Jul 15, 2012

On The Power Of Hugs

On The Power Of Love Photo

How often do you hug people? If someone came to you with his arms wide open, would you open your arms too and give them the most intense hug, or would you step back and call them weird, nuts or even sexual harasser?

About 2 months ago, I watched Juan Mann's famous Free Hugs video. Needless to say, I was deeply affected by it, and I instantly decided that I was going to do the same one day.

Little did I know that this day will come two months later. I kept dreaming of me holding a free hugs sign and standing alone in the middle of the road. I dreamed about people's reactions and excitement.

But then I thought: I don't have to do this on my own, we can make this a flash mob! I posed the idea to my friend Nath and he was just as excited as I was. And what do you know? One month later (1st of July 2012), we were roaming the streets of Beirut with 10 other passionate people giving people the most sincere hugs anyone can give.

Sincere Hug Photo

People's reactions ranged from extremely happy and grateful to surprised and resistant. The most question we got asked was..


Well why not?! Does anyone think that we have an overload of happiness and joy? If you think so, we could use some help here in Lebanon because we are basically soaked in hate and resentment. All thanks to our [insert curse words here] politicians who are making sure that we are always in a state of war.

But SERIOUSLY, it was the awesomestest thing I've ever done we've ever done! We were running like crazy hugging men, women, kids, cats, dogs and trees! (Well it was just me who hugged trees.. Sandy hugged a tree too!)

Free Huggers Photo

We had so much fun that we decided to do another one two weeks later, which was yesterday (14 July 2012). As we expected, more people showed up this time. Every person who came to the first flash mob came back and brought his friends. And more people = more hugs = more joy!

We decided to do it at night this time, so we don't get bothered by the heat. And we were even more excited than the first time :D

Of course, we still have a long way to go if we want to make a country-wide change. But I can confidently say that hundreds of lives were changed during these two events, and hundreds of souls were touched.

If you live in Lebanon, I invite you to come with us to our next flash mob, which will be announced on our facebook page: Free Huggers

And if you're not from Lebanon, I invite you to start your own campaign. Pick the most crowded area in your city at the crowdiest time, and go there with the most passionate people you know with the largest hearts and arms, grab the biggest cardboards you can find, write the biggest Free Hugs on them and go draw the biggest smile on a random stranger's face.

And if someone refused to hug you, tell them like the great Steve Pavlina once said: "Shut up and just freaking hug me." (ok maybe not)