The Triple A’s of Loving Yourself: ASSESS, ATTEND and ATTUNE by Dr. Ken McGill

Download a printer-friendly PDF of the Triple A’s of Loving Yourself and the Triple P’s of Loving Your Neighbor


Use this quick-reference chart to reflect on areas of your life that deserve your assessment (to change), attention (to heal), and energy to create internal and eventually interpersonal attunement (to grow). As mentioned in previous posts, give yourself time and grace to develop these worthwhile tasks, but do practice and give love to yourself each day and in every season of your life!


A:Take a moment to Assess how you were treated in your Family of Origin (FOO).  Was there love, peace and calm, or anger, anxiety, sadness, hurt, confusion, disconnection, abuse, loneliness, or trauma? 

S:Attachment Styles (Anxious, Avoidant, Ambivalent, Disorganized, or Secure) are formed in your FOO, and they impact(ed) how you see/treat yourself and others.  Schemas/Schema Modes develop too!

S: Secure Attachments help us to feel SafeSeenSoothed, and Secure internally as children and adults. These values promote brain and mind growth, healthy environments and a Triangle of Well-Being.

E: Your responsibility is to Evaluate your formative years and current behavior, to determine what’s your attachment style and how any maladaptive schemas/schema modes erupt and trigger harsh messages. 

S: Which Schemas (Abandonment, Insecurity, Entitlement, Failure, Negativity) and Schema Modes (Critical Parent, Impulsivity, Detached/Self-Soothe, Approval Seeking, Scolding) do you default to? 


A: Pay Attention, then become Intentional:  Take a look at yourself (via therapy and mindfulness) to discover/eliminate thoughts and behaviors that foster harmful reactivity and interrupt intentionality.

T: Attend to Thoughts and feelings connected to life experiences that hurt, create fear, anger, loneliness, perfectionism, codependence, blame, escape, addiction, etc. Learn, own, and do your shadow work

T: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy continues self-reflection and invites you to Accept your thoughts and emotions, Choose values that are important to you, and Take action by living by them! 

E: Consider how you wish to use the Energy of your Mind (because you will grow something!).  Plant and nurture only those thoughts/values that reflect love, self-care, purposeful living, and healing!

N: Think of, “Integrate” and activate plans, strategies and processes that meet your needs and produces insight, meaning, purpose, healing and leaves you feeling content, confident and defines your identity! 

D: Practice Differentiation.  Differentiationmeans you’ll mutually honor and respect the thoughts, feelings and needs of others, versus diminishing, reacting to, manipulating, or trying to change them. 


A: Attunement encourages you to “monitor and adjust” your thoughts, feelings, or behavior when corrosive messages from your past threaten to disrupt your sanity, serenity or intentional living.

T: Scheduling “Time-Outs to take Time-Ins” is a compassionate and strategic process to deliver calm to your brain and body when you need insight regarding how to love yourself (and others) intentionally.

T: Tune-In to and enlighten yourself by practicing your spiritual disciplines, for inspiration, guidance and when self-love/care requires a healthy infusion of the 4 S’s: Safety, Seen, Soothing and Security. 

U: Tune-In to your Feelings by engaging in Emotional Self-Awareness activity to Understand the valuable messages your body, mind and spirit are seeking to deliver to you, in your effort to live an examined life!  

N: Tune-In to your thoughts and feelings to assess your Needs and how you’ll meet your needs.  Do you need rest, support, recreation, a listener, a collaborator, or assistance?  What’s your plan to satisfy it? 

E: Take Time-Ins during the day to Evaluate if you’re replacing negative and maladaptive thoughts with positive and affirming ones that satisfy your needs and produce Love, Equality and Empowerment!


X: “X” Factor: Love yourself by practicing “2.0” values and behaviors upgraded from maladaptive and virus-laden “1.0” schemas. Let your values serve as your cognitive GPS to experience these Triple A’s.

T: Become Therapeutic by employing strategies that reflect self-care, compassion, grace, and love to yourself when intrusive thoughts or emotions cause you to feel panic, peeved pessimistic or powerless.

R: Re-write your personal narrative (how you see and treat yourself, and act toward others) and give yourself permission to reparent yourself with 4 S+ values that affirm your worth, dignity and future.

A: Visit your Safe Place regularly!  Here you can access your Higher Power, convene “AdultChild consultations” for self-care, wisdom, and “cortical overrides” from the other side of the wheel

!: Zero in on people who loved you unconditionally. Visualize being in their presence and what they said to you, or did that made you feel loved, valuable, accepted, important, comforted and empowered.

Suggested Activity: Spend some time contemplating the Triple A’s to Loving Yourself. In your reflection, what have you discovered about yourself and where do you need to take personal responsibility to “become an author to your own improvement?” What specifically do you see yourself doing that results in loving yourself? Focus on these areas of improvement and growth, and make sure you celebrate the positive experiences and outcomes that accompany loving yourself!

Skill to developThe ability to consistently demonstrate loving behaviors to yourself for your personal benefit and growth.

Next: Cognitive #12: Your Cognitive Healthy Adult Mode Behaviors (Part 3 – Loving Your Neighbor) or Table of Contents.

Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3 – 2- 5 – 4 – 24” for additional information that could be helpful.

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