How to feel part of something bigger than you

If you’re ever asked to dress as a pantomime horse (a pretty British thing, I think), I suggest that it’s always preferable to do this as part of something bigger.

At the micro level it’s better of course to have another half. If you’re to be at the front you’ll need a back end, and if you’ve drawn the short straw and are facing the prospect of sporting the swishy tail, it’s crucial to hook up with someone who’s going to wear the head and do the whinnying.

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At the more macro level you’re likely to feel distinctly less uncomfortable if you and your fellow thespian appear in some sort of relevant context. I’m thinking you’ll attract less astonished looks if you’re on stage in an actual pantomime (or even participating in a marathon) than you will if you go to your bank similarly attired.

(I suppose in the latter case you could always proffer the excuse that you were just there to see the loan arranger.)

Although I can’t imagine you’ll be faced with exactly such a prospect today, there’s much to be said for remembering that humans in general thrive by being part of something bigger, and it’s surprising how often the opportunity to do so can present itself.

You can achieve it in a formal way by being a member of some sort of community organisation, or a team member at a place of work or study, for instance.

May I suggest, however, that there may also be smaller chances to feel part of something bigger all through your day? Even something as ostensibly lonely as waiting in line in a shop can turn into something else altogether when people start talking to each other. A simple smile exchanged with a stranger can make you feel that you’re a member of a community rather than a solo traveller.

So whenever there’s a chance today, see if you can join in.

Oh yes, and on matter of pantomime horses, if you’re given the choice I’d sign up for the front end if I were you. The view’s generally better.

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