When I was young, the only type of touch I received was not from a place of love. I was never hugged. There have been many experiments done regarding touch. It is an integral part of our emotional development. It is the most primitive basic form of communication. We can live without hugs if we are touched in other comforting ways, which I was not. A touch on the forearm for 40 seconds confers comfort.
The hand should be an extension of the heart. Loving touch is what binds families, and without it, our development is affected which includes our ability to work in teams. It can lead to violent behavior and our ability to trust. Lack of touch can cause depression. Children who lack touch develop self-calming things such as hugging themselves and rocking. We all need comfort.
When I was a child, my self-calming technique was sitting on the floor in my closet hugging myself when I felt overwhelmed with emotions. I would let the emotions run their course until I felt calm again. This is mentioned in the book a couple of times.
As an adult I longed for touch and looked for men that would hold me and make love to me, thinking that would satisfy me, but I later learned that was not satisfying my need for a loving touch, it was just sex. When friends or people I knew would try to give me a loving hug, I would stiffen. I just didn’t know how to accept it.
There are ways that we can overcome touch deprivation. You see touch is as good for the giver as it is for the receiver. A loving touch is like an anti-depressant and can create a positive attitude. It doesn’t matter if you touch or are touched the result is the same if that touch is given forth from a place of love and caring.
When my daughter came along, in my thirties, there was always a loving touch, but it was like she was an extension of me and I still had a problem with “outsiders.”
I discovered, if I wanted my life to get better, I couldn’t wait for someone else to touch me. Some had tried in the past, but I had not been ready to receive it. I needed to take the first step now. As mentioned in a previous blog, I needed to “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Fear can’t hurt but refusing to act because of it is what hurts.
It was hard for me to develop a loving touch, but I did. I started just by gently touching the forearm of a person in distress to comfort them, or just during conversations sometimes. When I became comfortable with that, I tried hugging. It took me a while to feel comfortable with that too. But now I can give and receive hugs freely without hesitation. Of course, we can’t just walk around hugging willy-nilly, there is a time and place. 😊
If nothing else, get yourself a dog or cat and pet and hug them all the time. Give them all the love you have, and it will open the door to better human relations. I had a cat for about five years when I was growing up which I hugged a lot, or I would have probably been worse off than I was. Even now I live alone with my two cats, and when I leave the house I always say, “be back in a little, you be good,” and when I get home, I say, “I’m home.” I tell them I love them all the time. I talk to them and touch them like another person in the house. I never past them without rubbing my hand down their back or rubbing the top of their nose, they love that. This gives me practice for my human relations. I get used to touching and making warm and friendly remarks.
If you are having problems as I mentioned above try my technique and be patient with yourself, it may not happen overnight, but the comfort with giving and receiving touch will come.
Touch is powerful and can not only affect us but profoundly affects society. If everyone’s hands were an extension of their heart, we would live in a much better world.