of 2018. Her name is Priscila, with one "l". Not like Priscilla C who I spent about 4 and a half years with from around 2009 to about 2014.

Punta Arenas, Chile





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