How Long Can We Store Our Humanity on the Shelf Until Further Notice?

Touchy-Feely people are having a real problem these days …

The social nature of our culture has shifted. And this unnatural environment has made me uncomfortable for quite some time.

Every day we’re reminded to heed health and medical safeguards, practice physical barriers — real and imagined, and adopt cautious dictates that have widened the gulf of human interaction. And these new protocols have raised my stress levels to new highs.

As a touchy-feely person, I’m an advocate of the positive nature of personal connection. 

Whether in the form of a hug, or holding another’s hand, or simply sitting side-by-side touching shoulders, the depth and breadth of our instinctual desire to connect can’t be taken lightly. 

And having to eliminate this most basic — intimate — of human needs has left many of us with an empty place in our hearts and souls. We’re held in limbo — devoid of the opportunity to experience the joy and compassion of reaching out to touch someone. 

By restricting our interactions with each other, we’ve created a deep sense of confusion and abandonment. And the result of this widening chasm is dismal.

Because we need to feel the warmth – the energy – of others to remind us we’re alive.

I understand the current rationale behind the lengthened personal space requirements. Still, I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve inadvertently integrated a new behavioral trigger instructing us to steer clear of any friendly type of social acknowledgment. 

Without the assurance we can be up close and personal with our fellow humans, we’ve become literal distant ships in the night — quietly passing without a signal flare, and hoping not to be noticed or intruded upon.

How long can we endure this unnatural separation — storing our humanity on a shelf until further notice? 

More important, will we be able to reignite our biological spark to openly connect when we finally have the green light to mingle freely — and safely — with those around us?

The unanswered questions don’t work for me.

So until the safety zones have been lifted and we’re able to let out the breath we’ve been holding for over a year, I’ll keep reminding myself there are many who also feel this desperate void in their hearts. And I’ll continue to offer alternate signs of life, letting them know they’re not alone during this temporary phase of our lives.

So if you see someone tipping their head in acknowledgment, or warm, friendly eyes reflecting a masked smile, or are in the presence of a person with a relaxed and open posture, I hope you’ll take notice and return a similar gesture.

Because we must make the effort to find ways to touch, to bond, to find peace and hope. At some point in time, this too shall pass. 

And then we’re going to need each other more than ever.

In health & happiness,

Jill Reid

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