In intrapersonal reflections and personal conversations, I’ve been thinking and exploring an observation for quite awhile now: we’ve slowly been moving, on some level, to a fear-centered culture-norm of depersonalization, desensitizing, and “high-tech, low-touch” — or, as this article suggests, no touch.
At the same time, research shows increasing levels of isolation, social anxiety, depression, and disconnection, with all of their associated costs and effects.
A no-brainer, right?
Because humans (and other beings) need touch, as it turns out.
We know, for example, that infants can actually die without loving touch — even if they’re receiving adequate food nutrition (1).
But the need for compassionate, healing, loving touch isn’t just for babies. We know this, too.
Believe me, I’ve always been one to appreciate having healthy boundaries respected, particularly when it comes to someone being all up into your personal space without invitation, feeling like someone’s aiming to devour you, or getting handsy (or worse) in a seriously threatening and toxic way.
At the same time, healthy touch and affection is a joy and a comfort. It feels essential. We are, after all, sensual beings, not robots.
Giving or receiving comfort if you’re grieving, holding the hand of someone who’s lonely, giving or receiving a hug when it’s appropriate, touching the arm of someone who’s laughing or celebrating with you — whether on the giving or receiving end, these seem the stuff of healthy humanity.
The research backs that up.
That line of ‘appropriate and healthy touching’ has been badly breached, unfortunately, so we’re exploring and re-defining it right now, with, I hope, healthy and humane results.
In The Guardian article, No Hugging: Are We Living Through a Crisis of Touch?, Paula Cocozza writes,
“Strokes and hugs are being edged out of our lives, with doctors, teachers and colleagues increasingly hesitant about social touching. Is this hypervigilance of boundaries beginning to harm our mental health?”
Cocozza goes on to give various examples and perspectives of the No Touching norm that’s emerging as tech-A.I., over-zealous political correctness, and the justifiable backlash from the #MeToo revelations incline people toward the (seeming) safety of No Touch.
And the No Touching pendulum likely started swinging long before the Autumn 2017 Weinstein, Et. Al. and #MeToo stories hit the news, for reasons that Cocozza mentions.
“Is this what a crisis of touch looks like? And if so, what do humans risk losing, when we lose touch?” she asks.
A lot, as it turns out.
But we already know this, too.
The Times Now News offers an article on the health and wellness benefits of hugging.
Others, including the links in this post, offer up plentiful research on the benefits of compassionate, loving, healing touch — and the actual harm that comes from none at all.
The challenge is to keep a constructive dialogue unfolding about respectful and wellbeing-supportive communication and interactions, so we can explore ‘right relating’ that includes healthy, appropriate touch (which Cocozza describes) versus the more obvious toxic-normal boundary breaches in unhealthy or downright threatening Power-Over situations.
Read The Guardian article – “No Hugging: Are We Living Through a Crisis of Touch?”
Your sense and perspective of this issue and what might help?
Featured Image Credit: Giving and receiving comfort. PD image by Skeeze courtesy of Pixabay.
What might you create, live into, and affect for the better in the coming months?
How might you reconnect with your own unique Golden Thread?
For passion-stirring clues, epiphanies, and greater clarity on what has joy, heart, and meaning for you — your unique gifts — team with me as your inspiration partner, mentor, and navigation guide.
Give, Receive & Support the Work
If you’ve found regular inspiration … or a super-handy dose of it … in this and other Sophia’s Children articles and offerings, consider supporting the work in one of these ways:
Lots of love,