“They know I exist, I am right there in the room, but no one really acknowledges me. I am completely overlooked. If I try to talk, I am interrupted. My opinions or my contributions are brushed aside.”
This was the initial conversation with Sushma, who reached out to me to find her voice.
When people in your life fail to accept your presence and treat you as if you are invisible, you feel rejected and insignificant, as if you don’t matter at all. This can erode self-esteem and self-confidence. With passing of time, this chronic failure to acknowledge your presence and accept and treat you with a sense of belonging can leave you feeling unseen, unappreciated and unwanted. You feel abandoned, rejected and insignificant, like your presence in the world does not matter at all.
I am sure many of us have experienced this in different forms:
- Being discounted because of age
- Parents ignoring your opinions or emotions
- Gender or racial bias at workplace leading to fewer opportunities or lesser pay
- Pre-set expectations based on cultural background
Sushma did not realise, but this feeling of being invisible had affected all areas of her life. She never spoke up for herself, didn’t express her feelings even with friends, harbored a lot of unacknowledged anger and resentment. This began to affect her health.
As we slowly unraveled her deep-set fears and insecurities, she learnt to see that she sub-consciously accepted being invisible and applied that to all other relationships and situations. As she withdrew more and more, people assumed she did not WANT to participate and let her be. She slowly started working on her communication skills, both verbal and body language, which made others pause and listen to her. She learnt to be assertive and approachable. Most importantly, she gathered the courage to walk up to the people who ignored her – to tell them how it made her feel. This had a profound effect, as those who did it unintentionally were now more careful, and those who ignored her purposely, knew she will not take such treatment going forward.
This made her feel empowered and she transitioned from feeling ‘invisible’ to ‘visible’.
If you are dealing with a similar challenge, reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org and begin your self-discovery journey.