mooseman13579 replied to your post “Sam, what do you think of the recent discovery/restoration/sale of…”
“Unfortunately, I cannot paint” Does that really matter?
Well, I can’t forge a lost masterpiece with a fascinating romantic history, which makes it hard to sell one for half a billion dollars. :D
:[ i started following you after you stopped doing individual hugs but for some reason i feel rebuked every time you say ‘i no longer do individual hugs for people’ after the Saturday hug, and it’s always jarring and always more upsetting than the hug is cheering so i keep finding myself wishing you wouldn’t do any hugs at all. it just occurred to me i have the ability to tell you that so you know. >> i tried to just skip reading the text part this week, but failed.
Indeed you do have the ability! Thanks for letting me know, I’m glad you spoke up.
On the one hand, your reaction is not irrational, I understand it! So up-front: I have no problem removing the text from future posts. It’s served its purpose. So your speaking up caused a change for the positive!
Now, here’s the flip side: I may someday have to re-add it, and I want to explain why – because it really is nothing at all to do with disapproval or scolding and everything to do with not wanting to hurt anyone, and it’s…of concern when that’s seen as a rebuke.
The way this began was that one person asked me for a hug and I was like cool, sure, here you go. And then everyone asked me for a hug. It very quickly got to an untenable point; I was getting so many requests that a) I did not have the time or energy to keep up with them and b) it was filling my tumblr with content that is, at the end of the day, not that interesting to anyone but the person requesting the hug.
But here’s the thing: how do you stop? How do you be the person who gets someone who is hurting and wants a hug and say, no, I can’t. How do you ignore someone reaching out? And even after I said “I can’t do this anymore” I would get hug requests and like…how do you ignore that?
I had to put across the message that I want to be able to offer comfort but I only have so much time and energy. The reason the phrase is there – and actually used to be the first thing in the post – is to remind people that this post is for everyone because I can’t help everyone individually. And a problem with humans in general is that we tend to push boundaries. So someone might see the hug for all and say “Hey I’d love an individual hug, I’m gonna ask for one” and then I have to either ignore them or post an individual hug for them, after which other people will go “Oh, I guess it’s okay” and the cycle starts over.
So the message, in the past, has been there to remind people of a boundary. At this point, it’s probably not necessary. But if I find out that it is, then I’m going to have to reinforce the boundary. And that’s nothing to do with being angry; boundary-setting can often come across as punitive, because a lot of us come from toxic situations at home or in school where being told “no” carries with it an implicit “you did something wrong and I’m mad at you”. But in healthy relationships, “no” is not an automatic value judgement on you. Often it’s there to protect both you and the person telling you no. And if I need to say no, I will, because whether or not it seems harsh, it’s there to prevent both of us from experiencing something worse.
So I’m happy to remove it for now – but I also urge you, just in your general life, to remind yourself when necessary that another person’s boundary-setting does not universally carry with it aggression or disapproval. Sometimes it’s even done from love, and it’s just hard to discern that when you haven’t encountered it a lot.