• Tamar

Maybe DO Sweat (Some of) the Small Stuff

We have been taught not to get triggered by "little things" in life. Generally, I agree. There is no reason to stress out over things beyond your control. Being a perfectionist isn't all that perfect! Accepting and allowing for flaws, adjustments, and go-with-the-flow expectations does create more peace and harmony in life. However, when it comes to relationships, paying attention to little things can truly set you up for success OR pave the way for ultimate failure.


Relationships are made up of tiny actions and attitudes that build on each other to culminate in larger issues and circumstances over time. And this isn't just in romantic relationships - I am talking about ALL relationships. Coworkers, children, former spouses, friends...all of it! Every relation we have that extends over a period of time is built upon layer and layer of "little" things. When we have positive interactions with someone, it builds a positive relationship. When we have negative interactions, it fosters a negative one. This much is pretty obvious. But unless we pay close attention to how we interact, oftentimes we don't see what is coming for us until it is too late.


For example, imagine butting heads with a boss or coworker over a particular project, or you work through jumbled, confusing instructions to piece something major together, resenting your boss/coworker the whole way. When it's done, you breathe a sign of relief and plunge into the next thing. But, because of the stressful lack of communication, the foundation has already been laid for a difficult working situation. What if instead of pushing through and complaining outside work and internally freaking out while working, you sat for a moment at the BEGINNING of the difficulties and thought about the problem? Maybe you don't feel clear on the instructions. Maybe you feel like you need more support in some way. Maybe you would like to divvy up the tasks differently. Maybe you would like to be pointed toward existing resources that can better exemplify what you are being asked to do. Maybe, maybe, maybe. What if you thought ALL this through on your own or with a coach and then brought your needs to your boss/coworker? The project - and certainly your communication - would be off to a better start! The trajectory of your future relationship as you work together would be stronger and more successful overall.


The same is true for romantic relationships. Maybe there are certain things you really enjoy that get overlooked, or certain things your partner does that drive you crazy, or a particular way that your partner speaks to you that sets you off. Whatever it is, if you pause and FEEL how you feel when the trigger occurs, you can pinpoint the problem and communicate to set it right before it escalates. Thinking it through and talking it over with yourself or a professional can help you decide what the issue is and how you want to work with it in a way that feels best for you. Addressing a "small" trigger issue in an emotionally detached, mature way can fend off bigger problems down the road. And it can draw you and your partner closer to one another, creating more love and respect in the relationship than ever before.


Paying attention to the little warnings in our bodies, the triggers and stresses that eventually spin us out of control or damage a relationship beyond repair is important. It isn't "small," "insignificant," or "nit picky" to express our needs clearly in ANY relationship. In fact, it is the healthiest thing you can do to ensure your relationships are happy, effective, and much more satisfying.

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