“Touch me in the morning.” Remember that song? It was a big hit for Diana Ross in 1973. Touching seems like such a simple human expression, one that should be an important part of our daily life. Yet, it appears that more and more it is becoming lost.
When we are very young, our parents provide tons of hugs, pats on the back, gentle massages—seemingly an endless supply of touching and caressing. As kids, we hug a friend, wrestle on the ground, and even steal a kiss, all without any thoughts of misconduct or impropriety. It is just simply a normal expression of being human.
Thinking back to college days, I remember seeing couples in constant embraces and lip locks (okay, yes…the hormones are most active then.) Bottom line, as I remember, it felt fantastic. To have a girlfriend snuggle up to me, play with my hair, or rub my back sent shivers and strong feelings through me.
Then, we got older! Society and its political correctness hardened us. When I first started teaching music in the 70’s, I could touch a student to demonstrate a correct breathing posture or correct way to form the muscles around their mouth for playing a clarinet. Slowly, that all went away. No more touching. Sure, I was able to alter my teaching methods, but it wasn’t the same.
Look at most newlyweds and you’ll see the act of touching very clearly—lots of handholding, arms around the waist, etc. Look at most older married folks and you don’t see that much. We begin to take each other for granted. Gradually, we slip away. The act of kissing becomes relegated to a peck on the cheek. We go on day after day without ever touching the person we fell in love with. When I see an elderly couple holding hands, I smile and think, “Yup, the spark is still there!”
The medical profession has published numerous articles on the healing power of touch. Yet, our society says no no. Now, instead of a handshake, there is the impersonal, macho fist bump. In some religions at a certain point in the service, there is the sign of peace. Can you see everyone doing the fist bump in church?
As I have thought more and more about this, I really believe that in a loving relationship, marriage or friendship, showing affection through a touch is vital. It sends a much stronger message than the spoken word. Whether there is a chemical release inside us or some other switch turned on, touching sends a positive signal to our soul. It revitalizes us. It affirms to a partner that they are loved and important.
So after reading this go hug that special person! And do it everyday!!