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We Yearn for Touch: Our Life Cycle

We yearn to be touched. We seek it in relationships or casual encounters. We expect it from family and even pay for it if it can’t be attained any other way. Even in our language, there’s so much touching going on. ‘He captured his audience.’ ‘Her story was gripping, it touched my heart.’ ‘ His words reached out to me.’

A baby in her mother’s womb is in a warm, comfortable, snugly place where she is getting all she needs and wants nothing. Then she has to go through birth. Which is, come to think of it, the most devastating thing that a baby could go through. From womb to this big, spacious, and cold world, is a shock, to say the least. That’s why you usually find babies wrapped in blankets. We try to simulate the feeling of being in the womb, surrounded by warmth.

During infancy, a baby is totally dependent on her mother for everything. Food, warmth, getting cleaned, etc. All she needs to do is cry or be cute and she will get what she wanted. The message is ‘don’t ever leave me.’ Then as a toddler, she wants to explore her surroundings. She is less attached to her mother and wants to venture on her own to see what’s out there. She knows that mum is always close by to go to if the tough gets going.

A woman standing in a field holding her daughter in the air

The message now becomes ‘leave me alone, I need to explore.’ As a teen, things become a little different. She wants to be her own self. Pick her own clothes. Interference from her mother is not as welcome anymore. Goodbye kisses as she’s dropped off at school are no longer cool. The message now is ‘don’t come close to me, I need my space.’

Soon enough that baby is an adult and on her own. The world feels big, spacious, and maybe cold. With her parents out of the picture, now she will seek to have a relationship that in a way, duplicates the relationship with the parents. It is a process similar to what she went through as a baby.

At the beginning of the relationship, the couple is madly in love and inseparable. Having sex or being intimate is a daily thing. The unspoken message is ‘I can’t live without you, don’t ever leave me.’ Then, once this stage wears off, it becomes more like. I need some time for myself or a weekend with my girlfriends. The togetherness starts to suffocate her and the message to her partner is ‘leave me alone, I need my space.’

The relationship continues and they move in together or get married. Sex becomes a thing for special occasions or an infrequent occurrence. With all the merging of free time, activities, friends, and vacations, her personal identity starts to blur into the marriage identity and she eventually gets to a point where the message is ‘get away from me, don’t touch me, I’m leaving.’ She leaves, but the search starts again to find that special someone who will make up for the intimacy that we all need and crave for.

A woman pointing to the door while a man carries two cardboard boxes

For some, the cycle is repeated indefinitely, for others it doesn’t. It is all about finding someone who will meet the need. You may relate to all this or to part of it. It is just the way things are.

One thing I know for sure is that it cannot be denied. Touch is a very important part of being human. So make sure you get yourself a hug today.

I wish people would care more about establishing real rapport in their interactions with each other. Rapport is total responsiveness between 2 people, it’s that connection and real communication. It is being authentic.

It starts with being upfront, honest and truthful 100%. Today, unfortunately, the definition of honesty and truthfulness is all too vague. Is 95% honesty enough? Would telling part of the truth be considered honest? What’s the difference between telling the whole truth that should be disclosed so the other person can have a clear honest picture of the truth, and telling only a part of the truth? For example, it was after a few dates, that I got to know a guy I was with in the past who had children,(ok, interesting), it was many months into our relationship that I found out he was afflicted with a disease (it was in remission so no pressure to mention it?)

side view of young couple sitting on sofa and talking while looking at each other

Most people use only words to communicate and thanks to social media (which is supposed to bring people together) and hiding behind screens, it is now the only way for many. The fact is that we only retain about 7% of what people say and the actual words they use, so a lot is missed. A lot is missed when there’s no voice (with all the richness of speed, tonality, and volume) and when there’s no body language (to read, mirror, touch or connect to). What quality of relationships do we end up with!?! No wonder the rate of divorce and the number of single parents are on the rise.

We all know a ton about relationships, interactions, and communication but even the well-read and most knowledgeable of us don’t do or apply the shit we learn. We all carry shit around with us from childhood (whether you want to admit it or not), and a lot of us claim we got it all under control when in reality most are clueless about what’s going on, and very few take the time to do the work it takes to change and sort out their shit instead of hauling it into their next relationship and the next and next!

All I can say is there are men & women who only think about their cars, looks, and ego instead of listening and being totally present with the human being they are in a relationship with and there are REAL men & women who are actually sincere and invest themselves in the relationships beyond that with themselves. Real people who would give selflessly to their children, their friends, and the world at large. It’s sad that only a few even understand what I’m talking about or would think they are not exempt from this. We all play a part.

At the end of the day, if we are all really truthful and honest in our every interaction, (especially with ourselves) life, human interactions, and establishing rapport would be much much easier. If people take a real look at themselves as much as they take selfies or change their Facebook profile pictures, if we spend less time judging others and instead constructively critique ourselves (instead of beating ourselves up aimlessly and thinking that’s enough)…we’d have a lot more happiness, love, and connection instead of fear, loneliness, and disconnection. The human race will not stand a chance if none of this changes. A love generation can never be created. And hearts will always be broken.

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