On Being Touched
Posted: 24 Oct 2009 03:55 AM PDT
I saw a movie last night. The mother walked by her son and ruffled his hair and moved on. A seemingly innocuous event. But wait! So many of us never had that; so what does it mean? It means that someone acknowledges your existence. If parents walk by you, never smile, touch you or make you feel you exist, you come to believe you don’t. No one has to say you’re bad, I don’t love you. It is all in those very little events. Having hair ruffled day after day means you exist and are wanted, important and loved. When it does not happen day after day it means the opposite; and you come to believe it without ever realizing it. You begin to act as if you don’t exist for anyone. You shy away, never say the kind things you should because who you are and what you do does not matter.
When a parent massages you head it says volumes; I like you, I love you, you are very important, my attention is totally on you, I want to make you happy. That is all absorbed unconsciously and sometimes consciously. “Sometimes consciously” because if you never have had it you then realize something, but if you always had it, it is in the nature of things; nothing exceptional. You deserve just by who you are; and it means you can be who you are without anyone saying anything like that because it is implied and absorbed. You don’t think it matters? It matters.
I think Art is always right on target.