'Big Me', 'Small Me'

'Big Me', 'Small Me'

This is not a post about body shape, inflating yourself with positivity or your inner child (despite the picture!).  Here I’m talking about 2 contrasting states, ways of being in the world, and how they feel on the inside.

On the one hand ‘Small Me’ feels contracted, wounded, stressed, any number of negative emotions -sadness, anger, fear- are circulating  and my mind is full of stories of being a victim, judgments about others, myself and the world, remembering past hurts and worrying about future problems.

‘Big Me’ feels free, full of the energy of life.  I stand tall and breathe deeply.  I feel connected to other people and to a spiritual nature far greater than me. I am inspired by my surroundings.  I am involved in this current moment.  I’m thinking, but mainly about the current situation.  I’m feeling but the feelings are passing through. I’m relaxed, with no effort involved.  I’m in my flow.

Of course we all have our own versions of these two states, perhaps you recognise yours?   There are also many states between these two opposites.  I have previously talked about them as coming from fear or love but I now realise the key is our relationship with our thinking.

Thinking is a natural human thing.  It happens all the time and is highly valued in our society.  Thinking goes hand in hand with  feeling, although we might be more aware of one or the other.  Our thoughts are a cocktail of our past, our interpretation of the present and our predictions about the future.  It can be hard to see sometimes, but our thoughts are not us and what we are thinking is not ‘reality’.

In some situations thinking is very useful but we can easily get into habitual thought patterns or trying to figure out the unfathomable.  When we become caught up in our thinking, it takes us into the place of ‘small me’. 

There are some techniques that involve spotting negative thinking and manipulating those thoughts.  Some can be effective but it is then a full time job to monitor our thinking and there is always a danger we are giving those negative thoughts so much attention that we are actually adding another layer of judgmental thoughts to the mix.

A different approach is to know that these thoughts and feelings, even the most negative, will not and can not harm us.  They are like the weather, the experience of them can be pretty uncomfortable but they are just passing through and our natural  selves, all that makes the ‘Big Me’ is intact and whole underneath. As Jack Pransky says, ‘if we allow ourselves to fall out of our thinking into the quiet, we can hear healthier, wiser thoughts within’

When you can relax and allow your thoughts and feelings to do their thing, the time you spend in ‘Small Me’ becomes less frightening and passes more quickly.  That leaves you free to hang out in ‘Big Me’, your natural state, full of possibilities and potential. 

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