Why Hugs are Just as Important as Saving the World.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Aug 11, 2013
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Everyday love is just as important as world peace.

I saw a Facebook comment recently under a re-share of my article I’m Sorry I Love You Too Much.

To be entirely honest it didn’t make complete sense to me, but I did get the gist—and the gist was that people shouldn’t waste their time writing about, or reading about, things as self-centered and small-minded as love when there are more important problems out there calling for our attention.


Now I do understand this concept. A little.

But I don’t agree with it.

A lot.

Because love is the seed that begins to grow the healing and the help that all of those other troubles need.

Sure, love is an abstract concept—which is why it’s so fun to write about.

You’re trying to grasp something that’s wispy, airy and non-tangible in your hands—and you feel it there. It has weight and it has merit, and then you try to convey this out into the world for everyone else to read and feel and taste.

Because love is real and love is hugely important.

I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have at least a weak description of their own, from personal experience.

After all, how can we be expected to care about GMOs or child sex trafficking if we don’t feel a sense of ubiquitous love for the other people out there?

Yet, what is love? (You can click on the link I shared earlier, or look at another article of mine Real Love is Home Base, where I did my current best to describe it in detail.)

And there’s a reason that I write blogs like this and then share them with you on elephant journal—it’s my way of contributing to the greater need for softening of our often hardened hearts.

Because life is hard and life is unfair, and we learn to shut down, to close out things that hurt and to ignore issues that we feel are beyond our control.

We begin to think in terms of dollar signs and calories instead of our previously childlike currencies of hugs and cuddles. 

And you know what? The latter might be less palpable, but I’ll always argue that they’re more absolute and that, as sustainable resources of their own kind, they’re the foundation from which we can truly cultivate growth and change.

I almost wrote “lasting change” instead of “change,” but I didn’t because I think an ironic part about life is that we’re always trying to construct stability and nurture uniformity and conformity when where we really live is on a planet of constant upheaval.

Evolution and change are natural parts, not only of our larger awareness, but of our own small islands too.

People leave, temporarily and permanently.

Jobs come and go.

Change is inevitable.

Yet one of the only ways I’ve found to successfully deal with these types of necessary and difficult transitions is through love on my own tiny scale.

The sensation that someone barely over three feet tall can knock me over when she runs enthusiastically towards me for a hug.

The feel of downy curls tickling my cheek while I read my daughter’s favorite book to her over her head.

His solidly muscular chest where my own head perfectly nestles when I need to rest my tired thoughts.

These are the simple truths that make the occasional—okay, frequent—ugliness that surrounds me not only bearable but worthwhile.

These are my microscopic molecules of love, existent in me on a personal scale—but then they carry out.

The geochemist in me loves using crystals as an example.

A crystal’s atomic structure affects what you see with your naked eye.

For example, if the atoms have right angles, so will the crystal that you hold inside your hand, that you can see and feel and touch. Translating this out, we can’t always see how much our small, seemingly inconsequential actions impact the world at large, both negatively and positively.

It’s not always visibly apparent that the love you manifest for your child might change the world—but it might.

Don’t underestimate the enormity of you and of your choices—and of your ability to choose love.

My little girl might be miniature, but the impact that she has in my life, and my heart, is immeasurably great. I’m a better person for loving her and all of my actions display this.

My smile at the person ringing up my groceries.

My patience with the slower driver in front of me.

My bleeding heart for other, less fortunate children.

Because, the thing is, we’re all in this together—and by this I mean life.

So, yeah, maybe you weren’t moved by those articles I mentioned earlier, but, regardless, this doesn’t detract from their singularly shared message: that the world will finally change when we change ourselves first.

“We live in an ascending scale when we live happily, one thing leading to another in an endless series.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson



About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


6 Responses to “Why Hugs are Just as Important as Saving the World.”

  1. bneal817 says:

    Yes. This.

  2. Beautiful, Jennifer. The Bhagavad Gita is with you on this:

    (This is the universe itself talking.)

    He who is rooted in oneness
    realizes that I am
    in every being, wherever
    he goes, he remains in me.

    When he sees all beings as equal
    in suffering or in joy
    because they are like himself,
    that man has grown perfect in yoga. (BG 6.29-32)

    He who can understand
    the glory of my manifestations
    is forever united with me
    by his unwavering love.

    I am the source of all things,
    and all things emerge from me;
    knowing this, wise men worship
    by entering my state of being. ( BG 10.7-8)

    Posting this to Best of Yoga Philosophy.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Demystified

  3. Bob, thank you for sharing this! My yogic studies (including the Bhagavad Gita) have only served to strengthen and continue to foster these long-held beliefs and feelings of mine. Thank you again for bringing this into the discussion for those who might not be aware, and for reminding me of a beloved passage. (And thanks, too, for your support.)

  4. Thank you, Ben 😉

  5. Kandee says:

    I loved this article, especially as it is apparently a reply to someone who said that love is not important. WHAT?!?!? Love is what the world needs right now- totally.

  6. Thanks, Kandee!
    I'm not sure if the comment was meant that love is not important, but the understanding I had of the vague/not well written comment was that we need to spend more time thinking about love on a grander scale (in the sense of world hunger, poverty, etc) and my point is that love starts with you, in your own life, first.
    Thanks again!