Breaking the Cycle of Invisibility

ID-10058763In last week’s post (Are You Easy to Ignore?) I talked about how childhood experiences can make us feel invisible.

If you’re used to feeling like others aren’t interested in you, you might be frustrated. I  hope you’re also wondering what’s really going on, and how you might be able to change it.

I fear there’s something in you that suspects you know the answer, and it ain’t pretty. Could it be true that you’re just not that interesting? That you deserve to be ignored?

Without meeting you I can already assure you that is absolutely, positively not the case. Every person is unique, both genetically and through their personal story. There’s plenty about you that’s interesting.

But it can be hard to convince yourself of that, given your experience. How do all those people come to the same conclusion that “there’s nothing to see here” with you?

Invisibility as a Shield

Anything that feels like a prison can also be a refuge, and being ignored is no exception.

Be honest with yourself: Are you more comfortable not being noticed? What would it be like to really be SEEN by others? For them to know the real you that’s normally hidden?

The opposite of invisible is exposed. Are you ready for that?

Here’s how to get noticed.  What it boils down to: You must stop hiding behind the cloak of your invisibility.

If you’re not doing the following, you’re practically begging to be ignored…

Express your feelings. Let others not only hear from you but let them see how you feel. You’re not required to keep a straight face no matter what’s going on around you. You’re a person with normal emotional responses, not a flower pot.

State your needs. Humans are communal by nature. Assert your humanity and strengthen relationships by letting others help you out. None of us is an island, and it’s perfectly normal to look for a hand instead of trying to do everything yourself.

Have an opinion. Your thoughts and feelings form a unique and interesting pattern. Give other people something to engage with. If they’re not allowed to know what you think, conversations will be short!

Refuse to put up with poor behavior. Let others (and yourself) know that it’s not okay for them to mistreat you. Putting up with inappropriate behavior doesn’t make you easy-going. It just makes you easy to ignore.

Stop ignoring yourself. When you start working on the steps above, you might find out you’re not sure what you need, feel or think. Perhaps you need to pay more attention to yourself? Your own interest in you will set an example for others to follow.

Feelings, needs and opinions are not right or wrong; they’re expressions of who we are. They make us visible to others, inviting them to know us. They provide points of connection. Of engagement. Of interest.

When you were a kid, becoming invisible was adaptive. It was a way to fit in and be a good little girl or boy. Now that you’re grown up, it might be safe to come out of hiding.

To riff on the words of  Eleanor Roosevelt, no one can ignore you without your consent.

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One comment on “Breaking the Cycle of Invisibility

  1. This is a wonderful post! It’s true, women especially are often in the habit of taking care of everyone else and never stating their own needs. Then we burn out! It’s important to love ourselves and care for ourselves.

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