Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The much anticipated rant...Hugs and the Power of Touch

Here we go… my much anticipated rant.

Hugs and the Power of Touch

I have encountered some of what I consider the best huggers in NJ. Although I am still friends with most of them, I don’t get hugged all that often. I miss hugging. I have a handful of friends, new and old, that do not hug. This is quite disheartening.
Last week, I saw a very dear friend. She gave me a hug, and didn’t let go. In the past we saw each other every day; recently I am lucky if I see her monthly. She is the best hugger… I miss that. My ex’s kids were very affectionate kids. To this day, when I see them, they always give me long emotion filled hugs.

There is great power in touch. It conveys a number of emotions; for example, touch can convey anger, fear, happiness, sadness, disgust, love, gratitude or sympathy. Touch is very important for the premature baby lying in the incubator. A mother’s touch comforts and can even increase the babies’ weight. Hugs are important to adults also. When we feel hurt, embarrassed or depressed a hug can do a lot of good for a person’s self worth. A simple touch can convey love, tenderness, friendship, caring, sympathy and support.


I think the world would be a better place if we touched more. However, I am not suggesting that you hug a stranger. During Catholic Mass you share the sign of peace with your neighbors; however, at a Lutheran service you take 10 minutes to walk around and shake everyone’s hands. I am sure that 3 second contact is the only skin to skin contact that most of the elderly parishioners have for that week. I am also confident that moment in time makes a persons day. It is the simple things in life, which we take for granted; that simplistic gesture also make a gloomy day-sunny.

An infant needs to be touched. The child needs the affection to grow physically and emotionally; then as we grow into toddlers we struggle to be independent. We push away from our parents when we are being held. That autonomy grows as we become adolescents, and young adults. It is no longer cool to get a hug from your parents. It is awkward to be touched by a family member. The way our parents have raised us has a large bearing on whether we are affectionate adults. I was not born into a touchy family. We have love for each other but we do not show it. We are however expected to give a hug and kiss goodbye.


I guess I would just suggest that we be mindful of the affect our touch has on another person. A hug or a gentle touch can make someone’s day. It is a simple gesture that can mean so much. I am going to leave you with the words of Leo F. Buscaglia:
Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, and honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

See these links:

Five-Second Touch Can Convey Specific Emotion, Study Finds
Premature babies and touch
Define: Osculate

Interpersonal Relationships

During the 90's people started using gaming systems, cell phones, and computers so much more, and actually doing so much less. During this time we have created little robots without the skills needed to develop strong interpersonal relationships.
Let’s take a typical day when I was a teenager. I would go to school, then come home and do my homework. Once that was completed I would play my Game Boy, watch TV, talk on the phone or instant message. When I needed my mom, I would IM her.
The availability of electronics discouraged us from forming a relationship with another person. If I wanted to talk to a friend I would IM, text or even pass a note in class. If I wanted to play a game, I would get my Game Boy or go online and play. I would play against myself or a computer generated player. This is when we started to lose our interpersonal skills. Instead of riding a bike with Bobby or taking a walk with Suzie; we had our computer. I believe that was the turning point for most people. Looking back, I think we took for granted how many life lessons were learned by playing with Bobby and Suzie.

We learned how to communicate and navigate through positive and negative emotions and experiences and not hid behind the fa├žade of our cell phones. If something happened between you and your friend you would tell him, “hey you hurt my feelings” and together you would work it out. Now we are able to disguise our feelings or even just ignore them. We have become hard, unemotional beings unable to handle our feelings. When we do feel something we tend to shy away from the feeling because we are unfamiliar with it or just embarrassed with what we feel.
We as a population in my opinion are emotionally stunted. When we have a friend that is able to recognize their emotions and act on them, they are coined “sensitive”. I think the negative connotation behind calling someone” sensitive” is from an unemotional person’s jealousy.
I have a really hard time talking to my mom partially because she cannot keep anything to herself. I would say the rest is because I plum don’t want to do it. During the most crucial time of my teenage years when I should have been figuring how to communicate with others, I sat in my room and my Mom in hers and we would IM. Now when things have come up in my adulthood that I need to talk to my Mom about, I experience stress and anxiety. It feels natural to discuss important life altering discussions over IM, however I know better. It’s a major ordeal every time. Maybe if we spent more interpersonal one on one time when I was younger, I would be better at this today.

Don't smother each other. No one can grow in the shade. ~Leo Buscaglia

Monday, January 10, 2011

Not Fair

I just got word that a friends cousin has breast cancer that has spread all over. She was diagnosed two years ago, but it has come back with vengeance. She's 30. Thirty...Set...Trenta....Trideset...Triginti...  No matter how you say it, or what language, she is thirty. Her life is just beginning... I know I did not start to live until 30. There are so many things she has yet to do. Its not right, its not fair, something has to be done.

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

Friday, January 7, 2011

32 Months and Counting!!!!

I went to my Endocrinologist last week, and she said I am cancer free...
32 months and counting.....
I try not to let it bother me when I am going for my check-ups....
but then again I am always waiting for the other shoe to fall. 
I was lucky to find it the first time....
I might not be so lucky next time.... 
I definitely believe 
What Will Be Will Be
Everything Happens For A Reason
It is out of my hands....
But as always I am grateful for my blessings

An Irish Blessing

I saw this last week, and wanted to share with you...

May God Grant you always...
a sunbeam to warm you,
 a moonbeam to charm you,
 a sheltering angel so nothing can harm you,
laughter to cheer you,
faithful friends near you-
and whenever you pray for heaven to hear you.
 An Irish Blessing