Giving a hug is a very simple gesture. However, have you ever wondered how much the lack of hugs can harm us? How much anguish can a child feel when this human exchange, this display of affection is denied?
It is precisely about this idea that Simona Ciraolo wrote, giving rise to a beautiful illustrated book that talks about a family whose members believe that emotional expressions are a sign of weakness.
A reflection on loneliness…
The protagonist is Felipe, a young cactus who just wanted a little affection to be happy. However, everyone in her family believed that a hug was a symbol of weakness.
Deeply dissatisfied, one day he finds a huge yellow balloon in the middle of the desert. The balloon was brave and safe. However, this unequal relationship was doomed to disaster.
Felipe felt a lot of pain for having lost his friend, but no one in his family understood him or could comfort him. On the contrary, they all rebuked him and shouted.
Upon reaching this point of emotional inflection, fed up with so much coldness and incomprehension, Felipe leaves his family and goes in search of someone who loves and understands him. Unfortunately, everyone he meets rejects him, mocks him… Soon the young cactus realizes that he is not welcome.
So it ends alone. At first, he does not enjoy that solitude that enriches the soul, but rather a forced solitude that hurts him more and more, generating anguish and bitterness. However, over time, he learns to live alone and even enjoys his own company.
Then the miracle happens: he hears the cry of a stone, a desolate cry that conveys a deep loneliness.
Felipe doesn’t need to think, he knows exactly what to do: give her a hug.
Although “Abrazame” is a children’s book, the truth is that its teaching goes beyond age limits. In fact, it is a Personal Growth story, where its protagonist must mend the broken pieces and overcome a childhood marked by the emotional estrangement from his parents.
If we know how to read between the lines and not just make a superficial interpretation, we will find that his teachings are very profound:
– No matter how much damage they have done to us, we have the ability to heal and move on, until we find what we want and deserve.
– Despair and anguish can lead us to establish inappropriate relationships in which we will both get hurt.
– Only when we accept ourselves, when we love ourselves as we are and learn to enjoy our company, can we establish healthy and satisfying relationships with others.
This story is also a celebration of “inner softness” in a culture that encourages a prickly exterior. It’s a story that reminds us that despite circumstances, we always have options and that our inability to realize them is probably our biggest limitation.
Emilly Stefan The Fear lab was an American author of young adult novels, most known for her fantasy series, Age of the Seventh Sun.