If someone says they love you, how do you know it's truthful? Well, one way to tell is the quality of their hug. What are the characteristics of a sincere hug? In this photo of Rick and Karen Santorum, they are locked in an embrace during a recent Primary victory celebration. When the palms are flat, this is a signal of true affection. We cannot see Rick's hands, however Karen's are certainly flat against her husband's back. If someone hugs with just a finger-contact, at the very best, they are not fully present in the moment. Hugs are rare enough - only seconds in our lives - and important enough - that they should always command 100% attention. More typically though, with a finger-tip hug, affection is simply minimal or absent.
Although, we cannot see it here (because the image is cropped), another characteristic of a truly affectionate hug, is contact between the waists and lower bodies. This is certainly true with a spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, etc. - but also with child-parent, or sibling-sibling relationships - but only in the presence of true affection.
Karen Santorum also exhibits another affection-absolute of a sincere hug - that of eyelid closing. Forty percent of the mass of the brain - and thus a corresponding amount of the blood supply and oxygen goes to our visual brain components. Moreover, we get a full ninety percent of our sensory input through our vision. When we close our eyes, a bit of this massive blood supply gets shunted to the other parts of our brains - e.g. the other four senses, our cognitive centers and our emotional brain. Thus in the act of closing the eyelids, we are trying to "drink in" the full emotion of the moment. We are trying to maximize our hug-experience. If a person does not close their eyes during a hug, they are not emotionally engaged - the only question is why? Is it because they are distracted .... or apathetic?
Karen Santorum's hug is very sincere. She is experiencing the full emotion of the moment. Few feelings compare with the giving and receiving of true affection. Seek it. Give it. Covet it .... and don't take it for granted.