A good relationship is unique to each individual but it always boils down to affection and appreciation.
Physical affection requires the actions of touch; hugs, caresses, kisses. Physical affection can only be shared when two or more are in the same space and time. As noted by medical and behavioral specialists, physical affection is a primary need for humans at birth and death, and as daily nourishment for the body and soul for every individual in life.
Verbal affection is the foundation of self esteem and is shared through compliments and concerns, and includes all those social phrases like; have a nice day, please & thank you, you look great, good job. Verbal affection can be shared through all manner of connection tools from phones, to social media, and greeting cards. However, there is more verbal affection in the words, “dinner is ready,” than in an essay of text. This is the challenge and appeal of electronic connections, even when it feels good, because it lacks the physical nourishment of touch.
Appreciation takes a relationship to the next level of affection because it includes love, respect, awareness, and gratitude.
Awareness is the first step for appreciation. Awareness requires eye contact and listening. The eyes are windows to the soul and it takes courage to let the soul shine. Awareness requires being engaged in connection with individuals, and nature. The challenge is many feel connected through media feeds and have never shook hands with a neighbor, or truly smiled at a bank teller. Once we are aware of our own and others vulnerabilities and talents, we can appreciate the daily need to be affectionate verbally and physically.
Respect is next because it requires awareness of others, and the inalienable right of all individuals to be different. Respect is where appreciation shifts beyond nature as it is more active in human relationships. I can be physically affectionate with plants and animals but what is missing is the verbal and interactive affection that is required for respect between individuals in a relationship.
Love is where the words and deeds of awareness and respect are amplified. Love nurtures us through affection. A sexual relationship can only become nourishing intimacy, for the body and soul, when love is in the energy of both partners. Every relationship is the foundation and manifestation of love.
Gratitude is appreciation in action, displayed through affection. Gratitude is what turns a relationship into a complete and solid sphere around the soul.
This exercise in breaking relationships into basic terms is for me to dissect what will be the black moment, and epiphany, for fictional characters in a romance novel. But what it shows is that, to achieve a true happily ever after in life, the primary relationship that we should be most grateful for is the one we have as an individual with our own soul.
How we shower ourselves with physical and verbal affection is our choice. When we treat ourselves with appreciation; awareness, respect, love, and gratitude, it will be the way we live with others.