There is something that intrigues me. I am not quite sure when or why this happens, but I feel like most of us are victims of this. We fear showing too much affection.
Why is this? Why do we hold back? When did it start?
Although most adults ration their affection, there is an exception I have noticed: people love to love on babies. It is common for strangers to walk up to babies and speak to them. To tell them how pretty they are. To ask if they can hold the baby. Okay, maybe not everyone shows so much affection toward just any baby, but imagine the baby is your child. Your niece or nephew. Your grandchild. Your best friend’s baby. Do you hesitate to hold the baby? Do you tell the baby how beautiful and smart they are? Do you pet, cuddle and coo with the baby? For most people, there is little hesitation. Most people are much more openly affectionate with babies and young children than other adults in their lives.
While showing affection to children is wonderful, absolutely necessary and a very beautiful thing, why don’t we show that same amount of love and affection to everyone in our lives? Why don’t we tell our friends, family and lovers how beautiful and smart and perfect they are? Yes, I know we say it, but not as openly, freely or frequently as we do with young ones.
It has taken me years to get comfortable with being openly affectionate. I regularly tell my friends and family members how much I love them, why I love them and how greatly I appreciate their presence in my life. I hug them. I touch their arm when I speak to them. I gently rub their back when they cry. Yet I know that sometimes I still hold back. The fear grips me that it might not be reciprocated. That it may be perceived as insincere if I say it too often or show it too much. That it might be mistaken as romantic interest rather than the simple affection I intended to convey.
When did simply showing affection become so complicated and convoluted?
Regardless of the fear. Regardless of the assumptions others may make. Regardless of the outcome. I vow to be openly affectionate. I will try my best to show my affection for others as freely as I do to that of young cooing, cuddling, adorable, perfect little babies.
What do you think? Do you hold back? Do you know why?