Finding meaning in the little things


Demetria Slyt, Opinion Writer

We each have many different relationships in our life, whether they be family, friends, romantic, or even professional. Within all of these relationships, we find a greater appreciation for the little things that people do for us. When I say “small things” I mean things such as favors or gifts, or even simply turning on a nightlight. Sometimes these little acts of love or simple rituals can mean a lot to people and become bigger than even the grandest gesture. It’s that time someone takes to think of you, your needs, and your well-being that matters. It can mean so much to have connections like this in your life. Why are the little things so important? Why do they even matter? 

Have you ever heard the term butterfly effect? Usually, I think it is referred to in a negative way, like in movies or other media. While this term is technically associated with chaos theory, I am considering it from a different and objectively more positive angle. The butterfly effect refers to small things such as the wind from a butterfly wing causing larger changes or occurrences somewhere else. Here I’m using it as a sort of metaphor or an example of how small acts can influence the change or development of an individual. Positive influence can do a lot for somebody, especially those struggling with anxiety or depression. 

One of the most important groups of people in my life is my family. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be who I am today If it weren’t for the influences of my family. I recognize that this must be true for most people because family is always generally gonna be your biggest influence. I also know that not everyone has the same roots as I do, so I suppose I should say that the people closest to you are the biggest influence in your life. The people closest to you lift you up and are always around to help you out, whether that help is emotional or physical. My family does a great deal for me in that sense, I’m not sure I can think of a bad day I’ve had where someone didn’t come talk to me or make me laugh to feel better. My family also does a lot of small things for me like giving me rides, taking me out to eat, or even just watching one of my weird shows or movies with me; even though they don’t necessarily like them. I try to do the same small things for them in at least some of these aspects because I care about them and I hope that they’re able to see that.  

I think a big part of doing things for someone isn’t just out of kindness, but also out of respect and admiration for that person as well. For example, I respect my parents very much. When I lived at home I tried my best to help out where I could, on top of watching after my younger siblings (and bossing them around a tiny bit to help me). I knew my parents worked long hours, after a while, I recognized how nice coming home and not having to work even more must have felt. Anyway, my whole point is that we often respect the people that we have in our lives and generally we support their decisions; as long as those decisions don’t cause them physical or emotional harm. We respect their habits, rituals, and things that make them comfortable. We let them have those things because it means a lot to them and makes them happy, and that makes us happy. 

Small (positive) things can influence bigger things, similar to the butterfly effect, this is true with many people who struggle with depression or other issues. Small favors or gifts aren’t only done in kindness, but also out of respect as well. With Thanksgiving practically around the corner, I think It is important to always reflect on all that you have in your life and be thankful. You could reflect on what others do for you, the small things included, and let them know you care. What did you think about today’s article? Do you appreciate all of the little things that people do for you, or that you do for others? What do the little things mean to you? As always, feel free to reach out to be via email with feedback or your own opinions on the topic I discussed today. I love hearing back from people and getting new perspectives on things. Stay tuned for new articles every week, and stay safe out there! 


Demetria Slyt is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]