I touch your hands

And my heart grows strong,

Like a pair of birds

That burst with song.

“Younger than Springtime” – South Pacific

(Rogers and Hammerstein)





“Man,” teaches Science, “is but a single cell in the organism of humanity.  His worth as an individual is nothing apart from the rest of the organism.”  

P. Lakshmi Narasu – “The Essence of Buddhism”



We live our lives in relationships.  Shy or outgoing, rich or poor, famous or obscure – whoever we are, without connection, we are empty.  Our interactions thrum with rhythm.  From the moment of conception to the end of life, we each engage in a unique dance of connection.  The themes and steps are shared by all humanity.  They vary only in details and flourishes across culture, race, gender, and historical time.  But they are inevitably shaped by those around us.  

... self-worth [is] affirmed and strengthened in friendships ...

... love is physiologically designed to conquer fear.  

... there is an antidote even to uncontrollable stress ... and that, of course, is the kindness of others, the nurturing contact that is designed to put the brakes on the chemistry of fear and threat.  

Maia Szalavitz and Bruce D Perry MD, PhD – “Born for Love”



But don’t be like this:  


The more you give me, the less I get.




Connectedness is the best thing in the world.  It makes us feel better about everything.  

Close, favourable contact with a loved one reduces our sensitivity to pain.



Social attachment serves intrinsically important regulatory functions of security, nurturing, and distress alleviation.  

Jean Decety – “The Neuroevolution of Empathy”



sometimes I yearn to see Mary's kind brown eyes.  

Her gaze always had a soothing effect on me.  

Elif Shafak – “The Forty Rules of Love”



Man wishes to be confirmed in his being by man, and wishes to have a presence in the being of the other...

Secretly and bashfully he watches for a YES which allows him to be and which can come to him only from one human person to another.

Martin Buber – “I and Thou”  



Research shows that women who are smiled at experience boosts in their self-confidence. – “49 Ways to Boost Your Confidence in 5 Minutes or Less #11”



wellbeing comes from feeling connected, included, accepted and valued by others.

Paul Gilbert, Kirsten McEwan, Rebecca Bellew, Alison Mills and Corinne Gale – “The dark side of competition: How competitive behaviour and striving to avoid inferiority are linked to depression, anxiety, stress and self-harm”: Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice (2009), 82, 123–136



To connect with another person, you have to “see” that person, there has to be a channel of reality or honesty.  Imposing your mind on someone is not seeing or connecting with them.  Relax your ego, relax and connect.  

If someone is nervous or upset, then talking to them, having a pleasant conversation, can calm them down.  

It is said that men talk in order to report information, and women talk in order to build bonds and connectedness.  But there’s nothing to stop men using conversation in the same way that women typically do.  



The most difficult part of listening is to learn [when] to leave other people alone.

Rodney Smith – “Lessons From the Dying”




Consolation among chimpanzees: A juvenile puts an arm around a screaming adult male, who has just been defeated in a fight with his rival. Consolation probably reflects empathy, as the objective of the consoler seems to be to alleviate the distress of the other.  

Frans de Waal – “The Evolution of Empathy”, (The Greater Good)  


Consolation is a form of targeted helping.  See also empathy.  


People’s distress needs to be listened to and acknowledged.  People need to be allowed to tell their story.  When someone’s needs are met in this way, then they feel free to be empathetic towards others.  

When our needs are met in general, it is easier to relax the self-protective function of the ego, and therefore to expand it to include the needs of others.  



In a time of illness, it is good to be loved.  

Family cheering up old Grandfather while he is lying sick in bed.

Sunny Singh (29 December 2017)



“The Anatomy of Loneliness” final episode

BBC Radio 4 programme exploring the biological implications of loneliness.