When Someone Makes You Feel Small, Grow Large

Business situationHave you ever been in a situation where you felt small? Maybe someone said something or did something that seemed to reduce your size by half or more?

This happened to me not that long ago. Someone said some things, made me feel “less than,” not good enough, and generally as if I were in some way below her. I allowed myself to buy in, though. There’s the rub. I gave away my power. I shrank.

I responded as if this person had power over me in some way. I didn’t trust my intuition, the voice inside, which said, “Stand up tall…taller yet! Stand up for yourself. Summon your inner power.” Instead, I did the opposite.

People who make us feel small want to take away our power so we cave in to their desires, so we feel compelled to act and to think the way they want. The response, therefore, should be just the opposite: We should draw on our inner power and grow large. We should get big and strong!

Summoning Your Inner Power

As I know from experience, and you probably do, too, sometimes this is easier said than done. Yet, you can grow large when someone makes you feel small. You need only remember your own worth.

Recall that you have value, despite what they think. No matter what they have said or done, that feeling of being made small should spark a sense of righteousness—not anger. You don’t need to prove them wrong. Don’t come from a place of vindictiveness. Nor do you want to create a desire to become bigger than them. You simply want to behave in a manner that befits someone who is tall and powerful—self-assured, comfortable with who he or she is—rather than small and powerless (and this has nothing to do with your actual height). Behave in a way that would normally demand respect, even if they don’t choose to give it to you.

In this way, you take back your power, and you stand tall. You walk away from the situation feeling large, rather than small, because you didn’t behave like someone who is small. You didn’t cower. You didn’t act afraid or as if you could do nothing about the situation. You stood your ground, courageous and proud.

Don’t Allow Anyone to Make You Less Than

I realize that if you have self-confidence or self-esteem issues, this can seem like a difficult thing to do. However, when someone makes you feel small, you know in your gut they are wrong about you. That’s why you don’t like the feeling. It’s like your internal warning system goes off and tells you that something is amiss. So no matter what your mind tells you—no matter your false and limiting beliefs about yourself—this is the time to connect to your higher self and find that place within that knows you are okay just as you are.

Plus, no matter your beliefs about yourself, inner power comes from a knowing that no one can make you less than you are unless you allow them to do so. People can say and do all sorts of things, but how we feel about ourselves is a choice we make. You can choose to feel big or small, powerful or powerless, in any situation. When someone says something that makes you feel small or powerless, you have chosen to feel that way.

So when you start feeling small and powerless, consider that a trigger to grow larger and to draw on your inner power. Tell yourself that you are not less than the other person.

In fact, the sheer fact that they are trying to make you feel small says something about their character not yours. Most people who have a need to make others feel small actually have self-worth issues themselves. They make others feel small so they can feel large. They make others feel powerless so they can feel powerful. Remember that when you choose to reduce your size because of someone’s words or actions, and immediately choose to grow instead.

Bullies need to feel more powerful than others because of their own internal “not-good-enough” issues. They terrorize others and make them feel powerless to gain a sense of being large and powerful themselves. Inside they feel small and powerless most of the time.

The Vow

Today I made a vow never to let anyone make me feel small again—not a stranger, a colleague, a friend, or a family member. When I start to feel myself shrinking (choosing to feel small), I will see this as a sign, and I’ll stand tall. I’ll reach inside and summon my power. And I’ll not allow myself to be bullied. I’ll take a stand for myself.

How about you? Leave me a comment below and tell me about how you deal with feeling small.

Image courtesy icefront | stockfresh.com

29 thoughts on “When Someone Makes You Feel Small, Grow Large”

  1. To me it looked just the right thing and it would be effective. I will try to use the “grow larger ” technique. Wish me good luck.
    Thanks for writing the article.

  2. This was what I needed, but I need more help on not allowing people to make me feel small, gain confidence and self esteem in order to be able to achieve whatever i do.

    1. Hi Elivra,

      Yes…that can be tough. You have to learn to stand up for yourself with clarity, courage, and confidence. You might want to look into my Certified High Performance Coaching program; it will help you! And I have a group Certified High Performance Coaching starting in the new year (less expensive).

  3. Great article. I’m struggling with some old family baggage with regard to a family member trying to demean me and make me feel insignificant. This article made me go back and recount the things I did to show my worth. I actually felt myself grow bigger. It made me realize that this family member does indeed have insecurities. I must have in some way made him feel threatened hence, the foul treatment. Thank you so much for helping me not only reflect but come up with some classy ways to handle it.

  4. thank you very much for the talk, i really needed this. so many times i let myself feel so small, letting others always get what they want and that is to make me feel small. no more will it continue, its time to stand tall and be the man am suppossed to be. thank you.

  5. Thank you for writing this article. Your words was just what I needed to hear to feel better and more confident about myself. I shall take your words in my journey of self help. Again, thank you very much.

  6. Since Christmas, I met a man and a woman in my neighborhood…… while it was snowing and icy. He had said he was a Mr. Fixit. I just bought my house, and it needed some work done. So I had him do work for me. Then he kind of hooked up with the woman across the street from him who he said needed him because she could not do anything well. So we went to single club dances, then had dinners together, and watched movies. He made me so angry… but I kept going over to be with them. I felt like I was under his control. Today I woke up and realized what it was. He took away my power and I went over against my will to be with them. I finally got rid of them about a month ago. This is the first time I understood what happened. (He is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. I knew it was some kind of mind control. I grew up with an Asperger’s father and brother. ) I am so happy to finally understand what happened. About a week ago, I got my happiness back inside of myself. What a horrendous thing to go through!!!!

  7. I read this in a time of need, and it helped me. I had never thought of “choosing” to feel any certain way, and it showed me how squash those feelings immediately. Thank you for writing this, I know I will need to use these tools in dealing with someone very close to me.

  8. I’ve got a friend who I enjoy helping out with small jobs. Tbey lately make me feel unimportant and little. Today I plan to speak to them about this in a civil manner. Thank you for the article and especially for the up lift.

  9. Yes, i have experienced this all my life. Thankyou for this article. It helps me on my journey.
    I dont allow anyone to do this anymore. We all have the same rights.

  10. My family moved in Canada 20 years ago. I had university degree back home yet because children of close to be teens I was not able to achieve my academic goal. I put myself /intentionally / to be small so my children could feel big /so people around me/. My children have finished university degrees…I do not want to feel small any more. I know what I am made of. I regain my powe again and I have wrote a book/memoir/ and I publish it. All other people that felt me small for years have simply disappears./ of cours except my children- I feel big accomplishment and feel TALL again.

  11. This seems to be a recurring theme in my life across spheres (work, personal life). The endless feedback loop is what reinforces the self doubt. Is it ‘really’ me? Maybe I can’t do anything right, after all. Each time i try to stand up and get past an experience of being reduced to nothing, something else comes along and reinforces it. I do believe that I am pretty good at all that I do. Just that my contributions are used but I’m never acknowledged for them. I could make my peace with that but invariably i am made to feel superfluous or non existent after my work has been used and benefited from. I’m getting weary from having to constantly prop myself without a positive feedback from my environment.

    1. I know other people who also seek outside approval. The best advice I can give is to continue to serve, contribute, and remind yourself that what you do matters. Look for intrinsic reward, DB, rather than extrinsic reward. I know we all want the extrinsic reward–approval and positive feedback–but we will benefit more when we have extrinsic reward.

      1. Thanks Nina, not that I look for a reward. It’s more like my very existence is no longer acknowledged and it’s that part that hurts. Let me give you an example. I’m a Business Analyst in an IT firm. I was the co-analyst on a project where we had to navigate some really challenging conversations to ensure that a 3 million project took the right approach and was not jeopardised. I played a big role negotiating, thrashing out technical details, drafting communications, the list is endless. Finally the team managed to steer the project in the right direction and I and my team mates know my contributions were significant. But in the final culminating communications going out to seniors somehow my name was completely dropped as a Business Analyst on the project. Make no mistake I’m still on the project and will be working on it. But an impression was somehow created that I didnt even exist in the 4 month long negotiation and solutioning. I’m not looking for a reward. But at least acknowledge me as a player because I am a player on the team who worked with others to deliver a solution.

  12. Thank you for this. I recently had someone I considered a good friend cut me off very abruptly. It was over a small thing but I asked her to forgive me and she refused. She said some very cruel things that made me feel very small and less than. I have fought against feelings of self doubt so this just brought all those awful feelings back. Not feeling good enough. But in my heart I know I was a good friend. And she said she could act bipolar with her changing mood. The friendship was complicated by the fact that she has chronic pain. So I was trying to be careful but it sometimes felt like I was walking on egg shells. It’s hard to be in this situation. I still love and miss her though.

  13. Thank you, for writing this. I always felt bad about myself after talking to this other person, but always thought it was me. It dawned on me only yesterday that they made me feel less than them. They are the one who knows better. They are the one who is more experienced. They are the one… etc. etc. I end up being the little sister/child/student who gets a pat on the head or a cruel put-down for being so silly. I don’t need that in my life. I can own my power and stop giving it away. I read your article today and I knew I was doing the right thing. I had read the situation correctly. Thank you! Now, I need to learn to avoid these types of people. Is it possible?

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