Just Listen

The secret to getting through to anyone, anywhere, anytime

Good Touch, Bad Touch, No Touch

Good touch, Bad touch, No touch.

When you’re so afraid of bad touch that you pull away from everyone,
you end up with no touch and miss out on the good touch
that might have healed the pain and hurt from the bad touch.

I can’t prove it and neither can you, but I think you’ll agree with me that our skin has a memory separate from our minds of Good Touch, Bad Touch and No Touch.

No Touch – when you sleep on opposite sides of the bed with your backs to each other with one partner dead asleep and the other staring into the darkness thinking, “What am I doing here?” when it’s easier to have sex than it is to kiss; when you walk in the world one moment hoping no one will speak to you or touch you and the next moment feeling painfully alone.

Bad Touch – being hit in anger; honking your horn and yelling at that elderly driver who probably shouldn’t be driving or being that older person who shouldn’t be driving; being ridiculed; being looked at with disdain, disgust or repulsion from someone who once liked, cherished, admired, respected and even loved you; the moment you get up out of bed to sleep in a separate bedroom from your partner because you don’t want to feel angrier at them.

Good touch – the smile you see when you’re seeing someone you love after being away and all you see is each other; when you spoon in bed; that gentle touch you see between older couples when one taps the other on the arm to point out something they both enjoyed in the past; when your son or daughter helps your aging mom or dad walk to the car from a restaurant; when a loving wife of 60 years gently rubs her husband's wrist while the morphine drip is attached and tells him, “Just breathe through your nose and all the pain will all go away.”

What does your skin remember?

Being listened to and feeling not just understood, but feeling felt is good touch and your skins never even have to touch. In fact if you have read this far, I’m guessing that some of what you have just read have cause you to feel felt. Find out how to do that for others in, “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM, $24.95)

Mark Goulston, MD, is the author of the new bestselling book Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

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