I feel like a diminished version of myself is living here on this earth. Are these feelings justified?
Indeed, the physical stature that you know of yourself only reflects a small part of the great soul that you possess. Nefesh Hachayim explains that the body is like a shoe, and only the final part of the soul, the lowest and most coarse part, enters the body. You are, therefore, a “diminished version” of yourself. However, as Nefesh Hachaim also writes, we cannot overestimate the effect and the power of our deeds — the deeds of this diminished creature — in this world. Every deed, even every word and thought, has significance, and we must employ the talents and potential that we are given with wisdom and discretion.