Reflections……………………its the small things

Richard Carson’s book, ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ has sold millions of copies.   The book is designed to reduce stress at home and gary's blog pictureat work with  overwhelming  advice not to react to criticism and  get past old anger.  After reading this self-help book you are to increase the joy and pleasure that can and should be part of life.

All my life I skipped the small things that I thought wouldn’t make any difference. Guess what:  They make a difference.  The phone calls I didn’t make, the birthday cards I didn’t send.   Against the inner screaming chorus of “it’s too late now,” I have started, slowly but consciously doing small things.   How many times have I wished I had walked up to someone who just completed  a presentation or a  speech, and said, “ I really appreciated what you had to say.  Equally concerning is knowing someone is having difficulty, and failing to reach out with encouragement or “let’s have a cup of coffee. ” I well remember my parents who visited with friends and relatives just to “sit a spell.”  Have we lost the art of conversation?   It’s the little things that count.

Recently, while shopping at Publix, I saw an elderly lady who was wearing a beautiful outfit.  At first I thought;  should I compliment her or will she be offended or will she think I am totally out of place or will she think I am ‘hitting’ on her.  I figured:  What the heck, I am in the winter of my life and why not ……I smiled and said:  “that outfit looks great on you.”  She stared for a few seconds began to smile and said “you have made my day.”  We both walked away smiling and feeling good……………..  It’s the little things that count.

I was walking out of church when a friend approached and wanted to talk. I became the reflective listener as he related some severe communications issues he was having with his wife.  My first comment was “when was the last time you told her you loved her?’  His response was, “I tell her after every phone call, ‘luv ya”.   That kind of comment is similar to  what we say when asked “how are you”  It is cultural verbage and vain babbling without emotions.  ‘No!’ when was the last time you were up close and personal and looked her in the eye and said “I LOVE YOU!”  His response was, “why do I have to keep telling her when she knows it.”   My advice for my friend;  the next two weeks look for areas of encouragement and praise. ” I like the way you……………………”  “You handled that situation superbly.” “You are a great wife, I am so lucky.”  “Honey you look nice.” Adopt a philosophy of positive feedback.  It’s the breakfast of champions.

I have set a goal for myself: I will give 12 positive comments in the next three days.  I will take a vow of silence on the negative.  It’s the small things.  Stop skipping them and start doing them.

I just called to say I love you

I just called to say how much I care

I just called to say how much I love you

And I love you from the bottom of my heart

Stevie Wonder

Thank you Stevie.


Retired in 2008 after 40+ years in education/psychology as researcher, teacher, administrator and college professor.
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