Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson covers what affirmational love is and can sometimes do; how to go deeper with affirmational love; and the need for attending to both intrinsic and productive valuing of our loved ones through affirmations.
Affirmational love sends the intimate message that we have focused attention on a loved one and discovered worth and wonder. Often that propels us to share our appreciation. If well received, our affirmation can strengthen, energize and trigger happiness in those we love (see “In the Garden of Love”).
Affirmational love is expressed by words and actions that convey and affirm our high valuing and appreciation of a loved one for either, or both, their intrinsic and their productive qualities.
A sense of safety and security can be a superb consequence of first-rate, affirmational loving. When we show our valuing of a loved one with an affirmation, they are likely to feel they are cherished by us. As a consequence, their belief in the strength of our shared relationship can be elevated and they may feel more secure and safe in the relationship. When we know we are valued, our anxieties reduce and our trust increases. Well-affirmed relationships tend to be long lasting.
Affirmational love can be rendered with both words and actions. Whether it is a statement of praise or a pat on the back, both can convey loving affirmation. An elaborately planned experience gift or a subtle wink, both can send a message of affirmational love. Even the simple may have a deep effect. It is a best practice when we remember to sprinkle affirmations into our messages to friends, children, parents, family and all those we deeply love. Link “Is Your Affirmational Love Enough?”
Jane and Sue excitedly reviewed their plans for a weekend together on the coast. George, Sue’s fiancée, called asking Sue for a weekend date. Overhearing that, Jane looked despondent until she heard Sue say, “Thanks I’d really like to, but Jane and I already have made plans for a beach getaway, so let’s do it the next weekend”. George did a beautiful job of affirmation loving by saying, “I understand, I know she’s your best friend, have a wonderful time”. There are two affirmational examples in this vignette. The first is affirmation of the importance of a friendship. The second is affirmation through understanding and acceptance (see “Yourself As a Great Source of Love Gifts”).
Too many people notice mostly the negatives in others. Attending only to the negative, frequently results in destructive criticism or complaints which is neither good for individuals nor relationships. We want people to put much more effort into noticing the positives and into forming a habit of searching for the good. Especially is that important with loved ones.
Do you notice what is good, admirable, precious, unique, praiseworthy, honorable or any other positive characteristics in those you care about? If you do, do you, in words and actions, affirm these deserving traits?
It is not enough to only feel appreciation, it must be turned into affirmational statements or acts in order to benefit the one you have appreciated. To achieve deep results requires skill and intimacy. How well we deliver affirmational love and how deeply it benefits, depends on our mastery of imparting affirmational love and on our knowledge of a loved one.
Appreciation and affirmations can focus on intrinsic qualities or the more superficial. Superficial aspects spot-light things such as popularity, looks, status, wealth or incidental characteristics. They tend to be less consequential, less significant and more temporary than intrinsic attributes. If we want to have deep, meaningful love in our affirmations we need to look deeper and attend to the intrinsic nature of those we love. We use the term intrinsic here, to represent what a person is and has become at a core level. Honest, caring, loyal, courageous, kind or cooperative can speak to the intrinsic makeup of someone’s inner nature. That is not to say that the not-so-deep factors are undeserving of affirmation. It feels good to hear “you make that shirt you’re wearing look good”. It feels even better to hear “I admire your honesty”. Affirmation is an excellent way of loving. Maybe you’ll want to do some more of it with your loved ones (see “Self-Affirmation for Healthy Self-Love”).
As always – Grow and Go with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Quotable Question: Ask yourself, “Am I deeply appreciating and affirming those I love – sufficiently?”