Sunday, October 17

The Lost Hugs – Information

What is not quantifiable has no presence. That is why little is said about feelings and emotions. What cannot be translated into numbers seems that it cannot be news of interest. On the other hand, feelings have nothing to do with money, they cannot be bought or sold. Neither with power, nor with fame, which are rising values.

However, our life is unhappy or happy in the sphere of feelings. No one is happy, per se, because of the amount of money they have, because of the power they have, or because of the fame they have achieved.

In the pandemic, our emotional world has been exacerbated, refined, agitated by different feelings. But little is said about it. The pandemic has generated feelings of fear. Fear of contagion (both to infect and to be infected), fear of disease and its consequences, fear of death. Fear of unemployment, fear of ruin, fear of poverty. How to deal with this feeling that is fed by the news, with the persistence of the problem, with the uncertainty about the future, with the hoaxes, with the lack of clarity regarding the end?

Fear is a necessary feeling. If we did not have it, we would all end up infected, we would get into the wolf’s mouth, we would experience insurmountable risks. But if left unchecked, it can grip us, distress us, and destroy us. Uncontrolled fears turn into phobias that don’t let us live. In fact, from what I have read, heard and known, habephobia is proliferating, which is the pathological fear of touching or being touched, claustrophobia that inoculates us with a sick fear of staying indoors, agoraphobia, which turns into terror the open places …

José Antonio Marina and Marisa López Penas say in their “Dictionary of Feelings”: “Fear is a disturbance of the mind due to an evil that really threatens or is feigned in the imagination.”

How are hypochondriacs, those people who suffer from a pathological fear of disease, living this crisis? I have thought of them many times. I have imagined her anguish at the slightest cough, the slightest headache, or the slightest feeling of fatigue …

The pandemic has isolated us, it has made us maintain a safe distance when, in reality, it is emotional closeness that gives us tranquility and strength. We have lost many hugs. Think of the hugs that were lost during the pandemic. Grandparents who cannot hug their grandchildren, parents who cannot hug their children, friends who cannot hug … People who live alone without having chosen to be, will have felt the fear of not being able to be cared for in cases of need or urgency . And they have been deprived of the warmth and tenderness of a hug

What to say of the pain and sadness that have assailed the sick and the relatives of the sick? Because the virus has invaded the body of some patients with such cruelty that it has brought them to the brink of death and has left sequels of unpredictable severity and duration.

When death has come, many people have not been able to say goodbye to their loved ones, they have not had a hand to hold on to in the supreme trance of leaving the world. They died alone. And the relatives have not been able to elaborate a duel as required by the law of the heart.

I also want to mention other feelings that have undoubtedly been present to help us survive emotionally. Without hope, we could not have made it through this long tunnel. Optimism is always essential, but it is even more so in the adverse situations of life, as this terrible and endless pandemic is turning out to be. The force of optimism keeps us moving forward. Love has been a great support to keep pace and feed the illusion to survive. You have to know how to request, receive and give love. It has to be cultivated in new ways. There is constantly reinventing it.

We have not had emotional education. We have been taught to know and to work, we have been told how we have to think and what we have to do. But not a word has been said to us about how we have to face, express and share our feelings. And men, we have been punished for trying to do so.

When someone is very intelligent, we recognize, admire and praise their ability, but when someone is very sensitive, we say of him, with a certain disdain and obvious disqualification, that he is very maudlin.

I take this opportunity, when speaking about these issues, to thank the award that the Fundación Liderazgo Chile has granted me, in the midst of a pandemic. An award that bears this name: “People who leave their mark. For his contribution to the emotional well-being of Latin America ”. I shared it with two friends, the Chilean psychologist Pilar Sordo (see her book Educate to feel, feel to educate) and the Spanish professor Rafael Bisquerra (Psychopedagogy of emotions, among many others), with the Colombian singer Juanes and with the actor and Argentine singer Diego Torres. The delivery ceremony took place in the afternoon / evening (late in Santiago de Chile, night in Spain) on December 22nd. It is the first time in my life that I have seen an award in the area of ​​emotional well-being. Everyone I know is related to science, art, medicine, cinema, literature, entrepreneurship, theater, heroism, sports, the military. …

This Foundation has promoted in Chile the promulgation of a Law on Emotional Education. And it intends to extend the idea to all Latin American countries., Investigate, publish and train people in the emotional sphere …

I am sure that Latin America has given me much more than what I have given. I am pleased, however, with the award because it allows me to underline when receiving it the importance for each individual and for society that people work on their emotional development and that training institutions bear in mind this requirement that, without a doubt, will make us happier and better people.

I also take this opportunity to thank my wife, Lourdes, and my daughter Carla (present by surprise for me at the delivery), for the many hours of absence that this award has cost them. To a large extent, it is yours. I remember that when Carla was 7 years old and I told her that I was leaving for eight days to work in Chile, she added with unaffected seriousness:

– Dad, your travels are going to ruin my life.

A teacher, to whom I told the anecdote, wrote a beautiful letter to Carla, which she replied saying that she had seen that her father was very important for the teachers in Chile, but that he was more important for her daughter, and that is why, it said verbatim, “next time it will go two days, but not eight.”

With these lines I want to invite you to take care of your heart in these times of pandemic and to recover the lost hugs when we say goodbye for good.

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