Love is experienced differently by each of us, but for most of us five aspects of love stand out. We feel loved when we receive attention, acceptance, appreciation, and affection, and when we are allowed the freedom to live in accord with our own deepest needs and wishes. These “five A’s” meet us in different guises throughout life’s journey. In childhood, we need these five A’s to develop self-esteem and a healthy ego. They are building blocks of identity, of a coherent human personality. Human experience has a striking and reliable harmony: what we need for the building of a self is also precisely what we need for happiness in our adult love relationships. Intimacy, at its best, means giving and receiving the five A’s, the joys and wealth of relationship. These five elements or aspects of love also describe our destiny of service to the world as mature spiritual beings. Great spiritual exemplars such as Jesus or Buddha can be seen as beings who offer this fivefold love to all of us. Through our spiritual practice we come to know a power greater than our ego, and that power nourishes us by granting us the graces of attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing.
– David Richo