The handshake. Originally, it was a sign of peace. In ancient Greece, this gesture ensured that the other person wasn’t hiding a weapon. The actual shake of the hands made sure that a weapon wasn’t hidden up a sleeve.
Today, that same gesture, is the weapon itself and represents danger. Touch, contact, are everywhere in our lives; if we are denied of this two-thousand year old tradition, we find substitutes for it – like contact between feet or elbows – to reclaim that primordial gesture that is central to building attachment at birth: contact
We now know that online therapy is effective; but we will need more time for people to retrieve that sense of trust in contact and closeness, and to feel truly comfortable with each other.
The lives of everyone of us have changed, but the necessary distancing has only emphasized how the need for connection in humans will not change. We have learned to make communication eloquent through our eyes and our gaze, doing so without physical contact.
The pandemic has changed the way we spend time with ourselves; brought shifts and challenges to interaction dynamics in couples, families, between friends and in all group settings across all ages. We have been deprived of the possibility of being there for our loved ones in all significant milestones of life, including the last one. We had to quickly adapt to a new normality, and now we find ourselves confused about what “going back to normal” will really imply and whether we are capable or even willing to do so.
Now is the time to grant ourselves a deeper understanding of what “uncertainty” means to us; and of what it has meant in our lives well before 2020. We all have been and will keep being affected by the pandemic in unique and complex ways. One thing we know for sure: everything we experience is mentionable, it can be communicated.
Pain, fear, loss, all can become less overwhelming and lead us to growth if we indulge in our innate need for connection, using words.