Are you feeling invisible now that 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 or Brownie leader to name a few. Ring a bell? Although we never stop being a mom, we do stop being full time moms and lose the identity of being needed 24/7 .
You may be caregiver to grown children or loved ones, but that’s not quite the same thing as choosing your role is it? The care giving role is often thrust on women and isn’t always chosen.
If you’re still working, your job may stay the same but your professional visibility may have changed. In a culture that obsesses over youth, age doesn’t always command the respect and attention it could.
Retirement brings another set of visibility challenges. Without a set routine or an established daily presence, what happens to your influence or voice?
Think about the situations where you’re feeling invisible. Are you feeling not being “seen” at work, with friends, family or in general?
How to Stop Feeling Invisible
Work invisibility is tied to your voice. If you’re not vocal about speaking up in meetings or when your authority is questioned you’ll need to change. 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 you’ve likely chosen your 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 gradually work your way up to being heard when it counts.
Friends ignoring 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, we’ve contributed in some way.
Have you been responsive to your friends needs or in the 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.
Grown up kids often make 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 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.
Out in public, do you sometimes feel you’re invisible to sales people? We know service isn’t what it used to be and often the salesperson hasn’t been trained to be welcoming or helpful. Recognizing that, how can you still get the service you need and deserve? First keep in mind, not everyone who walks through the door is a happy camper and salespeople can get burned out trying to be friendly.
Be the one who flips that 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 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 another to help you.
Public functions or parties can be a minefield if you don’t know anyone or feel uncomfortable about being on your own. First thing to remember is; 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 who may be 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.
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.
Unfortunately that never works. We attract who we are, not what we want. The best way to stop feeling invisible to others is to be visible to ourselves. It takes being aware of our feelings and taking charge of meeting our own needs. The funny thing is once you own your part, you’ll be a magnet for getting what you need!
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.