People need people.
People need “touch”.
People need people to “touch”
them and to “touch” back in return.
"Let's keep in touch" or "stay in
contact" communicates this tremendous human need to “touch” and be
Research has suggested that
orphaned babies may become ill and die if they are insufficiently
Other experimental studies have
suggested that all sorts of maladaptive patterns of behavior result
from either too little “touch” or the wrong kind of “touch”.
“Can you handle that" or is it
"just out of arm's reach"?
To “touch”, to make contact with,
to have and to hold and to get strokes from?
These are the phrases which
convey the value and importance of "connecting".
Why then does it occur so
In the beginning, a child is
born. Typically, they are totally cared for.
This includes feeding, bathing,
rocking, playing with and comforting.
Practically all of these
interactions are direct, immediate and physical.
During the course of relating to
the infant, various words, phrases, sounds and expressions (facial,
gestural, postural, etc.) are paired with the physical contact.
In time, the directness of the
stroking begins to take the form of indirect stroking through
actions and implications by significant others to the developing
child which connote attention, recognition or affections.
The child's early conditioning to
respond to a primary stimulus, “touch”, is now channeled to respond to a
secondary stimulus, words, gestures, etc., which serve to meet their
need in a less intense, less personal and less relevant fashion.
Thus, we can readily understand the
over-achiever's probable motivation in doing what they do.
Hopefully, if they can accomplish the
impossible, perhaps, they will, somehow or other, recreate their early
infantilized experience of "perfect love".
Unfortunately, all the fame and
fortune in the world cannot buy that back. So the vicious circle
I am reminded of many people I have
met throughout my the course of my life who stated they would forfeit
their entire fortune for one genuine and lasting hug or kiss or “touch”
from someone special.
To be touched, caressed and held.
A great, big bear-hug squeeze or just
a playful tweak.
A pat on the back or a firm handshake
Perhaps we have trained ourselves to
distance our touching behaviors lest we are touched in return.
For if we are, maybe we won't be
touched again in quite the same fashion.
And such a loss would be utterly
Perhaps it is better to have touched
and lost (the “touch”) then never to have been touched at all?
The challenge is to reach out into
the hollow, uncertain vortex of our lives and to ask, if need be, again
and again, for as long as is necessary, to “touch” and be touched.
Only then, can we even begin to
approximate the experience of being safe and protected and loved.
And if that “touch” happened, it
would certainly be most touching!
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