Think to yourself, is there one day that passes where you don’t have an opportunity to touch anyone at all?  This could be a handshake, a pound, a pat on the shoulder or even a light tap with a fingertip.  How good does it feel to have someone hold your hand when you really need it or rub your back when you are feeling discomfort.  Even a hug can be therapeutic.  Countless studies have proven that hugging lowers stress and improves moods better than most things.  Imagine how powerful it could be to change the mood/attitude of someone; especially when needed! (Meredith Corp. ©2014 V.Santillano The healing Power of Hugs)  

Touching is a part of the human connection that binds us together, fulfilling an integral piece of our existence. Something so simple doesn’t seem like a big deal, but look at how distanced we’ve become as the world around us changes.  Thanks to our technology, we are more likely to send a hug or a handshake than to actually give one.  And because of the entire scare with bed bugs and germ related issues, we aren’t exactly open to wrapping our arms around another person; particularly someone we don’t know well.  To even feel comfortable enough to approach someone to touch them, you have to feel invited, and let’s just be honest, we barely make eye contact to speak to one another let alone allow someone to make physical contact or embrace us.

So you wonder, ‘what’s the big deal? Who cares?’ How often do you read about some random act of violence or situation where you may have joked to yourself, ‘they needed a hug!’? You were onto something.  We respond to the environment around us, some in more extreme ways than most.  Feelings of disconnection, lack of love, or loneliness can result in people finding comfort in other things: food, negative activities, violence, etc.  And it’s no help that we turn to our devices for social connection before we’ll think to go and see a friend or loved one.   We are straying further away from each other in our attempts to be more ‘connected’ and unwantedly creating a society of emotionless, paranoid personalities who freak out when a ‘handshake’ is on the menu.

True experience:  We’ve all given money/food to a person in need on the street.  Have you ever noticed how their hands may not be clean, and they are withdrawn when you reach out to give them something, almost like they feel like they don’t deserve to be touched?  I make it a point to purposely touch them in the exchange, I even grab and shake their hand and say something positive.  I’m no saint, not by far, but I know what it feels like to have someone see you as less than what you are. Dirt/germs can be washed away, but the act remains.  Besides, I’ve witnessed some of the supposedly ‘cleanest’ people in the world not wash their hands, so let’s not let dirt keep us from being humanely human.

 

-P. Alford

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