The Power of Touch

Monday, December 28, 2009

I have a confession to make. I'm one of these touchy-feely people. I need the reassurance of a hug, or a kiss on the forehead, or my hand being held out in public. Unfortunately it has been lack of reciprocal touch that has caused many a relationship downfall for me and many other women who have dated or been in relationships with men who have not realised the importance of touch. Of course this can work both ways - I know of several women who have not been particularly touch-oriented. It's not for everyone. But until you're absolutely sure your partner doesn't appreciate subtle touching - don't rule it out. A touch can say anything from "I'm here" to "I'm so, so sorry" to "I love everything that you are". It is one of the most beautiful ways to communicate - and one of the ways we forget about as time goes on and we get older.

Touching, hugging, snuggling - whatever you want to call it - can be done in a myriad of ways. Of course there is the obvious - in bed, on the couch, in the bath, when you greet or say goodbye. But there are so many other opportunities to show that you're still there, and that they have your full attention. Great places and times for sneaky hugs include:
  • when one of you is on the phone
  • in the grocery line 
  • in the kitchen preparing dinner (my favourite kind of hugs!)
  • in bookshops
  • on a cold winter night (BLANKET HUGS!)
  • while one of you is sitting at the computer
  • passing by a mirror
Oh it doesn't have to be a crash-tackle hug every time! Just a wrap-your-arms-around-I-adore-you hug. Or even a hand running down their back. Or a kiss on the shoulder. 

Destroying the Negative Inner-Monologue.
I won't speak for all women here - but I know that many of us have these continuous inner dialogues that keep churning and churning (you might know the "Oh god, am I fat? monologue - it's an old favourite. "Am I fat? I shouldn't have worn these pants today. Maybe if I wore my new heels, they make my legs look longer and I won't look so frumpy. Should I get changed? I'm going to get changed. But changed into what? I knew I shouldn't have eaten that pasta for dinner last night. I'm definitely going to the gym. As soon as the new year starts. And I pay for my car to be fixed and then there's the kids tuition...right. I don't need a gym. I can do this myself. I'll start walking every day. And cutting out carbs. And I'm going to throw out all that chocolate. Except for those liqueur chocolates I got for Christmas..that would just be rude. I'm going to eat those and then I'll start. Right...")

Many of us have this inner monologue about everything. A lot of the time it's about our appearance. If you're in the room, I can guarantee that you'll be the main topic.

"I wonder what he meant by what he said before. I know it could be taken two ways - I have to be careful I don't over-react. Right. I'm going to read his body language - that's how I'll know. I've walked by the couch three times now. He's just staring at the TV. Maybe he's avoiding me. Maybe it's true. I mean, if it was the other explanation, surely he'd be looking at me differently or showing me otherwise? He's falling out of love with me. I probably talk too much. Or.....oh god, I know what it is. It's the weight I've put on. I KNEW I shouldn't have eaten that pasta for dinner last night...."
(see dialogue #1 for the remainder of THAT conversation). 

I know that many of my inner monologues have been disrupted by my hand being taken as I walk past, or a warm hug or a touch at the base of my spine. I actually attribute this to the reason my current relationship works. He knows me well enough to know that my thoughts spiral off into overdrive sometimes. One heartfelt touch destroys the power of the negativity inside my head and immediately I am warm, I am loved and I am reassured once more.

Try it. It may not come naturally to you right away - but give it time, it will be worth the effort. 


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