A major problem with the human mind is how quickly we think of the big, the grandiose, the larger than life, and then get stuck there. So, in wanting to show our partner how much we love them, we think of going on a date to a fancy restaurant or buying an expensive present, not just asking, “so how was your day?” and actually listening to the reply. In wanting to be a better parent, we think about elaborate trips to the zoo or acquiring ridiculous cooking or craft skills, not just playing without distractions for a while. In desiring to connect more with a friend we obsess over organising a night out together just like the good old days, rather than just connecting briefly by phone or text more often. It is almost as if we want to make living and loving so much harder than it is. Because, actually, loving another person and showing your love is pretty easy. In spite of how quickly and easily grand gestures of love come to mind, really, love is all about the little things.
Remember when you were a child. Remember a moment when you knew that an adult in your life cared about you. Your memory may be of a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or some other adult. Remember that moment you knew you were loved, when you felt it through and through. Pause and bring the memory to mind. What was the moment? I’m betting it wasn’t an elaborate trip to the zoo. Was it, in fact, really simple? Was it actually an ordinary, mundane, everyday moment? Cooking together? A shared book? Cuddles on the couch? Being listened to? Being accepted exactly as you are? That is what your child wants from you. In fact, that is what your partner and your friends want from you too. Loving moments are so simple and that makes them so easy to give. We just need to make sure we aren’t distracted by our own grandiose plans.
Apply it to your life: Choose a simple, easy way of expressing your love for someone in your life and do it. What happens?
Acknowledgements: This post was inspired by a thought experiment given by Kelly Wilson during his Acceptance and Commitment Therapy professional training in Brisbane (August, 2014). You can view Kelly Wilson’s website here.