The significance of touch
Written by: Pedro Dutra
From: Brasília, Brazil
Edited by: Luana Mayer
I remember the time when my friend was going through a hard time, and she started crying. No one really saw anything or heard her cry, but as soon as I touched her back, trying to surprise her, I could feel her warm body surreptitiously diminishing as if each minute carried the poignant weight of eternity. Just by that single touch, I could feel her deepest wounds. I knew what she was feeling through a single touch. After a while, I thought about how interesting the act of “touching” is. It sounds so trivial, and we often perceive it as something so useless. Yet, since we practice it daily, we just forget how important “touching” is. Although touch is so powerful, one could categorize it as underrated.
Based on a single touch, you can feel who a person is, and if you already know them, you can feel what they are feeling. Through the sensation of someone touching your back, you can tell if the person is a stranger. The feeling you get when you touch someone and already know if they are sad or happy. Not to mention, there are studies showing that touch signals safety and trust; it’s simply soul-soothing. Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress. A simple touch can reduce cortisol (stress hormones), releases dopamine, the “happiness hormone”, and releases great amounts of oxytocin, aka “the love hormone”. Touch helps to nurture feelings of trust and connectedness. The importance of touch is immeasurable; it is simply everywhere, from your feet touching the ground to touching someone in discomfort and helping them get better by only doing this act. Or even in business when transmitting trust by touch, or in medicine by alleviating symptoms simply by following this act.
Although many people fail to recognize its importance, touch is crucial in our everyday life. The question then is, “Why do people often fail to value something or someone if they see it or do it frequently?”. In this case, it is no different. Since we use touch every moment of our lives, we fail to value it. Now that’s the problem. We end up losing interest in things we do frequently, thus becoming so used to it that we forget. As humans, we are so interested in doing everything at once all the time that we ultimately forget its principle, its nature, the reason why we do those things.
I was reading a book the other day called, “Sophie’s World,” a book about philosophy. Towards the middle of the book, the author made a comparison between a magic trick and the human experience of earth and life, “A lot of people experience the world with the same incredulity as when a magician suddenly pulls a rabbit out of a hat which has just been shown to them empty.” In other words, we, humans, experience the world with such naiveness and lack of knowledge about the universe and everything in it. We are that white rabbit being pulled out of a hat. The only difference is that the rabbit doesn’t know he is being part of a trick, we do. We feel we are part of something mysterious, bigger, and we would like to know how it all works. However, once we all know how it works, why it happens, what it does, whatsoever, we lose interest, we become familiar, and simply forget – just like the significance of touching.
The beauty of the universe and of life is that we don’t know its meaning; we live by others, basically. We live by touching, not only physically, but touching emotionally. That’s the true value. We are built to strengthen each other and to rise together, and that is the beauty of it, that is the point. So, now do you see the true value of touching? It is literally all around us. We, as a society, live by it and we end up not even recognizing its significance. If we just stopped a bit to ponder our existence and value, fortune the wonder that it is to even exist, we would be much, much happier. We can see beauty in everything, to an extent, if not to its entirety, happiness is a choice and touching is a method. So go spread positivity, go be unique, go be creative, and lift other people up, because, after all, that is why we are here in the first place.