In the previous article, we explored 3 signs of tough love – actions that seem to suggest someone doesn’t care about us, but actually do. A reader commented that it could also stem from someone who is emotionally unavailable – which is absolutely true. For example, someone regularly criticises everything you do, but masks it as calling out your sh*t for your betterment. I think this does more harm and good and is definitely not a sign that their actions come from a place of care & love.
So, I thought it would be rather interesting to explore the other side of the coin in this article. What are some of the actions that people who care about us do, but we tend to take for granted.
1. They Buy Toilet Paper For/With You
Everyone remembers their first love. The initial rush of adrenaline and excitement of receiving flowers, writing notes and going on dates – it lights up every fiber of your being. But mopping the floor? Washing the dishes? Doing the laundry? Buying groceries? Managing expenses? Replacing the light bulb? Not quite as sexy.
And yet, the less sexy stuff are the ones that keep our lives running smoothly. Starting something new is easy. Maintenance is super hard. Ever tried starting a diet vs. sticking to it? 😉 Mainly because it gets boring and habitual after awhile. The mind likes excitement and drama. But flowers don’t keep your house clean!
2. They Leave the Last Piece of Chocolate for You
Assuming they loved that chocolate and would have very much liked to gobble it down – but they didn’t. Instead, they thought to themselves, “This is a slice of heaven, I want to share it with you.” It takes a certain amount of self-control to delay our own gratification for the sake of someone else and you would only do that for someone you truly care about.
The last piece of chocolate could also be waiting for you to finish work before watching the next episode of Stranger Things together or cooking your favourite sambal petai (stink beans with chilli paste) when they absolutely can’t stand the smell of it or choosing to hike the hill you’ve been eyeing instead of playing football with friends.
3. They Listen to your Bad Day even when they had an Awesome Day
There’s a great video of Simon Sinek and Tom Bilyeu talking about consistency vs. intensity. In in, one of the question Simon asked was, “Do you love your wife? Prove it” and one of the examples given was ‘You had an amazing day at work, and she came home and she had a terrible day at work, you didn’t say, “Yea, yea, yea, but let me tell you about my day”‘
This is such a great example that they are putting your needs above their own. Closing a million dollar sale is exhilarating. Being able to put that aside because you need their presence – that takes a huge amount of emotional intelligence, and making a conscious choice.
4. They are not afraid to be known as your Biggest Fan
Did you ever notice that when you start something new, there will always be a portion of people who did not support you till it becomes popular? Be it selling a product, starting a new business or writing a new blog! Even people whom you thought were your friends and would support you no matter what you did.
Don’t blame them! I think human beings are wired to support ‘winning bandwagons’ – people/product whom they think are already a winner. This is because of fear. If you support the ‘wrong side’ in the beginning, you risk alienating ‘ultimate winner’. It’s probably wired in our tribal roots. So, someone who supports you and your dreams right from the start, sometimes even before you believed in yourself – they are a real keeper. Make sure to appreciate them.
5. They Apologise, even when It’s Not Entirely Their Fault
Arguments happen. We say things we don’t mean. They say things they don’t mean. We’re thinking to ourselves, “This is stupid. They have a good point. I have good points too. Why are we fighting? Let’s just apologise and start over!” But then, ego gets in the way and says, “No! You apologised the last time! They need to learn their lesson. I’m not going to them. Let them come to me!”
Apologizing does not always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego.Mark Matthews
6. They Understand & Accept You As You Are
Do you remember the last time someone really took the time to understand you and what you are going through? When you were able to just speak freely, without fear of judgement and all your walls go down. You feel free. You feel accepted even as you are recognising your flaws. You feel loved, unconditionally.
I believe that every human being wants to feel seen, heard & valued (what Dr. Brené Brown calls connection). Zen meditation master, Thich Nhat Hanh also has a brilliant quote on this:
7. They Drop What They Are Doing When You Need Them Most
There are and will be moments when we need someone to turn to, like when we feel like we screwed up a dream job interview, or when we got into a car accident and don’t know what to do, or when we are receiving the news of the death of a dear pet or loved one.
In our most vulnerable moments, we need someone someone we can absolutely trust and count on. Someone to just be present with us. And most of the time, people are doing something! But if they know you need them and are willing to drop whatever it is they are doing (because they know how important this moment is to you), you know they care.
I hope this article has reminded you of someone who cares for you. Maybe it’s your spouse, partner, parent, children or best friend? If it did, drop them a message to let them you they matter to you. Maybe even share this article with them! Don’t take these people for granted.
I also hope that this article provides a more balanced view to the previous one on tough love. A gentle reminder that these are my own thoughts, so they are definitely not to be used as a checklist on whether you should dump someone or not! Cheers!
This is the 10th article!! 🥳 🎉A special note to everyone who has been supporting this humble site by liking, commenting and sharing these articles. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It means the world to me! You rock! 🤘