24Jul

    Touch the Secret to Healing?

    The genuine, comforting touch of a persoin can make all the difference in the healing process.

    The genuine, comforting touch of a persoin can make all the difference in the healing process.

    In recent years, the word ‘touch’ has been developed and been assigned negative connotations.  The word is associated with items of sexual harassment and abuse; mostly negative affections are acknowledged, and positive reaffirmations often get thrown to the wayside.  However, according to an article for The Huffington Postcompleted by a life coach, the removal of this negative viewpoint on the word is crucial to finding true happiness in one’s life.

    The article was prompted by feedback received from one of the life coach’s clients.  The client indicated that the coach’s regular physical contact in accompanying their sessions helped heal even more than the words and advice the coach issued.  Prior to this, the coach didn’t really notice the persistent touching they issued; it was an unconscious effort, which resulted from growing up in a physically affectionate family.

    As soon as this realization was found, further thought was pursued.  Based in Los Angeles, the coach shortly realized that most individuals automatically apologize if they even get too close to someone else in their travels about the city.  The coach found this sad, as they recalled the benefits they received from the physical contact pursued by their parents.  A simple stroking of the back could ease stress and increase a healthy understanding of the individual’s sense of self.

    But touch and physical contact has shown to be little more than a dirty word to the general public, in the opinion of the coach.  It seems that society—particularly in the United States—has developed a fear of touching.  Apologies are issued before physical contact even occurs, based in the conception that it is an invasion of privacy.  The term is now most often associated with sexual harassment or abuse.  However, in the coach’s childhood, touching was associated with connection and unity; it was a means of communication and a gesture of caring and friendship.  When the coach first arrived in the United States, this disconnect between their definition of touch and the general public of the nation was brought to attention.  The coach’s lawyer had originally believed the coach was hitting on him, as their inclination towards touching was obviously perceived as uncommon.

    However, that was not the case; the coach had simply been raised that touch is the first and most important language we learn to express.  As infants and children, we demand to be held.  With time, as observed by the coach, some are told to stop reaching for touch, as they are a big boy or girl now and should no longer require that validation.

    For the coach, this is a completely incorrect message to send.  Through the power of touch, individuals can decode emotions; touch is more versatile and sophisticated than verbal communications.  To ignore it is to let some part of a person’s individuality behind.  To truly find happiness, we must become comfortable with reaching out for others and encouraging reaching out in return.  Caving to the fear of touching due to a concern of having affections returned inappropriately leads to a shell of a life.  Actions speak louder than words—a message of love will be received much quicker through a hug than through the uttering of the words—and, therefore, touching should not be viewed as a negative, but as a pursuit of health and happiness.

    13Jul

    Knowing Values Key to Fulfillment

    Practice positivity by listing the values that are most important to YOU and trying to live them out each day.

    Practice positivity by listing the values that are most important to YOU and trying to live them out each day.

    One of the most pulling subplots to the travesty that was the Holocaust is those who risked their lives to shelter the Jews.  Some took this a step further, using their positions of power and authority to find ways to allow Jews to escape to locations of safety. One such man was Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Catholic diplomat who served as the Portuguese counsel general in Bordeaux, France during the war.  As Portugal was neutral in the war, de Sousa was in a unique position to grant visas for Jews looking to escape.  Despite a law that was in place requiring prior permission before travels were approved, de Sousa and his staff managed to grant thirty thousand visas in the course of three days.  For his actions, his superiors with the Portuguese Foreign Office dismissed him of his duties and stripped him of his rank, salary and pension.  Regardless of all he lost, even years after the fact, when de Sousa spoke of his actions, he was clearly proud of his decisions.

    De Sousa’s example raises a question of the decisions leaders make and the possible actions and reactions.  According to an article recently completed for The Huffington Post, leaders face difficult decisions like de Sousa’s every day; granted, not all of these choices are a matter of life or death—and, as a result, the gap between competing values can be less wide—and, therefore, the better choice between the two can become less clear.  An everyday application of this gap is provided in the article, as leaders of a family struggle with how to provide sufficient monetary funds for their family and still find time to spend valuable quality time with said family.

    The article advises a common practice encouraged by life coaches to help in navigating the gap between competing values. Often, coaches will suggest their clients create a values list, which contains ideals and principles most important to the individual. Some examples provided include caring, decisiveness, being family-oriented and loyal.  To develop this list, coaches often guide the author through decisions and times of contentment experienced in the past.  Which decisions have provided a sense of pride? Which experienced accomplishments resulted in the most contentment?  From this, the client can often discern what their priorities in life are—what they value the very most out of life.