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.