When You're Feeling Small



Have you ever felt inferior? Small and insignificant? Or less than?  

When I was a little girl, I took piano lessons from an older gentleman. He had a calming presence. I still remember him telling me how to position my hands on the piano keys, arched and soft like I was holding a bubble in my hand. I looked forward to my lessons with all the confidence and eagerness of a young heart ready to learn. 

But then he retired and the person who attempted to fill his shoes was a younger, intimidating female. She made me feel nervous and insecure. And when she asked my mom what kind of grades I made, the curtains closed on that season of my life. Her condescending tone communicated that she didn’t feel I was learning fast enough. 

I lost the desire to play the piano and never did go back. Sad considering musical talent is in my DNA. Who knows the piano player I might have been if I had stuck it out. 

Sometimes that same little girl follows me into my adult life. Especially when I get caught up in comparing myself to others. When I feel envious of the way other writers articulate their words. Or I wish I had been the one with some ingenious idea. Or that I had the determination to workout consistently and drink a smoothie every day (I do drink smoothies, but every day? I just can’t.) And these New Years resolutions/new way of living posts are really killing my vibe. 

You know what comparison does? It makes me want to quit everything. 

My 15 year old said something about me the other day that I was shocked to hear. In a good way. It made me immediately stand up a little straighter. I felt confidence rise up from within. Winning the praise of a teenager is a rare thing. Winning the praise of my teenager? Rare and beautiful and good for my heart. Because the truth is, the approval of the world matters little if I’m failing where it matters most. 

I could sit here and pep talk to you and tell you not to compare yourself because there is only ONE you. And I’ve said it before and that is so true. But the other truth? 

There will always be someone more intelligent, more articulate, braver, more confident, prettier, skinnier, wealthier, more successful….I could go on. You get the point. 

A quote from a recent favorite book of mine says “if you are the most talented person in the room, you need to find a new room.”  

I can feel inspired by others and not feel inferior to them.  

I can remember that somewhere, someone is watching me. At home, it’s my children. In public, it’s all the seemingly insignificant encounters I have on a daily. 

We all have a realm of influence. Even if yours feel small and insignificant. Someone, somewhere in your circle of interactions, whether in public or just on social media is influenced by what you post and say and how you live your life. 

That’s no small thing. 

Have you ever seen a tree uprooted? The roots are massive. They spread deep and wide. 

So do our lives. There is nothing small or inferior or insignificant about your one and only life.

Quote reference: Kleon, A (2012) Steal Like An Artist. Greenwich Village, NY; Workman Publishing.

Photo credit: Flickr

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