How to Stop Sweating the (Literal) Small Stuff

From having a tiny apartment to having a weeny peen, here’s how to live with all of life’s little shortcomings.

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As humans, we spend an inordinate amount of time sweating the small stuff. And I don’t mean that metaphorically: We literally worry that our car is too cramped, that our personages are too petite, that our todgers are too titchy. So how to stop this needless fretting? Read on…

You’re Too Short
“In our culture, men often associate size with masculinity or with the amount of power they have,” says psychologist Roberto Olivardia, co-author of The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession. Short guys sometimes get so fixated on how they don’t measure up that it can seriously affect their self-esteem. Olivardia explains, “Part of how we break through that is by realizing that there’s nothing inherent about your height that makes you seem less powerful or that has you taken less seriously.”

While he does admit that people generally do notice someone’s height, they probably don’t care at all about it — they’ll likely view height in the same way they view eye color, i.e., they’ll notice, then care less about it.

Olivardia adds, “If you’re insecure about something like height, and that insecurity causes you to be anxious or to avoid situations or leadership positions, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.” To combat those insecurities, Olivardia suggests that it may help to work on your assertiveness skills or your public-speaking ability. Also, your body language matters, so if you look insecure because you’re looking down, your voice is low and you’re not making eye contact, then you may attribute your lack of authority to your height, when in reality it’s how you’re acting.

It may also help to dress better, so that you can feel prideful about your appearance, or to work out more, which will also help you to feel better, as long as it doesn’t end up becoming obsessive (which also screams insecurity).

Most importantly, try to remember, “When you’re insecure about something, it’s always at the forefront of our minds, but that tape is only running in our own heads,” Olivardia says. Other people may not notice whatever it is we’re worried about, and we’re really only sabotaging ourselves by assuming they will.

You’ve Got Very Little in the Way of Savings (If Any)
“If you don’t have a family, who gives a sh*t if you don’t have savings?” asks financial advisor Adam Ditsky. “You can do whatever you want. You can pick up and move to a cheap state to live in like Montana, and as long as you’re paying the rent and feeding yourself, you’re good.”

Now, with a family, it’s a different story, and you probably want to have a little something in the bank, just to be sure everyone’s fed in the event of an emergency. The good thing is, “It’s never too late to start saving, because something is always better than nothing,” Ditsky says. This also applies to those nearing retirement age without a dime in the bank, so start now if you can.

To find a way to save, Ditsky recommends that you consider “the cumulative effect of small expenses.” An unpopular example (and deservedly so), is that if you’re spending five bucks a day on coffee, you can put away $1,000 a year by eliminating that. There’s also eating out: If you spend on average $50 a week on eating out, you can put away $2,500 or even just $2,000 each year and still indulge on occasion.

The trick is to recognize your habits, so Ditsky recommends that you track yourself, much like you would for a food journal. A month may fluctuate too much, so he says to try and track an entire quarter and see where all your money is going. Or if you’ve got a few hours to spend one day and you want a real wake up call, review all of your bank statements from last year. That’ll give you a good idea of what kind of money you’re wasting on stuff you don’t need.

Your Apartment Is Basically a Shoebox
“Recognizing how you move and live within a space is important, especially in a small apartment,” says Alexis Lucente, a realtor with Sotheby’s. “You need to recognize where you spend most of your time and where you need to relax. So if plopping down on the couch and watching Netflix is the most important part of your routine, then the living room needs to be the part of the house you focus the most on.” In that case, you may have a tight, compact bedroom, but you have less stuff in your living room so that you can chill out there. “Try to design your space more around how you live instead of how you want it to look,” Lucente says.

It’s also a good idea to maximize your storage space, so store stuff you don’t need in your parents’ basement, make the most of your closets, and if you have kitchen cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling, rip them out and replace them with ones that do (as long as that doesn’t void your security deposit).

What kind of furniture you buy is also an important consideration. Lucente says, “If it’s a home for two people, you want to buy couches that accommodate just those two people and not everyone who’s ever going to come over to visit. For guests, you can have mobile seating, like bean bag chairs, for example.” She also says that you can find products that cater to small spaces, like dining tables that become consoles, or a trundle bed couch. Also, installing a Murphy bed is a great way to save space — Murphy beds are the bomb anyway, so you should definitely get one no matter how big your space is.

Now, if you want to fit something big in your tiny apartment — like a giant aquarium or an arcade game — that’s going to be a bit more of a challenge, but even that’s doable if you can rethink the notion of what a traditional home consists of. If, say, you want a pool table in your studio apartment, you may forego having a living room entirely for just a game room with a pull-out couch in it.

The Meal You Just Ordered Looks Child-Size
Julia Skinner, a food historian and author of Afternoon Tea: A History, says that if you order food at a restaurant and are underwhelmed by the tiny portions you were given, don’t yell at your waiter or worry that you’ll be starving after you’ve finished it. Instead, she says, “Every time I eat out somewhere, my biggest dictate is to trust the people who are serving me. By showing up and being there, I’m showing a level of trust, and 99 percent of the time that trust is reciprocated more than I expected with great food and great service. If I’m given raw chicken or something I’ll bring it up (nicely), but by trying to understand the place I’m at and the food I’m eating, and trusting the people there to do what they do, I have a way better experience. Plus, if I’m still hungry I can always get another side or something if I want to.”

Your Buddies Invited You out for a Drink, but You Only Have a Small Amount of Cash Left Before Payday
If you’re looking to go out to a bar when you’re light on cash, not only do you want to be on the lookout for the best happy hour deals, but Manhattan bartender Shuba Fikru says that you probably want to forego beer entirely and go straight for the shots if you want to get a buzz going. “Look for an Irish pub,” Fikru says, as they’ll be the cheapest places to go to. Also, get a shot or a straight drink from the well (i.e., the cheap liquors they keep under the bar). He says that you might find a shot of bourbon for about eight bucks, or sometimes even all-right whiskey shots for $6 (believe it or not, that’s crazy cheap for Manhattan).

Your Car Is Way Small
Perhaps you’re not sure about that tiny car of yours, but Maggie, who works at a Fiat dealership and owns a Fiat 500 herself, says that a tiny car is definitely the way to go. “I went from a Jeep Grand Cherokee to a two-door Fiat 500 five years ago, and I absolutely love it. I save a ton of money on gas and I can park basically anywhere. If you’re driving around with more than one or two other people it can get a little cramped, but for the driver themselves, it’s actually surprisingly roomy inside. You have to keep it clean, of course, as a little mess will seem all that much bigger in a small car, but I’ve always kept my vehicles clean. Honestly, I wouldn’t say there’s any adjustment at all with having a tiny car.”

Your Flight Is on One of Those Scary Small Planes
So you failed to read your itinerary closely enough and when you arrive at the airport, you realize that your flight is on one of those terrifyingly tiny planes, perhaps even with a freaking propeller on the front. Instead of having a panic attack or cancelling the flight in favor of a three-day bus ride, former flight attendant Abbie Unger says that the best way not to stress about that flying tin can is to be informed about it.

“Whenever I had a passenger who told me that they were nervous, I’d also let them know about the extra sounds they may hear on a smaller plane. For example, with a small airplane you can usually hear the landing gear deploy and retract, as well as hear the flaps move up and down on the wings sometimes. All of these sounds are normal on a smaller plane — I found that letting my passengers know things like, when to expect the huge clunk of the landing gear being deployed, helped them feel better,” Unger says.

You might think that the best possible way to get through a small-plane flight is to drink more heavily, but Unger says that this isn’t a wise idea, as the “smaller planes usually operate shorter flights, so less drinking is probably a better idea than more drinking.” Dang.

You Live in Rhode Island (The Smallest State)
“We may be the smallest state but there’s quite a lot to do here,” says Gabby, of the Rhode Island tourism office. She goes on to promote the state’s “Fun-Sized” campaign, which embraces the state’s small size and all of the fun things that fit within its borders. “We have biking tours, hiking trails and a brewery tour. You can also check out our historic lighthouses, and we have lots of outdoor festivals. There’s so much you can do!” enthuses Gabby. Okay then!

Your IQ Is on the Small Side
You might find solace in the fact that IQ tests are largely BS. A landmark study in 2010 found that IQ tests are wholly inadequate in measuring the full capacity of one’s intelligence. Not only that, but IQ tests have a long, disgraceful history of being racist, and of being utilized as fuel for racism. So instead of getting yourself all worked up about the largely irrelevant numbers that are spat out of an IQ test, just remember that we all have our own unique gifts.

You Have Tiny Hands
Much like height, guys often associate hand-size with masculinity. However, while other people might actually notice height, they’ll probably never even realize if your hands are smaller than normal. Olivardia shares, “I had one patient with this problem and oftentimes he’d decline to shake hands due to his insecurity — that didn’t make him come off well. Or he’d get so nervous about shaking hands that his hands would get sweaty, which is certainly not going to help in making a first impression.”

“To hear men talk about it, it’s almost as if they’re talking about their penis size, but it’s not like with deer where the one with the biggest antlers is the dominant male. It just doesn’t work that way with us,” Olivardia offers. It also helps to know that while there may be a level of correlation between hand size and wang size, it’s far from definitive.

Honestly, with this one, just try to remember that no one else is going to notice it.

And, of Course, You’ve Got a Small Peen
You knew it was all leading up to this. Seriously, while we know that you’re unlikely to stop thinking about your wiener size, experts say it truly isn’t everything, and certainly isn’t the main thing when it comes to picking a mate or even having good sex. Certified sex therapist Jodi Erin Rabinowitz says, “The size of your penis doesn’t determine how pleasurable sex will be. In fact, both the g-spot and the prostate can be easily accessed by a small penis. Moreover, most people with a vagina experience orgasm from external stimulation of the clitoris and not from internal stimulation at all!”

Remember, the only person who’s really worrying about it is you.