The Human Touch

Jun 7, 2010 by

The Human Touch

So I just broke up with someone. Experiencing all the stages of grief as described by the Kubler-Ross model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Going through the emotional roller coaster ride that accompanies change or loss. Both me and the other person. You know, the questions: “Will I find someone quite like them again?” “Was it my fault? Could I have done something different?” “Why is the other person acting like such an A-hole?”

You’ve been there, we all have been there, and in all probability will be there again. Probably many times.

What’s interesting about this break-up is that it’s not romantic.

Most people only allow for certain emotions across certain relationships. That’s why the break-up language is only allowed in romance. But we experience the same feelings when we separate from people in any context. So why the language restrictions?

Maybe because we THINK if we control our language then we can control the situation and our feelings.

Read that again. We pretend that if we control our words we can control the situation. George Carlin has a great rant on euphemisms that talks about squeezing the humanity out of language.

But human relationships are human relationships. When you split with someone you split, you leave, the relationship becomes more shallow-less intimate; and this happens whether you’re having sex with that person or doing Powerpoints.

Humans touch each other in the same humanistic ways across relationships regardless of titles. We love, hate, explore, enjoy, tolerate, despise, care for, worry about, think about and connect to people not based on their “situational title” (ie, grandma, son, boss) but rather on our relationship to them. Think about the word love. When you tease out what that word really means … you’ll notice you love certain people because of the people, not the situation.

So here’s my question: “What words do you use to protect yourself?”. Did you just downsize your best friend? Or did you break-up? If you can look at the person, strip the protective language and expose the raw emotion, then maybe you’ll be vulnerable enough to feel, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll explore the person on the other side of the table.

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale

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1 Comment

  1. Dunstan Midlane

    Hey Steven,

    Thanks for this article. I love your “control my words and I control the situation” thought. Isn’t it strange how we try to shield ourselves by doing something that truly shows how hurt we are?


    I couldn’t find your contact form or email and want to ask you a question (and I don’t think it’d be cool to post it here). Could you send me your email?

    Thanks in advance


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