011: Your Secret Weapon In Relationships
011: Your Secret Weapon In Relationships

Micah musing

Your secret weapon in dealing with people is listening to what’s NOT being said and adding in the 4 A’s- Attention, Affection, Acceptance and Appreciation.

Micah musing

Your secret weapon in dealing with people is listening to what’s NOT being said and adding in the 4 A’s- Attention, Affection, Acceptance and Appreciation.

Highlights From Post:

Usually, people don’t refer to weapons and relationships in the same sentence, but honestly, anytime you are dealing with another person and everything they bring to the table, what they say and don’t say, you are going to need a few tools, or weapons, to make everyone happy.:)

As humans, we are all driven by emotions. All the logic, all the raw intelligence you have, well, you can throw it out the window when it comes to relationships. It all comes down to emotions. And all emotions derive from needs. Print it out, put it on a sticky note, write it on your hand, just don’t forget it. All emotions derive from needs. Remembering that one point will enhance your relationships exponentially. From there, it’s a no-brainer to figure out how to approach interactions. To build on this month’s lesson on Emotional Intelligence in The Clarity Club Membership, there are four fundamental emotional needs: Attention, Affection, Appreciation, and Acceptance. We refer to these as the four A’s.The presence of these four core qualities can take any relationship from mediocre to memorable.

If you think about it for a moment, relationships are reflections of what we innately desire. Everything we do is based on the expectation that it will generate more comfort and joy. Really and truly. And this is true for any successful relationship, whether it be career, personal, or a random interaction with a stranger; it all comes down to these core qualities.

Recognizing and implementing the four simple approaches I’m going to share today will enable you to model behaviors in alignment with the laws of nature, which will create more fulfilling relationships.

Originally Published On: February 22, 2023
Published By: Micah Hill

As we know from Ayurveda, from an emotional health standpoint, we must digest all emotional experiences because they can produce just as many toxins in the body as undigested food. When we learn to incorporate the 4 A’s into our life, we create the opportunity to improve physical and emotional well-being and experience more joy in interactions. You’ll also find that over time you cultivate the wisdom to allow others to be just as they are, which in and of itself is very freeing.

Learning the four A’s immediately resonated with me because each one triggered an emotion and brought to mind specific occasions where I had examples of how implementing them produced a positive effect or where their absence left me feeling like something was missing.

So- going back to the core point – every single emotion you experience comes from a need. How do you feel when you receive attention and affection? If you are appreciated if you are accepted, how do you feel? Like you matter. Like you are heard. Like the world is a better place because you are in it. Right? Can you recall a specific time you provided attention, affection, appreciation, or acceptance to another person? Do you remember how they responded?

When people know they matter and are heard, they become magnets. They instantly want more of what you are giving out. I’m telling you, if you want an instant turnaround in the energy of an interaction, bring in the 4 A’s. It is so easy to implement these skills. Just think of how you’d like to be treated, then mirror it!… Like Michael Jackson said, “if you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change.”

You know how Forrest Gump says “Life’s like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” People are like that, too, right? Each person’s personality and conditioning are as unique as their fingerprint. You never know what they’ve encountered during the day, let alone their life. It’s a crap shoot as to how they might respond at any moment. And how often does anyone really tell you what they truly want? Usually, it’s like a guessing game. Your secret weapon in dealing with people is listening to what’s NOT being said and adding in the 4 A’s. Instantly, the four A’s will increase your chances of creating a positive exchange.


The Doshas And Unmet Needs

In Ayurveda, there are three main mind-body types. What is super interesting is how different mind-body types, known as doshas in Sanskrit, react to unmet needs. Understanding different reactions helps put a flashlight on how to deal with challenging situations. Let me give you an example. One situation applied to three different mind-body types along with typical responses when their needs aren’t being met.

Objective situation:  Jane spends the afternoon grocery shopping and tries a new recipe for her family. Everyone, as my husband says, “eats, burps, and leaves” the table without commenting on the effort she put into making the meal. Does anyone resonate with being the cook? Uh hu…..

How many of you know a person who would more likely blame themselves for the situation and wonder what they did wrong? OMG, did I not follow the recipe properly? Should I have tried a different dish they might have liked better? What could I do next time? They might get anxious, worry or feel guilty for not cooking something more appealing. Of all times to experiment, why did I choose this meal? These are typical responses of the Vata mind-body type.

How many of you know a person that in this situation, might get ticked off or press their point of view, letting everyone know – “Look, I went out of my way to fix something nice; the least you could say is that you liked it or didn’t like it. I’d like a little bit of feedback.” “Could you do any better?” They might feel angry or hostile and become sarcastic or aggressive. And decide not to waste their time again. Textbook pitta response. My husband’s favorite response when someone doesn’t respond with praise to something he’s done; yes, he’s a pitta. He’ll say, “What have you got in it? Or How much did it cost you?” A bundle of joy, right?

The third mind-body type, Kapha, might try to ignore the situation that exists and completely withdraw. They might become sad and discouraged, maybe stubborn or moody. Keep it all to themselves and wonder why no one notices when they try to do something right or nice.

We all react to not having our needs met in different ways. This is why implementing attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance into our interactions with others is so important. It really helps to foster healthy relationships.

So let me tell you about a time I decided to test the four A’s.


Testing the Four A’s

Once I started seeing how loved ones responded to the four A’s, I decided to expand the test circle. I’ll never forget deciding to test the theory out on a stranger. I was on the hunt for a grumpy disengaged person. 😊 Unfortunately, finding those types of people is not hard. 😊 I went into a local hardware store. At the self-checkout, the attendant seemed despondent, like she was “there” but wasn’t happy about it. Do you know the kind of person I’m talking about? They avoid eye contact. Their posture might be a little off. You can tell their mind is anywhere but in the present moment. Well, this lady kind of blended into the background and honestly seemed quite unapproachable.

Most people would cringe at having to interact, but I thought perfect test subject. If I can get the four A’s to work on her, Ms. Grumpy Pants, it should work on anyone. I took it as a challenge that day. Reaching into my well-being toolbelt, I pulled out Attention and Appreciation to engage her and break the ice. “I smiled at her in a nice, non-creepy way, of course, and said, I’m so bad with these scanners. Would you mind showing me how you do it?” Of course, being her job, she walked right over and began helping.

Phase 2. Appreciation. As she showed me what to do, I added, “ I bet you get asked for help a lot. It’s so good to have someone who knows what they are doing regarding this computer stuff; thank you so much.” Mission complete. Literally, a smile and two comments. Her whole demeanor changed. Her solemn face now had a smile on it. In a matter of two minutes, it was like giving sugar water to a limp plant. She had perked right up.

How often do you run into people just going through the motions? Heck, perhaps you are one of those who feel like you are just showing up and the world is happening around you. Our fundamental human needs and the biological responses to those needs when they aren’t met are key to improving well-being.  

I want to challenge you to find test subjects and see how attention and appreciation can totally turn the situation around. You’ll find doors get opened (figuratively and literally), upgrades are given, and discounts are applied. I’m telling you these two tips are golden. People respond so positively when you acknowledge them and appreciate them.

So much of our emotional turbulence comes from how we communicate, so let’s talk about the four A’s in a little more detail and why they work such wonders.



Any teachers and parents in the audience will know that positive attention plays a significant role in developing a child’s positive self-image. Positive attention helps a child internalize information being shared and build confidence.

Attention is just focused awareness. We all need to feel seen, heard, and recognized; we need to know we matter and are part of something. How do people react when they are seeking attention? They may fish for compliments. Do you like this outfit? What do you think of my new haircut? A person seeking attention may even do something controversial to garner a reaction. They might pretend to be unable to do something, so someone will help them.  How many of you know a person that embellishes stories a bit? They can run faster, jump higher, and catch more fish than anyone, right?

The bottom line is most people seek attention in one way or another. Knowing that and offering the compliment before it is requested or commenting on accomplishments before they are shared, we can do so many little things to provide positive attention.

If you are still stumped on how to give attention; think about how you seek attention? What matters to you? What feels nice when someone notices you? Based on that, how might you offer attention to others?

Ok, let’s talk about Affection.



Affection comes in all different forms. It’s not necessarily just romantic or for the touchy-feely types. We all need affection. It can be a smile, a kind gesture, or a gentle touch. Even speech with soft tones can be a sign of affection; often, it’s not even what we say but how we say it. Remember how I told you the lady perked up with a smile and a simple compliment?

Dr. Gary Chapman talks about the ‘love languages’. People give and receive love in many different ways. Through words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, time, and of course, touch. And it is so interesting to see different approaches. I’m an equal-opportunity employer – LOL. Tell me I’m doing well, give me a gift, spend time with me, we are all good. On the other hand, my husband loves receiving affirmation and shows affection through gifts.

When it comes down to affection, testing the waters and seeing what people respond to is a great start. And the best thing is a smile or a kind gesture doesn’t cost a thing!

Next up, appreciation.



Who doesn’t want to feel appreciated? We used to have a sales rep that would bring donuts to the girls in the office as a thank-you. I don’t know if he did it for them or himself. Everyone would literally go nuts over the box of Krispy Kreme original glazed and him for bringing them in. There were no qualms if he ever needed them to fix an error on his paperwork. I think people said to themselves, “Krispy Kreme, I got you.” People like to feel appreciated, and they return the favor for appreciation. 

My good friend in Boston sent me a care package the other day. It had a recipe flyer from her local grocery store with some recipes she thought I’d enjoy, an Ayurvedic cookbook she was passing down, and a Yeti tumbler she knew I’d like. The note in the package was something to the effect of thank you for being such a good friend; I hope you enjoy. Don’t you know I was grinning ear to ear as I opened and explored all the goodies?

Whether it’s staying late to help your team meet a deadline, helping a friend find that special dress for her son’s wedding, or lending a hand, everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated. When your actions are acknowledged, it matters. So how do you show appreciation? A simple thank you, a note, a compliment, just listening? There are so many ways to express gratitude. Think of what would make you feel appreciated and do that!

Lastly, acceptance.



It’s easy to accept the good parts of people. When they do things that are inspiring or make you happy. But, man, is it a challenge to accept the not-so-desirable qualities. Let’s take a moment and check the perfection meter. Hmmm – No one is perfect. Being able to give unconditional grace to others, and ourselves for that matter, allows us to create a safe space so people can be vulnerable and know they are in a no-judgment zone.

So when you are tested to the limit and struggling to accept the situation or the person creating the situation, I’ll share a great question. Ask yourself, “Where have I acted like this in my life.” Bam! Back to that mirror. The gift of recognizing is we can take the lesson and wisdom and use it positively. It enables us to support others when they are in a place of need or suffering.

So, start with looking in the mirror. How would you like to feel at the end of the day? Change how you treat yourself. Change how you treat others. Notice how implementing attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance totally changes the paradigm of how we and others show up. When we give, we receive, so make it a challenge to see how many of the four A’s you can implement today.

So, this is Micah Signing out and saying- I appreciate you!

Links mentioned
in this episode

The Clarity Club, February Insight:  Emotional Intelligence

Chopra Perfect Health

Dr. Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages

Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror

Feeling inspired?

Recent Posts: