Some of the best words of advice I ever received from my dad about love is this: Do not look for love in the grand gestures. Those are fleeting and occasional. Instead, look for love in the million little things that show someone cares about you.”
His words taught me from the beginning of my marriage to look for expressions of love in the small actions. I have focused on those and always found love, even when we were struggling or going through a rough patch.
I’m not saying I never got or don’t appreciate those grand gestures; I do. I just don’t expect them in order to feel loved. I don’t think my husband isn’t thinking about me because he didn’t bring me home flowers. I don’t worry that he doesn’t feel as in love with me because he hasn’t treated me to dinner in a couple weeks. I don’t think our passion is fading because I didn’t get jewelry for Christmas.
Those are all fabulous things but real love is when my husband gets up early and takes a kid to work so I can sleep in, it’s starting my car in the middle of winter so it’s warm when I get in it. It’s cleaning up after I make dinner or washing our laundry so I don’t have to. It’s a million little actions everyday.
Here is my sweetheart, painting my toenails today, not because he had to but because he wanted to pamper me:
Such a simple little action that means nothing to anyone else but meant the world to me. These little acts of caring that make my heart melt.
Are you looking for love from your significant other in grand gestures or are you aware of the little acts of love that transpire around you every day? Are you grateful for those acts of love? Do you thank them and express love back to them in kind?
Do you like yourself? I mean really? Do you say you like yourself but then have a minefield of negative self talk going on in your head? Do you say you love (fill in the blank) about yourself but behind your smile is a mind screaming liar? Are you full of self-recriminations and self-doubts that you hide from the world? Do you avoid mirrors because you don’t like what you see when you look in them?
Today, I hope you can take a few minutes and come up with 5 things that you really, truly like about yourself. Things that you are proud of. Things that make you feel good about yourself. When I took a few minutes to name my 5 things I realized that it was going to take a bit more thought than I first expected it would. Every time I came up with something I would ask myself the following questions:
- Do I really believe I like (fill in the blank) about myself?
- Do I talk negatively about (fill in the blank) to others or in my self-talk?
- Do I like this (fill in the blank) no matter what my mood is?
- Am I proud that I have (fill in the blank)?
It was a simple little test for me to gage whether or not I really liked this thing about me and some things I thought of didn’t make the cut because of one reason or another, which of course got me thinking about my self talk but that is a topic for another day. So here they are, my 5 things I like about myself:
- My eyes. When I look in the mirror I see wisdom and mystery in my eyes. I also know it isn’t just something I see because other people comment of my eyes all the time.
- Presence. Okay, so maybe you are asking me about this one but I have presence and people feel it and notice it. They feel me whether I want them to or not. I’m not the center of attention but I also am not the wall flower blending in and getting lost. People notice my energy for lack of a better way of stating it and I like that people associate that presence with a woman who knows her own power.
- Integrity. I think integrity is my own personal law. I always act with integrity and I expect other people to do the same. I actually have a problem with people who are out of integrity.
- Loyalty. I am a pretty loyal person to the point that it can be a detriment if I don’t hold my boundaries. I will stand by my loyalties even when other people would walk away. This has brought me down some bumpy roads but it has also opened up so much opportunities for growth and I love that I am a loyal person and that other people know that about me.
- Wisdom. I am by no means a super smart person but I have this innate wisdom that just is. I get people. I understand them, I empathize with them and I have an ability to bypass the bullshit and see things for what it really is. To get to the heart of the matter and once I do, I have some pretty insightful observations to share. My friends call it wisdom. I call it intuition but whatever it is….it works and I am glad that I have it.
So….now I have told you about me. Tell me about you. What are your five things? What things do you really like about yourself and are you willing to share them with the world?
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and if you were a child of my time period there is a possibility that you also grew up hearing this song…..
“I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love. Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves. I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…..” it goes on to finish with a catchy jingle for Coca Cola. It was pretty popular and almost everyone from my generation can sing the song if you start with the first line.
My topic of the day is what do I think the world needs right now? Well…..I think…..
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. No, not just for some but for everyone.” – Dionne Warwick”
and of course I believe that if we can focus on loving each other then we will “learn to sing in perfect harmony.” It may sound cheesy but it’s true. Love is powerful. Love breaks down barriers and allows us to act with compassion toward each other. Love is the key to growth, to forgiveness, to peace.
All it takes is focusing on the people around you. Move through each day from a place of love. Speak love (to yourself and others). Hug someone. Did you know that senior citizens say they miss touch the most? Listen with love. What does that mean? It means active listening. Not listening to respond but to truly hear what is being said. Taste love. Everything you eat and drink in the course of the day was made by someone. They invested their time and energy into it which is an expression of love. Last but not least….Feel love. Recognize it all around you and soak it up like a sponge.
You do all that and believe me you are going to harmonize with the world a whole lot better!
My parents have been together for almost 45 years of marriage. Their marriage has brought them 3 birth children, 1 adopted child, 4 spouses to their children, and 19 grandchildren. Despite the fact that my Mother bemoans her parenting skills (I don’t know why – they are great parents) there is one thing that she feels she did right. She made each of her children feel completely loved and special. It’s become a sort of tradition within our family about arguing for the honor of being “THE FAVORITE”.
It is not unusual to hear one of us kids talking about being the favorite and it is usually followed by another one saying something like, “You just think you are the favorite but I know I am.” On and on it continues until we all start laughing. The thing is we all know we were equally loved, equally treated as special individuals and not one of us has a doubt that we are respected for who we are.
The funny thing is that as the years have progressed and we have married our spouses have joined into the fray and now as our children have grown they also are participating in the quest to be “THE FAVORITE”. They have even gone so far as to tell us, their parents, that we will nevevr be the favorite because they are far more important to their “Nona & Papa”.
My parents laugh and smile at each other and know that they had to have done something right if we all feel like we are the favorite in their eyes. Although we don’t have any great-grandchildren added to the mix yet I am sure that when we do, someday, they will be vying for the title of favorite too. It is a legacy my parents have created and I hope the legacy continues on through the generations and I hope that someday my husband and I will be a “Nona & Papa” and that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren feel they same way – as if they are indeed our favorites. The process has started already because my children are proclaiming that they are our favorites and good naturedly arguing amongst themselves for the title each is absolutely sure they possess.