Insignificance

Insignificant (adj.)– unimportant; lacking meaning; small

Looking at the night sky lit up with billions of stars. Seeing them shine, form shapes, and maybe with some luck see one shoot across the sky.

Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking in all directions, no view the same. Staring in wonder and amazement.

Stepping inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, eyes taking in the stain glass, high ceilings, and incredible ornate detail.

Walking along the Roman Forum, overlooking the ruins of a city, imagining what it once looked like; imagining how life was like back then.

Reading and learning World History.

Walking alone in a crowded city.

Insignificant is not a bad way to feel. The word is not pretty. The thought of being or feeling insignificant is not a happy one. And yet I find myself feeling this way often. It is not common to enjoy feeling insignificant. The word brings a negative connotation. It’s as if you feel unimportant; not needed; without meaning. But if you think back on moments in your life, insignificance is there.

Not all moments of insignificance are a nice memory or feeling. Getting overlooked for something or feeling like you are meaningless is not a nice way to feel. But more often, the moments that insignificance shine through, are moments of clarity. Moments that remind us of the magic around us. These moments ground us; they humble us; they bring out the human in us.

Life is so much bigger than us, and in today’s society it is hard to see and accept this. We live through our phones, our social media networks, material things. We focus on how to make our lives look fun and interesting on Facebook and Snapchat, we waste our money on crap we don’t need, and we get so used to bettering only our selves. Forgotten, is the fact that we only have one life, and that life is much bigger than how many likes we have on a picture.

Life is about learning and making mistakes and exploring and spreading love and getting hurt and crying and laughing and making friends and growing. Life is getting to hold your newborn niece or nephew. It is getting rejected from the job you wanted. It is going on late night drives. It is spending time with your family. It is saying goodbye to loved ones. It is failing over and over again. It is travelling to far off places. It is experiencing new cultures. It is trying something new. Life, in itself, is just another reminder, that it’s normal to feel insignificant.

Because when you are truly living, you will feel unimportant. You will feel small. You will feel meaningless. And that is okay. These moments, although leading to the feeling of insignificance, are significant.

The first time you learn about Slavery or the Holocaust. Finding out a loved one is sick. Turning on the news and seeing refugees fleeing from their home. Having a discussion with someone exceptionally intelligent. Seeing someone pursuing one of your dreams. Trying to understand climate change. Learning of someone’s struggles. Seeing the Eiffel Tower. Meeting Mickey Mouse. Seeing your best friend get married. Being alone in a crowded room. Watching the sunrise.

Insignificance feels differently for everyone. The moments are different for everyone. But, I believe, it is one of the most human feelings. It is what connects all of us in some sort of way. It allows us to feel something bigger than ourselves and appreciate what is around us. Too many times we strive to feel significant and important. We want the recognition; we want to feel like we are worthy of something.

But feeling insignificant is important too.

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