The Little Things

I’m really appreciating my growing understanding of how the “littlest” conversations can be such gold mines for self-connection, self-awareness; and I’m hopeful that my example will be helpful to you as well. My husband and I were at the store this morning. He wanted to pick up a few things for breakfast and I needed a few things. I had decided I wanted to look at coffee. I don’t usually drink coffee, I’m a tea drinker, and when I do it’s usually de-caffeinated, but I had a hankering for some real caffeine coffee so I was looking. My husband found me looking at coffee and said “You’re not going to pay $13 for a cup of coffee are you!”

Now to be honest I was just debating whether the $9 bag of coffee I was considering buying would be worth it. I thought there might be a small bag at home in the freezer from the last time my caffeine drinking son was in our house. I also was considering the fact that we would be moving in about 1 month, across the ocean no less, and did I really think I would drink all of it in 1 month? And if I didn’t was I going to want to ship it? Really?

However, I immediately observed myself becoming defensive, “I will if I want to”! And then I said, “No, I think I may have some at home.” But the conversation tweaked me. I wasn’t really strongly committed to buying the coffee, but my old feeling of anger and the strategy of defensiveness still popped up some. I wanted to ability to make a choice myself about this. And really, it’s just $13!

sad face

I was also very curious about what was happening for my husband. Why would a $13 bag of coffee stimulate a reaction like that? I told him of my desire to discuss this further if he were open to it, and he was. I agreed that I had a reactive trance with this discussion; it certainly stimulated my core need for autonomy. This is a need that seems to pop up for me in many situations. I believe as a child, for emotional protection, I strove to please everyone. If had decided that if I were “good” as a child I could avoid embarrassment, shame, guilt and other negative feelings. You may have decided the same. Well-meaning adults may have even taught you this in your life. But this encourages self-disconnect and certainly your need for autonomy, making your own decisions, is never met. You are choosing to make everyone else happy at your own expense. Although in the short-term, you think it’s for you because you manage, for the most part, to avoid those feelings listed above.

people pleaser

But with this strategy I was taking responsibility for everyone else’s emotions around me. That’s a heavy load to bear. And there was a part of me, deep down, that was screaming, “No! I want to count!” That would sneak up at times when stimulated, and become a defensive, angry reaction. That was the part that poked its head up a little with this conversation. Although, I’m becoming more aware of it happening, and with that awareness comes more freedom to see more objectively what is going on.

I was guessing my husband was feeling some fear and disbelief. He wanted to trust that there would be enough money for all the things we have planned in the next few months. By understanding our own reactions more, I had room to be curious. To be honest, if he would see this, my belief is it would help me more with letting go of my misplaced responsibility for his feelings. That of course is something more I need to work on. But he was open to talking about this, and agreed that was some of what was going on. He agreed he had been stimulated by the cost of the coffee.

I told him I was longing to be free of the power of money in my life, and he agreed he was longing for that also. We were able to have such insight about our life’s longings with a simple reaction in the coffee isle!

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