Feeling small. It’s a condition everyone experiences now and then. It can occur out of nowhere. Maybe you are in a conversation and someone talks about something you don’t know anything about. You might feel small. Or what about times when someone forgets to include you in something you wanted to be a part of. You might feel small here too. Feeling small, it happens. It happens to all of us.
I think what we’re really feeling though is disconnected from others, disconnected from someone, something or an event. I think it’s a feeling we get when we are alone and we don’t want to be. I also think it’s very, very common. We all feel this “small” feeling at times.
So what do you do about it? The first thing to do is recognize that it happens and then discover what happens to you. Get familiar with the feelings inside yourself and start to put words around it. Maybe it feels like isolation, maybe it feels lonely, perhaps it is sadness, and whatever it is, begin to label it. What you will be doing is learning about yourself, and your inner world. These are essential steps to describing what is going on inside yourself.
So why is it important to understand and label what’s happening inside? First it helps us identify what’s happening with us, so we just don’t feel so terrible. Second, when we understand what’s going on inside us we can explain it to others.
So why would you want to describe feelings of loneliness and sadness to anyone, because all these feelings get evoked because you are alone. You feel disconnected from other people. If you talk about the feelings, no matter what they are, you will be connecting, which is really what the soul is missing.
I know it’s hard to let people know when you feel these feelings. These are the kinds of feelings most of us were taught to keep hidden from others. Many of us were taught to just show happy feelings and hide the hard ones; discomfort, anger, frustration, fear, worry, sadness, guilt, shame. Few people are taught that these feelings are O.K. to reveal. Few people feel comfortable saying things like, “I feel angry at you right now,” or “I am full of sadness,” and “I feel guilty about that.” These are not things that come naturally, but when we can reveal them to others we get rid of the “small” feeling.
When we know what’s happening inside us, when we can identify our feelings, we can then learn how to express them to others. Usually when we are at this stage we are not yelling, we are calmly explaining what is going on with us. When others hear what’s happening inside us almost every time they will want to come closer. A person’s natural instinct is to move toward another when they are describing something vulnerable. That is what makes us human, our ability to move toward and help others.
So when you experience those times where you just feel left out or “small”, try and remember to turn toward another. It will lead you toward the connectedness we all crave.