Sometimes I feel sort of little. I’m “the baby” of my family of origin; I have 3 older siblings with whom I was presumably always, as a child, trying to keep up. Always comparing myself, & finding myself wanting.
Now I hang out with a lot of environmental activists, compared to many of whom I feel kinda the same way. They are so smart, so competent, so ballsy. In the anti-nuke biz I am totally blown away by the sort of bigness of my colleagues’ knowledge, technical expertise & years of experience.
I guess I have one or two other reasons for feeling “small.” All of it very personal, I suppose you could say. Family dysfunction stuff…you know.
Yet I strongly suspect my feeling small or not always quite good enough is not a feeling that is at all uncommon. I think a ton of us do.
I think most of us have a lot of … holes in us – from our dysfunctional families/childhoods, & our dysfunctional culture. The “nuclear family” is aptly named, isn’t it?? It doesn’t seem to serve us very well at all. (It’s too darn small!!)
Paradoxically, the times I feel “big” – feel really good about what I’m doing & the ways in which I’m contributing – are when I’m not just thinking about myself. I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing ‘cos it’s good for my kids…or my community…or my family…or the world.
I like to try & keep my ego in check, ‘cos anytime I find myself getting a swelled head, I feel I’m just being that “little” me. I prefer to be the “big” me – the unselfish me, the do-I-really-need-to-be-petty??-no-I-don’t” me. The “what-is-best-for-all-of-us?-I’m-just-one-of-the-worker-bees-in-the-colony” me.
When I’m succeeding at being “big me” instead of “little me,” I feel…useful. Loved. Appreciated. Like one…small…member of a big & wonderful tribe of people.
I may very well go on rassling forever with the old neurosis about not being good enough. (Maybe not, too. That would be cool!!) Meanwhile, I think I’m making pretty good use of myself, & that helps me feel … big… in a good way.
p.s. I’ve been reading Stephen Levine’s wonderful book Unattended Sorrow – Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart. Awesome, generous, compassionate, wise book (& author!). Levine sure “gets” the littleness/bigness stuff. We are all rassling with it…
p.p.s. I spent Saturday hanging out with the Occupy Toronto crowd. Fun, fun, fun!! I think we were probably all feeling both little & BIG. It was an awesome day!
‘Quote of the day’: “He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson