An old coffee mug

Rule #13: I shall give my B.E.S.T. by: Encouraging others with appropriate words of appreciation, affirmation, and affection.


I like to give people the Triple-A treatment when I meet them.

The Triple-A treatment goes like this:

  1. Give them your full attention.
  2. Within the first 30 seconds speak a word of appreciation.
  3. Leave them with a word of affirmation.

That is not a bad way to interact with people.

But over the years I’ve come to see that people need more. Being appreciated for our efforts means a lot and having someone notice something significant and special in us and calling it out (affirmation) is very encouraging. But…

Having someone who has genuine affection for us, now that is a game changer.

A perfect stranger can appreciate what you do for them.

Your boss can affirm you (trying to get more out of you).

But affection…that’s different.

Affection says, I care about you. The starting point in our conversation is you–not what you do, your title, or talents–it’s you I care about.

In this crazy mixed up world where everyone is on edge and fuzzy about relationships it is easy to build invisible walls designed to keep people at arms length. But don’t let the dysfunction of our age rob you of the greatest blessing and at the same time greatest gift – the gift of geniune affection.

Saint Paul sums it up well: “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” (Romans 12:10)

Picture this…

It’s early morning and you’re ready for that first cup of coffee. You open the kitchen cabinet and look inside for a coffee mug. Your eyes are captured by that beautiful mug you picked up on that trip last year and almost without thinking you appreciate the amazing craftsmanship that went into it. And then there’s that delicate mug on the top shelve with the special logo on it that was given to you by your affirming teammates at work to say thanks for a job well done.

But the mug you actually reach for is that well-worn, slightly stained, possibly chipped mug that you use every morning–the one given to you by your lover or maybe a child or grandchild or a very close friend–the one that reminds you that you are loved and belong to someone and someone belongs to you.

That’s the reach I am talking about. And that’s what Rule #13 is really about.

Photo by Ryan Byrne on Unsplash

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