Quality Snuggle Time – Many researchers have confirmed the reality that we need touch in order to survive. We MUST have physical contact with other beings. We are programmed in a way that we experience great distress (both emotional and physical) if we lose that necessary contact.
When I was in university I lived with roommates for many years. As I tend to be a person that is slower to warm up to people and trust them, I tend to be more reserved in my interactions with people, particularly physically. As a result, I literally went multiple years without regular physical contact (i.e.: hugs, etc.) I DID have TONS of friends and would socialize from sunrise to sunset, but somehow regular hugs or other types of touch were not part of my daily interactions with individuals for those collegiate years.
I was touch deprived and did not really know or understand it. But what I did start to notice was the feeling I had when people did touch me. Whenever I got a supportive pat on the back or hug from a friend, it would literally send chills to my spine. Because I was not regularly experiencing person to person touch, when it did occur it was literally as though each touch had an electric quality to it. It went from my skin to my bones. Sometimes I would even feel my stomach drop. When I did get those occasional pats on the back and hugs I would freeze. Unfortunately, this probably caused the individuals to stop, as I was not responding in a socially appropriate way (hugging back, thanking them, telling them not to stop). Ironically, I froze because I did not want it to stop and was afraid somehow that any movement at all would cause the contact to be broken. My frozen response caused exactly what I did not want – the touch to stop.
I am long past that time in my life, and with a loving partner and two wonderful girls there is caring personal touch, hugs and kisses daily. Because touch is such a regular part of my life, I feel comforted by it – one random touch no longer shoots through my entire body as though I have experienced an electric surge. That time in my life made me so appreciative of having a loving family and understanding that safe, healthy, nurturing, physical contact is part of that loving structure. That time also emphasized to me the critical need for hugs, kisses, and cuddling – personal touch of a non-sexual nature, touch that is a vehicle of love, support and comfort.
Today, 317 days ’til 40, I will remind myself of the critical need all beings have for safe, loving personal touch. I will remember to reach out with hugs to my girls and partner, as well as my pets. As I reach out to them, I also reap the benefits of as I give to myself simultaneously.
I hope that every being on this earth will one day get receive the personal touch they desperately need and deserve. It is the way we are programmed.