Last week my wife clipped my daughter’s nails.
A few days ago she sat down to start filing our taxes, as she does every year.
Yesterday she did 3 or 4 loads of laundry for our kids.
Last night she scrubbed our shower, ran the dishes, washed our couch pillow covers, and wiped down the bathroom.
Just this morning she wrote out the check for daycare like she does every month.
And this weekend when we head to Phoenix for a quick few days in the sun, she will pack our kids’ bags for their adventures at grandma and grandpa’s.
These six examples are just what came to me within ten seconds of thinking about the numerous little (and big) things that my wife does for our family. Give me ten more seconds and that list would double.
But the point of this post isn’t to bestow praises on my wife (though she does deserve them).
The point is that those little things are really the big things in our relationship. And so it goes in life.
That’s not just a trite colloquialism. It’s the truth. It’s really easy to get frustrated in relationships, especially if we’ve been with someone for a long time. We start to see seemingly glaring flaws at the expense of the little things.
We hold up a penny to block the sun, and then complain that there’s no sun. The sun (the positive little things) is enormous, but all we focus on is the small penny (the flaws) in front of it.
This isn’t just true for gratitude or relationships either. This is true for life itself.
Our small habits become our direction and success in life.
Our small mindset shifts dictate our level of happiness.
Life is the little things. Entirely.
The saying death by 1,000 paper cuts is true for every area of our life, and so is the reverse. Our big achievements are made up of 1,000 small actions, and our relationships are made up of 1,000 little things.
We all have a propensity to give the bad things too much mental space. It’s on us to take a step back and look at the little things in our life instead.
If you want to be happy in your relationship then be intentional about recognizing all of the amazing little things your significant other does.
If you want to be wealthy, or fit, or happy, then look at the small habits that make up each individual day.
If you want to accomplish a large goal, then break it down into 1,000 achievable actions.
Death by 1,000 paper cuts happens when we focus on the big things at the expense of the little things. It’s when we think a better house will improve our happiness at home, when we’ve failed to get our proverbial house in order first. It’s when we have audacious dreams that aren’t backed up by small daily actions. It’s when we make some dramatic shift in our diet or workout without focusing on small changes that are sustainable.
Life is the little things. If we want to find success in any area, we have to get smaller, not bigger.
500 WORDS IN YOUR INBOX
Join thousands of others creating the best version of themselves.
New essays delivered every Sunday.