Bear Hugs, Fist Bumps, and the Art of the Touch

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.

 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” - Luke 8:43-46

The use of physical touch as a means of care and thoughtfulness can be tricky but healing. In today’s world, there have been so many abuses of physical touch that people are very skittish when it comes to signs of affection.

But, researchers have proven again and again that physical human contact is invaluable to our self-worth and our need for acceptance and belonging. A pat on the back, familial hugs, and high-fives are safe bets among friends and co-workers. Kisses and affectionate hugs are more acceptable among families. But, regardless of our views and experiences with physical contact with others, connecting physically with another human being is powerful.

Obviously, you need to know your intended target of affection. There are people I know who would gladly accept a big hug from me. Others can handle a touch to the shoulder. But, the important thing is to make the connection. Walking up to a person and beginning a conversation can be a formal affair - even when the conversation is light. But, a light touch on the shoulder or a fist bump communicates a level of care that goes the next step deeper.

TRY IT: Next time you’re in a store, make a point to shake hands or fist-bump the person who helps you. Even a light pat on the shoulder if appropriate.