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Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff


The key to happiness is all about putting things in perspective.  Too many times people will overreact to small things.  They will become ridiculously mad or very sad over things, which in the big picture, don’t amount to a hill of beans.  Letting these little things in life upset us is a waste of cycles and can destroy our chances of being happy.  I’m talking about the little things that are forgotten in a few hours or a few days.

Willpower Is Stronger In The Morning

I have read that we start each day with a certain amount of willpower and tolerance.  As the day goes on, our willpower and tolerance is drained, so that as the day draws closer to an end, we become less willing to do the things we need to do or become less tolerant of things that don’t really mean much.  Then if you start each day, already drained from the days or weeks before, you start with a lower amount of willpower and tolerance to the point where you are miserable as soon as you wake up.  This is a bad way to start the day.  The goal is to create routines and habits that are just something that you do, versus having to rely on willpower to get you through them. 

From A Nice Request To A Yelling Demand

If you are like many parents, I am sure you are telling your kids to clean up after themselves constantly through the day.  Despite your constant reminders, still no change.  This becomes very frustrating.  It gets to the point where you are constantly on the kids for leaving dirty dishes in the sink or not wiping the crumbs off the kitchen counter.  These little things keep happening daily and the kids don’t seem to care nor are they concerned about your constant nice requests.  Eventually your nice request becomes a yelling demand because you are just fed up.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff And It’s All Small Stuff

I completely understand as I am sure every parent does.  It’s easy to get upset because you’re just tired of your request falling on deaf ears.  I felt the same way too, until I read a book by Richard Carlson titled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff.   It made me stop and think about the things that upset me that really is the small stuff.  Leaving a dirty dish in the den or a few crumbs on the kitchen counter is really the small stuff.  It really doesn’t matter.  True, we want our kids to be responsible.  We want them to establish good habits.  But becoming upset and not tolerating these things peacefully can have a huge impact on our day and on our relationships with the ones we love.

A Huge Negative Impact

Getting upset, being in a bad mood, and holding on to anger and frustration from one moment to the next, or one day to the next, can be really stressful.  It can have a huge negative impact on our happiness.  Wouldn’t we be happier if we could tolerate these small things and positively encourage our kids to do better next time?  If we could identify the small things, and not make them big things, we wouldn’t need our willpower to fight back frustration.  We would have established a tolerance through acceptance.  Acceptance that the little things in life should not spark rage in us.  In the grand scheme of life, these things that upset us are not a big deal. 

Each Day Is A Blessing

These little failures of our kids to meet our expectations are really small in comparison to the major problems that can be experienced in life.  Death, broken or scarred relationships, major health problems…these are way more important than crumbs on the counter.  Think of it this way.  If your child had a fatal form of cancer they were fighting, you would see each day with them as a blessing.  Would you worry about the crumbs on the counter or the dirty dishes they didn’t clean up?  Of course not, because they are small things compared to the major things in life.  Having a good relationship with your kids, their respect and love, and a happy home are waaaaay more important than some crumbs on the counter. 

What’s More Important?

This doesn’t just go for the kids.  Think about other relationships in your life.  Your spouse, best friend,  sister, etc….  Think of anyone you are with regularly, who does things you don’t approve of.  Things that cause you anger, depression, or frustration.  Ask yourself, is what you are getting upset about worth it?  Is it more important than your relationship with that person?  I would bet probably not.

Final Thoughts

So many people go through life each day, unhappy, looking for failures in others. They enjoy pointing out failures and correcting others.  Sometimes it is purposeful, but most of the time it’s subconscious.  It’s a habit that has formed over time.  When others fail to meet our expectations, we tend to hold on to them, letting them fester, eating us up inside.  Then every little unmet expectation continues to pile up.  We may be calm for a short while, but eventually the cup runneth over.

I have come to realize that 99% of the things that upset me won’t matter tomorrow, in a week, or in a month.  So why slowly ruin relationships with someone each day, when the things that I am letting upset me are no big deal.  Though these small events are brief, the way we view and respond to them can affect us and others for a long time.  I understand all the little things can add up.   But ask yourself, how can you learn to tolerate these small events?  At least to the point where you don’t get angry or upset any more.  Ask yourself how you can work more towards removing expectations of others.  How you can stop lashing out when others don’t do what you expected them to do?  Maybe staying calm and reminding these people what you would like to happen would be better than arguing and yelling?  Remember, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  Don’t sacrifice a beautiful relationship or your own sanity for things that don’t really matter. 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff was a great book and helped me to see things differently.  It is easy to read and can help change your life.  If you want to pick it up, use my Amazon affiliate link below by clicking on the book:

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  1. […] really matter.  If you see the dishes in the den, don’t get angry about it.  This is the small stuff we talked about before, so don’t sweat it.  Call for your son to come clean his dishes up.  […]

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