Time for Affection

Time for Affection

Could you make 2023 better with a little more affection? There’s plenty of love in the world, if you include sexual love, and lots of generosity, if you allow for transactional giving. And there are a plethora of phrases to express admiration. But how much affection is there?

It depends on your definition. Google tells us affection is a gentle feeling of fondness amounting to more than goodwill or friendship. And Wiki tells us that affection does not consist of passionate or romantic feelings. ‘Affection makes you feel safe and cared for.’ It can be seen in a relationship between a child and a mother, two friends, wife and husband. When you love someone, you also feel affectionate towards that person. In fact, any two humans can show affection towards each other. So how may we express affection?

It is almost impossible to feign affection. Very clever mimics may be able to do so briefly but for most people false affection is quickly detected. Phoney affection is mercurial while true affection is constant. Unreal affection is exaggerated at one moment and ignored at another. Genuine affection seeks out the opportunities to show itself sincerely. Impossible to believe affection that is seen only when it suits the presenter.

Little touches are a sign of genuine affection. Indeed, the word ‘touch’ is closely linked to it. That is not a ‘grab’ touch, nor a suggestive touch but a touch of reassurance. I laid a hand on the arm of a client who was going through some difficult personal emotional worries. It was the thought of a second and it lasted less than half a minute. Later he told me how much it had meant to him in helping him restore his confidence. Symbols have great meaning for humans often displaying more than words. Affectionate gestures are caring symbols.

Affection should not be seen as transactional because it involves no great expenditure or effort. Indeed, expensive gifts often have an element of guilt about them which can reduce their value to the receiver. That doesn’t mean that affection is seen as a cheap escape from obligation or commitment. On the contrary, it requires mental effort, constant thought for other people and a creative alertness for opportunities to express it.

The word ‘gentle’ is often associated with affection. Our lives have, in many instances, been turned into competitive assaults. Demands on our time and generosity reach us at every turn. They are mostly legitimate begging and we should be willing to share when we can, but they can be rapacious and strident. Even some modern versions of religion are harsh in their demands. Affection is better for being gentle, for recognising the softer side of our nature. It is the side that makes us civilised, something we seem to have put aside in favour of power. 

The strong have no need to display their determination.

Discipline Is a good start for a good life. We need it at all stages of growing up and growing old. Affection requires tougher discipline than most great physical or sporting competitions. It demands the discipline of working out what benefits others.

Love was defined by my father as ‘the gift of self’.

Affection, I think, is ‘the gift of caring’.

Good morning

John Bittleston


Do you have an example of affection that you would like to share with our readers?

If you have, we would certainly like to hear it.

You can email me at my address above or the whole team at mentors@terrificmentors.com 

After all, we are your neighbours.

2 January 2023