I will begin by saying that there are vast differences of opinion as to which emotion or event in people’s lives contributes to loneliness more frequently than the absents of the sense of touch, or I could say the lack of touch. Questions that might be asked are; “Does the individual ever get enough hugs, a hand that gently caresses, the stimulating vibration of the spoken word as it strokes the skin.”
Unfortunately, the usual is not enough when dealing with humans and it is surely not enough when talking about holistic medicine. Quality life requests that specific connections exist between the man, his person, the environment in which he lives and his spiritual nature. This connection is established at birth and continues through life. With this in mind I will be discussing what I believe to be the most important element in a relationship that of Touch.
I will begin by saying that TOUCH is the first sense that is developed in the womb. Humans are not alone because all species of animal studied seem to indicate that they also develop their sense of touch before birth. Touch depends upon the growth and development of the largest organ we have: our skin. Our skin “sees” for us before birth and conveys the reality of our surroundings to our developing brain.
WITHIN THE WOMB, our bodies communicate through it’s intimate relationship to the mother. The fetus is constantly cuddled, caressed, stroked, and kissed. And our life system assumes the patterns of our mother’s emotional life. If the mother feels verbal, physical, or spiritual abuse, the developing child also does. If she feels constant anxiety, fear, anger, contentment, love, or grief the developing child also does. Her external environment is transmitted to the child which helps shape their behavioral environment.
AT BIRTH, the face is more sensitive to touch and pressure than other parts of the body. We can see our skin, it can be examined easily, it represents our initial effort to communicate with our external environment, and it is capable of being our most stimulating of all our organs. It provides a mirror of our self-esteem, health, and identity. Therefore, sensitivity to touch develops from the head downward, as if radiating an awareness outward from the brain.
COMPULSIVE PATTERNS. If such a pattern is not constructively dealt with from the womb, we will develop energy blocks as well as possible physical disabilities. Those biochemical-wired connections between stimuli and reaction, called chemical neurotransmitters, compel us to try to reconstruct those patterns we learn as a developing human being, and project those learned patterns through our attitudes, behavior and an equally important hormonal pattern in life by creating energy blocks. This includes the biochemical changes that are forced on the developing child that occur when the mother eats or drinks.
ENERGY BLOCKS RESTRICT OUR CHOICES. Freeing ourselves from their domination demands a commitment in time energy, and financial resources in order to regain control over our success and our future. Energy Blocks are biochemical nerve signal that dams and creates detours preventing a constructive and flexible response to life events from happening. They are most frequently exhibited as destructive behavioral patterns. Such patterns, habits or personal characteristics can be acquired in a variety of ways: inherited habits are often genetically based, emotional fears passed on through mother, physical menace, biological hazard, social punishment, or, spiritual abuse.
At this point, you might ask, “What has all this to do with ‘Touch and Loneliness’?” I have taken the liberty to include a short poem that defines what the emotion of loneliness means to me.
Is like an everlasting thought,
that runs in and out of my mind
All I ask is for someone to care.
All I need is someone to care.
Someone to be there, for me when,
I really do need them.
I think I hear my heart,
yes, it speaks to me as I write,
often through the black of night.
One moment my heart, is telling me something.
If I hear this right,
it is telling me how much I miss you.
If only you knew what a simple hug
or a gentle touch could do.
Without, I feel crushed like flowers caught in a storm.
I feel empty like no one cares… No one to care for.
And worst of all, it may now be true!
No one knows just how I feel,
through these rough times.
These long nights.
What I really need, is for you to be my friend.
I’ve shown you how much I care,
now all I ask, is for you to be there
when I need a friendly face to remind me
of the beauty of this intricate lace,
I call touch. ~ Author Unknown
The definitions of loneliness are many, such quaint explanations as Loneliness: solitary, without company; lacking sympathetic or friendly companionship or relationships. How many people fit that description? There is the old man who shuffles down the sidewalk every morning, and your Auntie, who recently left her neighborhood of fifty years to live in a nursing home in a different city. Somewhere in this city there is the latch-key child who spends three hours at home alone each afternoon, and the single dad who moved into your apartment building. There is the relationship break up. There is your coworker or an Internet buddy who just doesn’t fit in to any of the usual social gatherings, and there is the scientist who spends twelve hours every day in an office working at a computer. Loneliness is a condition that crosses all gender, ethnic and socioeconomic barriers.
What a sad commentary in this age of astounding medical advancements and technological wizardry that people fall prey to the negative effects of loneliness at an alarming rate. The most difficult lesson that I had to adjust to was to realize that being around other people is not enough to prevent loneliness. Rather, it is the quality of the relationship that will determine whether a person feels lonely.
So what? So, what’s a little loneliness? It’s not like a fatal disease, right? Wrong. Loneliness is a stress like pain, injury/loss, grief, fear, fatigue, and exhaustion. Loneliness can be traumatic. Physiologically, loneliness can trigger the same stress response as a broken leg. This causes our bodies to alter the production of hormones, which in turn alters every cell in our body. Stress like this has been implicated in contributing to the origin or severity of diseases. But enough said. Loneliness is not something to be ignore. Real loneliness begins with an inability to communicate one’s feelings, and touch is the major expression of our feelings.
Come, I’ll share with you, my thoughts.
But you must come with an open mind. Do not react negatively to my assertions until you have heard me out. I believe that many of us can be helped if we really desire that help. But, how can we tell what we need?
Loneliness originates from knowledge of our uniqueness. Every human being has that something within that is unique to him or her. There is a specific identity. There are specific thoughts. There is a capacity for us to know, to reason, to understand and to exist. And, instinctively, we know that we are unique. We know that no one else has our thoughts, our exact feelings, our ideas and most of all no one shares our identity. That identity, that something that makes us unique, is ours to possess alone. We come to know that there is no one out there exactly like ourselves. Oh, there may who resemble us and there may be some who sounds like us, or may even share some personality traits similar to ourselves. However, we are all unique inside. We are true spiritual beings having a human experience.
The only true escape I have from loneliness is to have someone else to share that space I call my inner being. In short, we communicate this intimate experience by our first developed sense… touch. An impossible task, you say. Well, not really. If one believes in their spiritual qualities, then one must admit that the human shell has long been a home for this wonderful personage, another spirit who is willing to enter and share that individual’s life. The process of sharing is the only one in existence that can truly remove loneliness. That co-habitation is the only cure for that deep, lonely feeling that human’s worldwide share. In addition, that Spirit is in unison with the living God, and Jesus Christ.
I can say truthfully that my deep feelings of loneliness left when God’s Spirit came into my body and I into him. Oh, I have been lonely in the sense that I wanted someone to talk to, wanted company, or missed my family. Those kind of feelings will always exist. However, I am talking about that deep, inner loneliness that comes from knowing that inside, you are all alone. That is a fatal feeling that no one is home but you.
Someone beside me is now home, and lives within me. I know that and can testify to that. I sense that and I experience that. As it is written: “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:16. I KNOW someone is in there now. There is someone else home besides me that can touch me.
It is important for all of us to know that life must exist in balance. Judaic Christian principles hold that “everything should be taken in moderation”. Unfortunately, moderation for one is to much is still not enough for another. Since the sense of touch is emotionally charged sprouting from the limbic system, which is our emotional seat we can see that the state of loneliness is an expression of imbalance existing in the biochemical communication system of the body. And as such can be balanced when fed the right kinds of natural substances. Not more drugs or increased risky behavior.