Human Touch

Hugging is a spontaneous reaction to a loving emotion.  We all do it. “Huggers” are more likely to hug!  Human emotion is complex and when allowed to be exhibited in an uninhibited way, great joy is possible.

Natural human extincts are often subliminal and reactive, ensuring the continuation of the species. I believe that when we are very young, we aren’t even aware of the behaviour. Children go about their daily lives unselfconscious, until they’re not. Somewhere along the journey to adulthood, many children lose their inhibitions and become shy and sometimes withdrawn. The education system and society in general is not that solicitous towards the empathetic hugger and is more impressed by a stoicism which in my opinion may have a place in a public space but no place in a loving family.

On March 13th, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Pandemic, and Canadians were encouraged to lockdown and stay home for the first time in their lives. Essential workers and professionals were encouraged to remain vigilant and disciplined to social distancing. Later, upon the return to school, teachers were encouraged to remain distanced from their students, students were encouraged to wear masks and covid- 19 protocols were put into place.

The Pandemic of 2020 will certainly go down in the history books as one on the most surprising events of the decade. This “Novel Coronavirus – 19” has changed our lives globally in a way most of us have never seen in our lifetimes. And, it isn’t over yet. The second Christmas is fast approaching and Canadians will be asked to remain vigilant with the pandemic protocols – how will this affect us long term is a question I have repeatedly asked myself.

As people age we may need more hugs.  No doubt some would say “No!  Leave me Alone!  I’m o.k!”  And I would understand that ~ it is never hard to tell when someone is uncomfortable with touch and would sooner you left them alone.  Hopefully your nonverbal communication skills kick in and you give them a friendly nod or handshake.

However, the purpose of this post is to discuss the fact that we all have different ideas about a lot of things, including human touch.  And, it is unfair for any one of us to assume to understand the thoughts inside another person’s head.  I was at a social gathering where hand shaking practices and hugging in public were being discussed. Let’s face it, if it is flu season best not to have too much human contact.  That being said the conversation soon became focussed on inappropriate touch.  It didn’t take long ~ the subject did an about face and soon everyone was regaling experiences in their lives when somebody touched them inappropriately.

I agreed with some of the concerns voiced by these women, including potential misunderstandings associated with in touch.  However, I couldn’t help but observe from my own  life experiences how debilitating this can be in certain situations.  I can recall many situations when I was relieved to have this focussed attention:   a hand on my shoulder as my gastroenterologist told me I was gonna be ok, my family doctor looking straight into my eyes and asking me what else was bothering me,  a yoga instructor helping me to back off on a difficult pose with a hand on my back,  or encouraging others to sink more deeply……….friends we have all hugged in happy and difficult situations.

The real problem arises when we involve children in this scenario and unfortunately they need us the most.  To all the adults who have abused this privilege, shame on you.  You spoiled it for everybody else.  A small percentage of adults responsible for children – whether they are boy scout leaders, coaches, priests, family friends, relatives – if they cross the line, they ruin it for all of us.  It is amazing how lovely most people really are ~ there are so many great folks that we all know.  There is sooo much goodness in the world and yet this 1% have a lot of power. Liberty and Freedom are experiences that we all deserve.


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