Lilliputian as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary means, ‘small’, ‘miniature’, ‘petty’. Put together, Lilliputian hallucination refers to abnormal visual perception. Things, people or animals seem smaller than they would be in real life. Quick scenarios where this came up would be the “little people” who lived on the island of Lilliput in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver Travels, 1726. Also, Alice in Wonderland and the Israelite description of their grasshopper like look beside the giants living in Jericho.
It is okay to use the word Lilliputian when something is actually small or tiny or little. You may only come off as a possible custodian of great grammar and a challenge to others to devour their dictionaries more often. The problem comes in when one starts hallucinating or has delusions in that regard. Delusions are strong beliefs that are not in keeping with the individual’s sociocultural state.
The actual medical conditions of hallucinations and delusions are quite serious disorders. For the purpose of this write up though, I would like us to examine pride and low self esteem. So, if you start seeing others as little and believe strongly that they are little, relative to yourself, it sounds like pride, right? And the reverse is what sounds life low self esteem, when you see and believes others are bigger than yourself.
These two, pride and low self esteem, are two extremes of a spectrum and are often confused with confidence and humility respectively. There is no thin line between confidence and pride, neither is humility a close sister to low self esteem.
Pride or Confidence?
Pride comes with constant achievements, it is what makes people go into things thinking they would always win or get it right, seeing no limits for themselves and while they are it, they see limits in others. A confident person factors in mistakes and the lessons they learned from them, they are not obsessed with winning. When you find your confidence you know your limits but you are not tied down to them.
Low self esteem makes a person think he/she has nothing to offer and also has no right to receive anything. It is what makes people see nothing as their achievement and everything as their mistake. This makes them think they deserve any attitude thrown at them or even worse. Humility is knowing your value but knowing when people need you and being willing to help. It is being willing to set aside personal convenience for the good of others. Not self loathing or debasement.
It is pertinent that these differences are clear to people. That is the only way lilliputian can be used appropriately.