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Feeling Small

"Feeling small" is a feeling that has hit me so hard lately and it is the most depleting feeling. I have exuded and have been dubbed high in confidence, authenticity, and resiliency. So obviously, it really hurts when I feel like I am a "poser" in all those amazing and positive attributes.

I could explain in very lengthy detail of the how this feeling of smallness has come about but honestly, I am not entirely ready to share to world. Needless to say, very close loved ones and others who I have valued so intensely have created circumstances that this feeling has been able to be brought to a rearing head.

It is not that I have not experienced this feeling before. I have done extensive work on myself and have been on a long journey of self-reflection and self-growth to try to prohibit this feeling from happening. I have learned of my authenticity and beliefs and have been able to set healthy boundaries to continue to do so. What I have learned, however, is that despite my determination of the work on and on myself, I am not immune to the feeling of "not enough" or feeling small.

I invite you to think back of all the time you have been made to feel small, insignificant, undervalued, or 'not enough" in the course of your life. Perhaps it was a family member, schoolteacher, boss, or peer that made you feel as such. Trace back your past relationships. Look at who in your life now may make you feel this way now.

You will find a pattern in the type of person you choose and the way they make you feel about yourself. You’re drawn to people who give you just enough but never more than that. You chase the kind of love that seems hard to get and even harder to keep. You romanticize drama in relationships that too often make you question your worth and wonder where you stand. It leaves you feeling confused. You may walk on eggshells. There is a reason why you’re the one to get attached, the one who cares a little more, gives a little more, feels a little more.

I am not just talking about love interests or domestic partnerships either. This includes the relationships you have with friends, work mates, immediate and extended family, and close peers.

You are shrinking yourself into relationships that are too small for you. It feels as if you are drowning in a shallow pool. You’re not allowing yourself to claim the space you deserve. It is hard to see when we are in it, but we do deserve the life we intend to have and the relationships in it.

Keeping ourselves small is a way of protecting ourselves from being our most authentic person. Do you give yourself permission to be exactly who you are and ask for what you want? Do you stand up for yourself and express your needs unapologetically?

I have read countless books and have listened to numerous speeches and podcasts explaining exactly this. I thought I had given myself permission to be exactly who I am and have shown expectational vulnerability in asking for what I want and need. Turns out, I am half-assing it- knowingly or unknowingly at times.

Yet, most people don’t ever give themselves permission to live authentically or ask permission to do so because they never learned even an ounce of how to live larger. We’re scared to embrace everything we are and can be because we think it’s too much for anyone to handle, and our relationships reflect that. We refrain from people who could and would meet our innermost needs and desires and keep choosing the ones who won’t- and just don't. This doesn’t imply that the people you fall for or surround yourself with are necessarily toxic. Sometimes they are genuinely trying to be what you need, doing their best to love you with all they have, but they can’t. They can’t, because they aren’t ready, and you aren’t either.

Read that again...

They can’t, because they aren’t ready, and you aren’t either.

You can’t blame them for not being what you don’t know you’re worthy of. ‘Settling for less’ ultimately isn’t about them — it’s about you. You are settling for less because you’re simply not asking for more. You will not say how you feel to them directly out of fear- that they will leave all together, hurt you even more, or ultimately not live up to the expectation of them "changing" to your ideal version of them.

You are settling for less when you feel the need to prove your worthiness. You are settling for less when you have to earn their attention and approval. You are waiting for them to say they are proud of you and relish in all the amazingness of you or your accomplishments, to feed you what you are starving your own self of.

You are settling for less when you are compromising on your emotional and physical needs as you don’t want to come on too strong.

You are settling for less when you can’t be your most authentic self around them. There should be no fear of showing and being our true selves, but the fear takes hold.

You are settling for less when you have to make them love you.

Precisely, you are settling for less when you know deep down being with them isn’t healthy, not because they’re trying to hurt you, but because you’re completely missing the point. The people you fall in love with, not solely romantically, are a reflection of the parts of yourself you haven’t learned how to love yet.

The truth is, you’re not looking for love, acceptance, or connection— you’re looking for someone to give you permission to provide all of that to yourself.

Read that again.

The truth is, you’re not looking for love, acceptance, or connection— you’re looking for someone to give you permission to provide all of that to yourself.

You’re not looking for love, praise, value, or connection. You’re asking for permission to love, praise, and value yourself as well as show vulnerability.

You’re looking for someone to tell you you’re good enough in this world and things are going to be okay.

You’re looking for someone to fix what you’ve deemed unworthy a long time ago. The parts of you that have been bruised and scratched in the past. You want for someone to hold your broken pieces and make you feel whole.

Can we take a minute and sit with that?

What you need to understand is that no one can do that for you. As long as you don’t excavate those parts, examine them gently in the light of day, and mend them in all their fragility, you will engage in relationships that feed your fear of inadequacy and incompleteness.

Your emotional needs will never be met.

In the end, you know it’s never the ones who aren’t ready to love you that make you feel small. It’s you. This is hard to comprehend because it is much easier to blame someone else. Even I do it. I will blame family, superiors, and my significant other even when I know to look within myself first. I recognize that. I know how to self-reflect. It does not make it any easier to see the reason behind it.

You are going to have to ask yourself why you want to feel that way. You are going to have to learn how to hold all of your pieces on your own. You are going to have to give yourself everything you need and deserve- on your own for your own well-being.

You are going to have to teach yourself that you are good enough. Yell it loud and proud to yourself. It will feel uncomfortable at first. You must build the muscle. It is imperative to your mental, emotional, and physical health- not only for you but for the meaningful relationships you have.

You are going to have to give yourself permission to love yourself exactly the way you want to be loved, and when you do, you will attract someone who is ready to do just that, because it is simply inevitable.

Show them the way.

Stand tall.


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