We can all strive to be better at offering the five A’s – attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowing. It sure is easier to extend the five A ‘s to those who are reciprocating them to us. It becomes much more challenging when others are not meeting our needs, granting our wishes, showing up the way we want them to, or living their lives in ways we prefer they not. It is a worthy goal to work on being mindful of and extending the five A’s even in those circumstances where we are more likely to feel hurt, disappointed or plain angry. Here is what the five A’s look like, alongside their opposites:
The Five A’s (based on Mindfulness) Their Opposites (based on Mindsets of the ego)
- Being Attentive Ignoring, refusing to listen, being unavailable
- Being Accepting Trying to make someone over to meet our specification
- Being Appreciative Criticizing
- Being Affectionate Acting selfishly or abusively
- Allowing Being controlling, demanding or manipulative
It is normal to feel hurt, angry and resentful when we feel mistreated or let down. We can choose to NOT act out of anger or pain. In becoming a psychologically mature adult, we recognize and accept that no one will meet our needs or grant our wishes in exactly the way we prefer 100% of the time.
Giving freely of the five A’s does not mean we allow others to abuse, take advantage of or manipulate us. We also recognize that sometimes others are too wounded to operate adequately outside of the mindsets of ego. When our lives are intertwined with someone whose capacity to extend the five A’s is critically impaired, we learn to let them go lovingly, without being critical, controlling or manipulative. This is called setting boundaries. It’s opposite is codependency and/or victimhood.
In this series of blog posts, we will explore how to strengthen and extend the five A’s when we and others are caught up in the mindsets of ego, in both little and big ways. Until then, peace.