In his inspiring and practical book – How to be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving, psychotherapist David Richo explores five hallmarks of mindful loving.
When we understand and apply these 5 simple concepts – what he calls the five A’s – we have a route to mature love.
By giving and receiving these five A’s, relationships become deeper, more meaningful and more mindful.
Let’s explore his five A’s for achieving mature love:
First, Attention. This means attention to the present moment; observing, listening, and noticing all the feelings at play in your relationship. But it’s not so easy. There’s what we at Mindabout call the roundabout mind, where the same thought swirls around and around and it’s difficult to slow down, get off that roundabout, and give your full attention. We need to do an about-turn away from any intrusive thoughts.
Pay attention to yourself and the other person. Are you being the person you want to be? Are you living the life you want to live? Are you in a loving, caring relationship where you feel seen and heard at all times.
Second, Acceptance. This means acceptance of ourselves and others just as we are.
Acceptance means being seen with love, respect and understanding. In order to be intimate, we have to feel safe, accepted, relaxed and worthy. Are you getting these things in your relationships? If you are feeling anxious, needy, wary, self-conscious or intimidated, you are not receiving the acceptance that you need to function.
Third, Appreciation. This means appreciation of all our gifts, our limits, our longings, and our poignant human predicament.
Appreciation is essential to our feeling loved and accepted. But often we don’t give others the appreciation that would make the relationship feel fulfilling. Acknowledging our gratitude and validating the efforts of others on our behalf cements good relationships.
Most hurt in relationships comes from a lack of, and a need for, more appreciation. Appreciating yourself and appreciating others makes us feel good and increases our love and connection to others. Without reciprocal appreciation, relationships crumble.
Fourth, Affection. This means affection shown through holding and touching in respectful ways.
Affection includes the three keys of attention, acceptance and appreciation, but it also requires some direct actions and behaviours that show us the proof of these things. There can be sex with no affection whatsoever.
Does your relationship feel intimate, caring, warm, safe, magnetic, and loving? If so, then affection is going to be included. Many people have relationships that feel distant, inconsiderate, unkind, and manipulative. In those instances loving affection will be missing, and no amount of sex can make up for the missing intimacy.
Fifth, Allowing. This means allowing life and love to be just as they are, with all the ecstasy and pain, without trying to take control.
Allowing means letting yourself and the other person be who you are. Too many rules, requirements and expectations push us into becoming who others need us to be rather than being ourselves.
Ricoh’ 5 A’s gives us all food for thought.