“To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way.” ~ E. M. Forster
Feeling small in a bad way is usually a product of comparisons to those around me, resulting in conversations with myself about how I am currently in a situation (mentally) that I don’t want to be in. When I arrive here to this place where everything feels difficult, feels stuck, feels defeatist, I’m tempted to visit for a while – after all, it’s comfortable and familiar. But it soon can spiral into the blame game and damaging self-speak. Which typically leaves me helpless and confused (emotionally).
My antidote is to leave the house. I’ve often wondered if this might not be running away. But since I’ve been freelancing and can call my time (mostly) my own, I look at it as running to. This simple act manages to do a lot for my self-esteem. Outside in the fresh air, a reset button gets pushed. I might not even have a particular destination in mind, but jumping on a bus and then jumping off when it stops some place that interests me, stimulates my imagination, clears away those dead-weight-thoughts and reconnects me to the world.
Feeling small in a good way also has a positive effect on my self-esteem. When I see the ocean or stop to look up at the night sky, I feel small but I’m aware of being connected to something larger. A painting or a beautifully written novel has the same effect – yes, it’s just me, but there are others out there that feel the same way. The connection to something larger than ourselves reminds us of other worthwhile aspects that are part of world as well, such surprise, wonder and magic.
I need to remember this.