Those who know me well know that I’m a huge softie with a fairly fragile heart. Even those who don’t know me very well have probably seen me cry in the middle of the street. God knows how many times my mom has told me that I have to stop letting every little thing have a huge impact on me. I am very much aware of the fact that I care too easily and too much too quickly.
For a very long time, I thought this was some weird problem I always had to deal with, but over the last two years I have realised that maybe the problem isn’t the fact that I care. The problem was that I hadn’t realised that this is a crucial part of my personality, and therefore I never had the chance to properly process certain feelings. Eventually, I decided to start noticing what exactly triggered these overwhelming emotions.
I realised that it was never provoked by intense fear, a surge of anger, or stressful situations. Even movies or books rarely make me cry – although I cannot deny sobbing at the death of Bob, one of my favourite characters in my Heroes of Olympus phase back in 2013.
Actually, it was always linked to something or someone that I genuinely care deeply about.
I realised that it was natural of me to immediately see the best in everyone, to instantly search subconsciously for the kindness in people, to find the light at the end of the tunnel even when it feels infinitely dark. These guileless aspects of my personality taught me to always fall in love with the little things in my everyday life, which in turn shaped me into a person with a heart that feels every emotion very deeply.
The thing about the little things is that they are the most paramount aspect of our lives; every small action that we take blossoms into something much bigger. They dictate our behaviour and actions, which determine the way we react to particular situations. Thus, they have a huge role in constructing our personalities. Your character reflects the way you view the world around you, which is a significant building block to your relationships. Ultimately, the words you choose, the way you act, and the way you make people feel when they are around you – the simplest parts of who you are – are actually the memories your family and friends remember. Furthermore, the unique ability to find joy in the little things refers back to gratitude. Once you learn to direct your energy to the beautiful aspects already present in your life, you immediately become a more grateful person.
Granted, sometimes these feelings make me look like a blotchy, puffy-eyed clown, but they also allow me to feel intense love more often than any saddening emotion. It forces me to focus on the cheerful parts of life that make it worth living, even when the world sometimes feels like a black hole. Especially when the world feels like a black hole.
So once I accepted that I am an emotional cupcake, I learned to direct my emotions towards everything that makes me feel grateful. Unquestionably, this is what life is all about.
It’s about the moments that feel like forever, and the bittersweet ones where you realise you will miss them when they are gone as you are living them – like your 20th birthday party with all your friends in your living room and the loud music that you mindlessly hoped wouldn’t disturb your neighbours. Waking up to a sunny day in Amsterdam that resembles the warm weather of your home country and warms your homesick Brazilian heart. It’s about calling home and seeing your little sister run to the phone every single time, excitedly saying your name with a tone so full of pure joy and love even though you are far away and haven’t seen her in months. It’s about walking out of the arrivals gate at the airport and seeing your family again. It’s about the look of happiness on your grandmother’s face when she picks up the phone when you call. It’s the feeling of love radiating from your mom when you buy her flowers on a random Thursday of a random week. It’s seeing how much your dad’s face lights up when you say you will finally go go-karting with him. It’s the small heart attack your friend has when you come home and surprise her at her job and the tight hug that follows. It’s going bodyboarding with your boyfriend for the first time on a cold January afternoon while trying to not get stung by the jellyfishes scattered around the beach.
It’s about gratitude and serenity and joy. It’s hope and forgiveness and kindness. Empowerment and enthusiasm and appreciation. Inspiring and being inspired. It’s about giving and receiving love, and allowing it to fill your heart to the point of making you want to cry because you feel like you’re about to explode. Consequently, fighting to look for the bright side fills a fragile heart with peace. It makes you have the determination to find the good in the bad because it takes a lot of courage to stay empathetic and optimistic.
Ultimately, everyone has their own unique little things, and they contribute to our little things in such a significant manner. I still sleep with the teddy bear my sister gave me when I was moving away to university. My comfiest outfit is my boyfriend’s oversized hoodie that he gave me two years ago. The kindest compliments given to me were from my high school friend when we stayed up talking until ungodly hours on school nights. I have the motivational quotes my chemistry teacher handed out to our class and the fridge magnet from Italy my prom date gave me as part of my room’s decoration. My wall is being gradually overfilled with polaroids I have taken of people I love and moments I want to hold on to forever. I keep all of the handwritten letters I receive in a box inside my closet because I love the fact that someone sat down to write me a card, and I savour the memories of the nights spent dancing in bars with my friends back in Portugal just like I savoured the oily margarita pizza we would eat at 5 in the morning before heading home. The best surprise I’ve had was when my mom filled my room with colourful balloons for my 18th birthday. One of the sweetest moments of my year is waking up on my birthday to see a message from my best friend and knowing that despite the timezone difference, she never misses being the very first person to text me that day every year without fail.
At the end of the day, small drops of water make the endless ocean. Every small action builds up into significant moments in our lives that mark us forever. We are shaped, in one way or another, by every person we meet. Equally, we touch the lives of everyone we meet and participate in shaping them into who they are.
Maybe I’m not overly sentimental; maybe I’m just an intensely ardent person. I rather appreciate every emotion than miss out on those wonderful, heart-warming moments in life. They preserve and heal your heart, and overfill it with kindness. Of course, we all go through painful moments, but that’s just life proving to us that we are stronger than we think. That’s the thing about the little things: they create a path for love, maturity and gratitude. They show you how to appreciate every small action of genuine kindness. When you look back, you realise that they are the most precious moments in life.
Written by Laiana Farias.