Do Small Things Teach About the Self?

Sometimes very small things do reveal one’s true self.

A lot of times this isn’t the case; truth is, we’re imperfect, and we are not our mistakes necessarily.

But today a really small thing made me realize that I’m all talk in some ways, and that weakness has to be confronted on my part more, not shoved aside into the realm of the “I hope others put up with it.”

And I guess that observation reveals the criterion for when small things matter. A lot of people hang their opinions of others on very small things, and stay ignorant of the much larger issues.

The question of small things matters not merely when we’re looking to simplify all the larger issues – that’s a trivial want, really, and a looking to judge before knowing.

It matters when we want moral insight into another for the sake of our own and their own betterment.

Things matter generally because of some connection to morality. Morality itself is a concession to reality – since we cannot shape how circumstances will go in many ways, we want to at least shape how we may react to them.

Recently I was accused of being rude by someone willing to throw their life away for the first thing that seemed pleasurable. And I was rude, and I feel guilty. But the “small things” that triggered my anger were manifestations of the inability, on their part, to answer a much larger question about what was truly good.

The “small things” that irk me now have to do with my own studiousness and seriousness. It was comical today, but it might not be comical later when more is on the line and I’ve been talking big and stupidly. Trivial issues like today could be a manifestation of something larger.

So I’d better get to work and be the person I want to be. Small things do teach about the self, when we’re looking for the right lessons.

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