A Message in Massage

robert brault

I read somewhere that when you massage another person, your hands gravitate to the areas on their body which are stiff and sore on your own body. The pressure and touch you would like to apply to yourself, you give to the other, as though through them you are massaging yourself. If the other person asks you to move to an area on their body which is not hurting on your body, your investment in the massage becomes more detached, your attention wanders, and your fingers are less interested in working on that area, as though the body to body connection, though still active due to touch, has faded energy-wise. Your fingers will eventually move back to the places where you want to be touched.

This idea has always intrigued me. The area where it is of most interest to me is in applying it to relationships.

It is said that we should give to get… and variations on that concept.

give to get


Some of the variations encourage selfless giving without any thought of receiving, giving being the gift you receive. Some of the other variations promote selfish giving as a means to a selfish end, sometimes couched in seemingly positive terms. Stroke someone’s ego and they will be putty in your hands. Or make sure that you have the exclusive supply of something which someone else needs, then offer it to them on the condition that they give you what you need.

The rules of business often apply to personal relationships.

scottie waves

And when we give, we tend to expect a return on our investment, even if we pretend that we don’t.

When we interact with another being, we often, unconsciously, give to them what we want them to give to us. We fulfill needs which we think are theirs but which are our needs. If they do not appreciate our gift, we feel hurt. We gave them our most precious wish, and they appear to squander it, not see its value, how precious it is… to us. Perhaps because it is not precious to them. And perhaps they are doing the same with us, and feel the same way about how we treat the precious gift they are giving us. Because it is not precious to us.

Unconsciously giving what we want to be given is perhaps most noticeable when buying someone a physical gift.

How many times have you bought someone something you wanted to receive as a gift, you were certain they would love it and then were slightly annoyed because they didn’t appreciate it, not as much as you would have appreciated it if they had given it to you. Or been given a gift which you knew that the other person bought more for themselves than they did for you, and felt annoyed with a touch of guilt, because it was not what you wanted and you feel that they were selfish giving you something they wanted instead.

Why did they not take the time to find out what you wanted. Why did they not give you a gift you’ve always wanted. One which you may have told them about. Repeatedly. The one you always leave hints about. Do they not love you… do you not love yourself, I mean, why on earth are you not giving it to yourself if you want it that much.

Why, indeed.

We are a rather peculiar race… humans are complex, and often make something simple exceedingly complicated.

encouragers wanted

(Is this quote giving what it wants to get?)


The same dynamic applies to verbal interaction. When we speak, we often say words we would like to hear said to us.

Such as the first time you say ‘I love you’ to a new love, which ends in an awkward pause, then, if they don’t return the words, the awkward pause turns into an awkward situation, and sometimes an awkward relationship. Okay, so maybe you said ‘I love you’ because it was a spontaneous outburst, so why do you need to hear it in return. Maybe you don’t… but if they don’t say it, your mind will notice and come up with theories which may border on the paranoid and override reason and logic, tipping into the illogical.

Verbal interactions are full of monologues disguised as conversations. Everyone talking about themselves, not really listening to what the other person is saying because what we want to hear is the words we are speaking, not the words being spoken to us. Unless others tell us what we want to hear. Which usually only happens if others are receptive to our needs and good at spotting cues and prompts from us. But that is often conditional, and the contract is easily broken is you don’t return the favour.

Such as when we ask people a question which we would like them to ask us.

Have you noticed how often a person will ask you a question, then answer it before you have a chance to do so. What’s your favourite colour, they ask, then quickly blurt out their favourite colour and explain why, whether you are interested or not. At the end of their favourite colour story they may even remember that they asked you the question first, and they may even give you the opportunity to answer, unless they are very busy and have to dash off, no time to chat. How many times will you let that happen with this one person before you are too busy to stop and chat with them.

dale carnegie

And of course we apply to others the emotions, psychology, and whatnot which belongs to us.

We accuse them of feeling a certain way, when in actual fact it is us who feel that way, and we probably have no idea how the other person truly feels because our emotions are obscuring our view of them. But we tell ourselves that this is our intuition picking things up from them, so it’s true and if they deny it we don’t believe them. They can’t get through to us because our emotions and psychological stories are forming a barrier between us.

Jealousy is a very interesting feeling, because it has been known to be due to the person who is behaving jealously projecting upon their partner their own wandering eyes and heart. They are not prepared to admit to themselves how they are genuinely feeling, maybe it is buried in their subconscious, peeking through but unacknowledged, so they prove their love, mainly to themselves, by being jealous of their partner and accusing their partner of things which have very little to do with the partner and everything to do with them.

Why do we do this, what are we seeking from it. There must be a goal… or is it just the human way.