Chasing Inspiration

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's the Little Things

  1. A working snowblower and a husband who isn't afraid to use it
  2. Great teachers who are able to challenge my beliefs - cognitive dissonance can be a powerful learning tool.
  3. The ladies at the coffee shop I sometimes visit on my way to work - thank you for the extra, extra whip cream today. It was much appreciated. :)
I was in line at the post office this week when I overheard a couple of thirty-something ladies ahead of me compare their Valentine's Day experiences. Let's just say they were complaining about what they thought was a lack of extravagence. They wanted more than flowers and cutsie gifts from the men in their lives. They expected to be dazzled and treated like royalty and their lovers had fallen short of the mark, and these women were disappointed and angry.
I wish I could say this is not the norm, that most people I bump into are able to find joy and meaning in the little things, in the day to day guestures that friends adn family use to tell us we are loved and appreciated. That we matter. When I was a therapist I worked with couples who getting married or newly married. One of the things we discussed was how we perceive we are loved. Sadly, several of these couples stated they only felt valued and loved if there partner showed them through grand guestures.
On one hand, that's very romantic. I think we want to be swept off our feet, but when we rely on grand guestures, what was grand yesterday becomes normal and the guestures need to increase in complexity or weight in order to be considered, well, grand.
No one can sustain this. And when we focus on the grand, we miss out on the simple and the honest and the authentic.
It's the little things that over time make or break a relationship. Maybe that's where we should be spending our energies, taking care of the little things, noticing the little things, being thankful for the little things.


  1. Anonymous7:56 AM

    That's a bit troubling, but then I wonder what pattern has already been established in the relationships for the expectations to be so high. Expectations. It's like a 4-letter word in relationships. Chocolate and a trinket can be meaningful on Valentine's Day, but what if he stopped by a gas station on the way home to pick it up so that he wouldn't "get in trouble" vs. a woman poring over card after card trying to find just the right one? Was his gift meaningful at all? Sometimes I think that women want a grand gesture because it takes time and effort to make a grand gesture happen. There's no stopping at Walgreen's on the way home after work. If there's a really nice restaurant involved, then he had to plan ahead and make reservations. If there's an expensive bauble, then it's because he had to buy it ahead of time as well as find out what her taste in jewelry might be. There was thought involved. It means that one partner is trying to nurture the connection in the other partner's language. Sometimes, I think that's what those grand gestures are all about. It's why women fantasize about them. Women are often required to be so nurturing so much of the time. When a man nurtures the relational connection though a large, romantic gesture, it can resonate deeply. And once that connection has been made, then, I think, it's the little things--those daily acts--that keep the connection alive, but I find that women tend to be the ones that nurture that the most, hence, the desire for the grand gesture every now and again. We want proof of life. Does he still have skin in the game? That being said, the Millennials can be an entitled bunch who believe they deserve the best of everything without a personal investment. And to that, I'll let the Dread Pirate Roberts comment: "Get used to disappointment."

  2. I would like to believe that I would appreciate *any* gesture, but from experience I know that isn't true. About 7 years ago or so, I was at lunch the day before V-Day with some people from church, including one man who I knew had a bit of an interest in me, but I was not interested in him. The rest of us were women and talking about all being single and knowing that the next day would not be exciting. I said I'd never gotten flower on Valentine's Day before. All part of this greater conversation. The next day, flowers and balloons showed up at my work from the man in question that had heard my conversation. Unfortunately, all it did was cause panic in my heart because I was NOT interested and not planning to change my mind. I SHOULD have been appreciative that someone thought enough of me to make the gesture, but it was just panic and displeasure. I'm not proud of that, just being honest. I didn't want a grand gesture from someone that did not interest me in the least. It was just something I'd have to now "deal with" to get him to "leave me alone". Again, such a bad attitude. For me, what I really want is the knowledge that whenever someone makes a gesture to me, they didn't do it at the last minute. Birthdays mean something to me, but apparently not to anyone else I know. No one sends cards anymore and THAT is what I would consider a "grand gesture" for my birthday. Something that required someone to think about it before the middle of the actual birthday when they send a text or post a meaningless, generic greeting on Facebook. I hate to be petty and ungrateful for things, but I suppose that I am (at least I can acknowledge that I am!). The gesture doesn't have to be grand, but I appreciate when there is more than 5 minutes thought put into something.