Four hugs per day by Yaara Steiner, Israel

A person needs at least 4 hugs a day to stay sane. I read it somewhere.
I was stationed in a dusty, remote base during my army service. I didn’t go home much and I was surrounded by cactus like girls who didn’t want me there. I didn’t want to be there either but it’s the army and when I was 18 years old I didn’t think I had any choice.

At the army I had nobody to talk to, laugh with or hug. I thought I was going mad. One day I woke up in the morning and they just started cursing me, really dirty and bad words. I was shocked – I had never met these kinds of people, so violent and with not much interest in life.

At that time and before it, for about a year and a half- I was suffering from a wart on my thumb, I went to doctors –burn it, freeze it, dry it- nothing helped.  I just got used to it and hid my thumb from the world.

As that social situation went on, I felt like I had to do something to save myself from the darkness that overcame and infested my life. I thought I wanted to die. I was crossing roads without looking left and right, yes, I was living on the edge. One day it came back to my mind, that thing I read about the importance of hugs…So I started hugging myself and telling myself (out loud) that everything is OK and that I am a good person, that I deserve love. I started searching for things to be grateful for, a smile from a girl in my station, my family, and a lot of little things.

As I kept thinking about things to appreciate the list got longer and longer and it became a ceremony for me. Like a prayer. Five days after I started my little game- the wart disappeared. I watched it fading and dying with awe. The wart went away with my fears and negativity. I had brain washed myself. New, sweet girls arrived to the station, other girls became meaningless. I had learned the power of the mind and ever since I’m using my mind to create realities. I understand that our eyes are beams of light in the black infinite pool of reality and consciousness, and where ever we shine them is what we will see. I choose extreme optimism as a way of life.

It might sound childish or naïve to come from me since my problems seem so small in comparison to other stories shared in this group. I didn’t have such extreme traumatic situations like getting my house bombed, but I know pain. I didn’t trust myself at some point and I thought that if I’d undergone “real” bad shit than I would lose my optimism entirely. But then I read an amazing book that validated my fragile philosophy. The book is called ‘The sky within’ by author Etty Hillesum. It’s a diary of a beautiful and inspirational woman going through the holocaust, and she is really crazy, in a good way I mean. She is going through what I see as the worst journey a person can be set on, yet she is strong & grateful, she is optimistic and she believes that life is life no matter the challenges and the horrors. It’s amazing because it’s so genuine, you see, she didn’t write this for us to read; her notebooks were found after the war was over and her small handwriting had to be decrypted and edited and so on. So that’s it for now. I’m going to make dinner. Have a nice weekend everyone.

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