When we were children our parents always told us to keep our hands to ourselves.  Back then and even to this day it means we should not hit, grab, push, touch or use your hands in a way that may bring harm to another person.  We knew as children that to put our hands on another person could have repercussions beyond our wildest imaginations so in order to avoid retaliation or revenge we listened to this advice and kept our hands to ourselves.

In the era of #metoo I have begun to wonder, when did we forget this sage wisdom our parents imparted upon us when we were young?  When did it become appropriate for someone to move in for an unwelcomed hug, grasp of a hand, rub of a shoulders or grope of a waist?  When did it become acceptable to turn a friendly exchange of pleasantries into a modern day episode of the Love Connection?

For years, women – and men have been on the receiving end of unwelcomed hugs, touches, and comments. Interestingly, while the deliverer of these advances in many instances means no harm, those of us on the receiving end more than often are offended and chances are we stay silent never expressing our true feelings.

Recently, during a conversation with a group of men we began discussing #metoo and the awareness we are all noticing in its awakening. We shared our thoughts about the high-profile celebrity incidents but eventually our focus shifted closer to home and we began to discuss our personal experiences. As our talk continued the men admitted that #metoo has made them more aware of how their acts of kindness while well intended could be perceived as intrusive and unwelcomed. Having been on the receiving end of some of these gestures I summoned up the courage to tell them their perception is my reality and that I felt it was easier to go along rather than say anything and draw attention to my true feelings.  What an eye-opening conversation this was.

We are experiencing an unprecedented emergence of citizen advocacy and challenges of offensive cultural norms that were once quietly accepted. But if we were to remember what our parents told us – keep our hands to ourselves many of our problems could be eliminated.  So, in the wake of #metoo I encourage all of us to think before we speak, look before you touch and think twice about how you would feel if the advances you are about to make were being directed towards you.  There’s a reason why we were taught to keep our hands to ourselves – when we did, things were so much simpler, and simple is so much easier.