I've talked a lot in previous posts about the "5 A's," the needs all of us have and that most of us try to get met in the context of our interpersonal relationships (particularly intimate relationships). The 5 A's are attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance, and allowing (being allowed to pursue your innermost wants and desires). The 5 A's are a concept introduced by David Richo, author of "How to be an Adult in Relationships." Richo asserts that other people can fulfill our needs only 25% of the time (in other words, we can only expect other people to give us 25% of the attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance, and allowing we need) -- ideally, each person is responsible for fulfilling his or her own needs the remaining 75% of the time. If we are unable to do this we find ourselves placing unrealistic demands on others to meet our needs and becoming angry, upset, or disappointed when they are unable to do so.
In a recent discussion with two close friends one friend asked me how a person would go about giving him or herself affection. I was stumped. How DO you give yourself affection? In seeking to answer this question I first consulted a dictionary to obtain an adequate definition for the term. I wasn't satisfied with the dictionary's definition and so went to the thesaurus. I was able to generate a list of synonyms for affection. This, in turn, enabled me to identify different ways that affection can be expressed. What follows is a list of synonyms for affection, each of which is accompanied by a suggestion for giving it to oneself.
How to Give Yourself Affection:
1. Fondness: To give yourself affection, make a list of things you like about yourself.
2. Passion: Do an activity you're passionate about.
3. Enjoy, savor: Get a massage, a manicure, or a pedicure and enjoy and savor how good it feels.
4. Savor: Minfdully eat your favorite food. Notice the texture, the taste, the color, etc. Chew slowly and savor the experience.
5. Pleasure: Do one thing that gives you pleasure.
6. Rejoice: Plan a celebration in honor of something you've done successfully. The celebration can be big (a party) or small (a private ritual). It can be in honor of a major achievement or of something as small as successfully getting through the work week.
7. Triumph: Make a list of your accomplishments.
Feel free to add your own suggestions!