Are you feeling invisible now you’re in your fifties or older?
One of the tricky parts of going through midlife is losing some of those “badges” that defined us. Mom, boss, wife, head cheerleader to name a few. Ring a bell? Although we never stop being a mom, when we’re no longer full time moms we may lose feeling needed.
We may still be caregiver to grown children or loved ones, but we lose the identity of being a mom.
If you’re still working, your job may stay the same but your professional visibility may change. In a youth culture, your age doesn’t always command the respect and appreciation you’ve earned.
Retirement brings another set of visibility challenges. Without a set routine or an established daily presence, how do you define yourself? Sometimes retiring brings a welcome relief from being visible, but on the other hand if you don’t find a way to stay active and involved you may start to feel invisable.
Think about the situations where you’re feeling invisible. Are you not feeling “seen” at work, with friends, family or in general? If you’re asking yourself, how can I stop being invisible, here’s a place to start.
How to Stop Feeling Invisible
How do you deal with being overlooked at work? Feelings of invisibility may be tied to your voice. If you’re not vocal about speaking up in meetings or when your authority is questioned think about how you can change that dynamic.
We become invisible when we choose to opt out and not be visible. Makes sense right? If it’s easier for you not to make waves, then consider you’ve chosen a role and defined yourself as invisible.
This may take some time and practice, but slowly start to insert yourself and your opinion back into the workplace. Choose opportunities where you feel confident about your contribution and speak up. Gradually work your way up to being heard on important discussions. If you’re feeling invisible at work, try making a change to your attitude by expecting to be heard.
Are friends gnoring your texts and not returning your calls? If your friendship is one you value, then find a quiet time to have a conversation that breaks through the BS. Don’t confront your friend, just ask quietly if there’s something bothering them or if they’d like to talk about it.
Be prepared to listen. Sometimes when we feel we’re being ignored or have become invisible to our friends, it’s possible we’ve contributed in some way.
Have you been responsive to your friends needs or make a habit of reaching out to say hi? Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. Be genuine and honest, and reach out. If they’re a true friend, you’ll get immediate feedback and reinforcement. If they’re not making the effort to respond, then perhaps it’s time to find new friends who are worthy of your time and will respect your initiative.
3. Grown up Kids
Our kids are often the worst at making us feel totally invisible. It’s hard to remember how dependent on us they used to be! Let’s face it, they have their own lives and their parents are often a subtext to them. As it should be. We want them to be independent. However if you feel your adult kids are totally blowing you off, what can you do?
First, be someone they want to hang out with. Don’t whine or remind them you never see them -even if it’s the truth! Be interested in their lives but not to the point of helicoptering. Let them share what they want and soon they’ll feel they can trust you with real conversation. Be visible and present with your grown kids. Believe me they still need you. If they’re still blowing you off, pull back and wait for them to reach out. We’re always teaching people how to treat us and our grown kids are no exception.
4. Out in Public
Do you sometimes feel you’re invisible to sales people? We know service isn’t what it used to be! But if a salesperson hasn’t been trained to be welcoming or helpful, it’s annoying. Recognizing that, how can you still get the service you need and deserve? First keep in mind, not every customer who walks through the door is an easy read so it’s possible that your salesperson is just waiting for a sign you need help. If they’re truly not interested in helping you then it’s time to take control.
Be the one who flips it around. Walk through the door with your head up, your smile on and a “Hi, how are you?” Make eye contact. You’d be amazed at the difference this can make to the type of response you get. Say thank you and keep smiling. You get to choose how these interactions go. If you run into a rude salesperson, you don’t have to feel invisible, find someone else to help you.
5. Public Functions
Events or parties can be a social minefield when you don’t know anyone or feel uncomfortable on your own. First thing to remember is this; you’re not the only one who may be feeling invisible. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but why not make an effort to meet someone new?
Find someone else standing on their own and walk up and break the ice. It can be as simple as introducing yourself and asking what brought them to the event. Be prepared to talk a little about yourself but listen first. This is the time to get out of your own head and just take action. Walk across the room with your head up and smile.
6. Your Feelings
Are you ignoring your own needs and feelings? Does pleasing others come first? Do you often expect or wait for someone else to make you feel worthy or “visible”? Putting our own feelings aside and not taking responsibility for how we feel can lead to feeling invisible. When our own feelings are invisible to us, we attract people who don’t “see” our needs either. We expect others to take care of us because we’re not taking care of ourselves.
We attract who we think we are. The best way to stop feeling invisible to others is to be visible to ourselves. Try becoming aware of your feelings. What do you need right now? How can you go about getting those needs met. Once you have a clear idea of what you need, you’ll be a magnet for attracting people who can meet those needs. First identify, then keep your eyes and heart open.
Don’t feel invisible a day longer. You’re worthy of love and being seen. Be the source of your own self love and you’ll find the world will start to see you as the lovely woman you are.