Human Affection – Can We Live Without It?
Just before I steam ahead with today’s post, if you are looking for Part 2 of ‘Lifting the Lid on Depression’ – It is on its way, just continue to let part 1 settle…. just for a little while longer…
So – Just before Christmas I met the husband of a close friend for the first time. He came to pick me up in his car to take me to their home for a lavish dinner. As he got out of the car to greet me in the car park of the local supermarket, he popped his hand out to shake the usually English (and probably American too) greeting. I flung my arms open and hugged him, saying how lovely it was to finally meet him.
Some days later, when my friend, his wife, was recalling what he had said the next day: ‘He said you hugged him as soon as you met, I told him ‘Oh, Matt hugs everyone’, I became curious as to why that needed to be said. So I thought about it.
Here is what I came up with:
WE DON’T HUG ENOUGH!!!
I am me, so I hadn’t actually realised that I hug everyone or that it might be unusual but clearly it seems to be. Why do I do this? There are three reasons – firstly, it is automatic (I can’t help myself), secondly, I am fulfilling a need to be loved, thirdly, I am projecting that onto the other person.
Is this a problem?
We all need human affection. Can we live without it? Yes of course we can – should we? NO WE SHOULDN’T.
Many years ago – and I apologise for the vague information here but I am trying to recall it from the depths – there was some research done into the need for human touch and the effect this has on emotional health and serotonin production. I think the research was in Japan and when I tell you how they did it you will understand why –
They first had the control group who spent time together being touched and held as they would normally, they then had people in complete isolation not being touched at all – then – drum roll please – they had a group who wore suits that imitated human touch by electrical stimulation and pressure. There was no actual human touch.
The results of the study?
- The serotonin levels of the control group remained steady
- The people in isolation became depressed and serotonin levels plummeted
- The people in the suits (who were all alone) also remained steady!
The conclusion? That human beings need to be touched.
For me and the way that I work – I would interpret this study as ‘People need to feel loved’ – because it isn’t (in my opinion) the physical sensation of being touched itself that enables us to operate as healthy balanced and happy human beings – it is our concious and – FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY – subconscious mind’s interpretation of this sensation that is playing ball here (remember that the subconscious can’t tell the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real one).
- ‘I am being touched therefore I am loved, therefore I am whole’.
This is a big deal guys – listen up and go out there and hug someone. It doesn’t matter, really, why you feel the need – just do it. Sure sometimes I get some funny looks, often-times guys (and it usually is guys) flinch as their sexuality is challenged – but do you know something? I no longer care what people think of me – Why?
Because I know who I am.
There is a paradox here – can you see it? It is remarkably beautiful to be able to offer complete and unconditional affection to strangers – it is deeply saddening that I have to be THIS confident in myself in order to live in my reality.
There is a stunning human being in India, her name is Amma:
Thank You to Savita for the use of the above image: Amma is world-renowned for her unique form of healing: She hugs everyone. Thousands upon thousands of people attend her speeches and gatherings, queuing for hours just to hug her. Very often people report that the experience changed their lives.
And again – a little sad – are we really all craving love and affection that much.
BECAUSE WE DON’T HUG ENOUGH.
Have I got my point across? Are you going to launch yourself at me with your arms outstretched when we meet?
I very much look forward to it,
Until Next Time and With So Much Love You Could Go POP!
Matt Chase 🙂