We all have had moments where we just aren’t ourselves.
All of these moments are lows. We long to be “high” all the time. Not in the medicinal way, but in the emotional way. We search for things to fill those lows.
We use food as an antidepressant more often than for nourishment. It has become acceptable to say “I am so sad that I am going to go home and eat that tub of ice cream/whole bag of chips.” We rely on that non human object to smooth our despair.
We run. Many runners will say running is a great way to relieve stress. I like to get out on the road, but I do not necessarily feel less stressed when I do. It is nice, but it just doesn’t change my attitude. For some it makes them feel like they have run away from the world. For me, it makes me feel like the world is right on my heels.
We search the Internet for friends. We collect “likes” and “hashtags” and “loves” and “comments”. Dating isn’t even in person anymore. We look for love on our phone or our laptop. We sometimes value the thoughts of a person miles away on a keyboard over those of the person sitting across the dining room table from us. We long for contact, but it may not be what will help.
We get hurt. We get angry. We stop talking to our closest friends. Years go by. We let that anger steep inside of us like an old tea bag. Getting more bitter and cold the longer we steep. Friendships go sour over a wrong look, or a misinterpreted voice message. Or a person with postpartum depression and social anxiety not returning phone calls because it is just too painful.
We even turn to things like alcohol and drugs to manage our pain. Drink until you fall asleep. Get as wild as possible at a party so that no one knows you are hurting. Complain about the cost of the alcohol in your hand. It is a choice you make.
In my opinion, there is something greater. The power of touch. The moment I fell in love with my husband was when he kissed my forehead as I was mourning a friend. In that moment, I felt like he was removing the pain from my body. When my anxieties are rising, a deep hug from my husband or one of my children helps to ease the rising feeing of stress. My own children melt into the arms of a hug when their day isn’t quite what they expected. A child who is sick wants to be laying on the couch with their head in moms lap.
A high five is the ultimate expression of joy! When we have success we reach out for one, or a fist bump, or a celebratory hug. We seek out contact in celebration because we know that the two feelings go together. It is ingrained in us from birth. The crying child reaches for their mother because mother is the source of food, comfort, love. As the infant gets older, they reach for others, father, grandparents, friends, siblings. They discover quickly that reaching out, drawing another in, brings comfort.
Humans need each other. Families need to hug, to high five, to love each other. I have observed lately that when we stop and just comfort, the anxieties of our day relax, and our heads are clear.
The human touch can do so much. And yes it can do harm, but I want to focus on the positive effects it can have on you as a person.
Lift up those around you who need to be loved. You never know how you might be helping them.