On Tenderness: Love the Little in All of Us


On Tenderness: Love the Little in All of Us

I was visiting New York recently and it was cold. Standing in a store to get my coffee I noticed an older man wearing a thick winter jacket holding a little doggy in a coat. It was a small dog, about 10 pounds, held close to this man’s breast. The animal’s little head was shaking.

I asked the man the name of his puppy, and in a second his hardness in his face turned into a little boy as his eyes softened and he said in the sweetest voice, “Sprinkles.” My heart felt his heart. I could feel his sincere devotion to his little dog. It was like a melody of a beautiful song the way he spoke of his pup, sweet, pure, wonderful.

We Know and Feel Connected to Our Loved Ones

Couple touching foreheads feels connected and tenderness for one another.

I notice the doggy shaking and I ask, “Is she cold?” He spoke in an informative voice, like he’s known her all his life, “She’s not cold. She got scared by a bus.” This too made me smile, that he was so attentive that he would know this.

I just melted having shared the tenderness with this man. He was a stranger to me, but his sweetness for his pooch made him my closest friend. I loved his ability to love. I loved his tender little boy that loves his puppy, wrapped in a big man’s body.

We Can Return to Tenderness, Even if It Doesn’t Always Feel That Way

This encounter got me thinking about all of us. How all of us have this sweet, precious tender side inside us. Every one of us has this. We have the simple act of pure love and are capable of remembering it when we choose to do so.

Yet it’s so hard sometimes to move past a hurt with someone we love and get close again. It feels like a mountain sits between you and your loved one, and there is no way to make it good again. Even if you did it might not last so what is the point? It’s easy to think too much about getting close to the one we love and talking ourselves out of it.

Our thoughts make it clear and we convince ourselves that our person, our special person, our “Sprinkles” just doesn’t get us, care for us, love us or wants to be with us anymore. We sometimes are so convincing we imagine all kinds of ends to something that just takes remembering, remembering the tender love that drew you together in the first place.

Tenderness Always Lingers Inside of You

Couple relaxing, feeling tenderness and connection.

On this same trip I was travelling in a car on a street and saw a young couple flirting with each other. They were leaning up against a storefront. Both were wearing their big coats, yet the looks on their faces told me they could have cared less about the weather. They were beginning to experience something special between the two of them. It felt like a first date, or at least a new beginning, young, fresh, tender, and pure, like the big man in the coat holding his dog.

They looked so perfect, and that’s how all of us begin. Let’s remember our tender side; it’s still in there inside us, just like it lives in these young kids.

Tenderness Can Return to Your Relationship

Back to the man and the dog. After he told me about how Sprinkles was afraid of the bus, I must have had a look of concern on my face, because he quickly turned to me and said, “She will be alright,” letting me know I don’t have to worry about her. But something inside me already knew that as I replied, “Of course she will. She has you.” And then he smiled. And I smiled. Like we understood what matters.

You can love your partner. You can love them like a big man loves his puppy. All of us are capable of doing this, all of us.


Help Bring Tenderness Back to You and Your Loved One

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Can’t make it on Monday? If you’d like some help feeling warmer and closer in your relationship, try reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you express your love and feel connected with your mate. Give it a read.

Get Couples Counseling

Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.

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