As the result of growing up in an emotional desert, I learned to stay small, even invisible. I turned down countless opportunities to stand out starting in elementary school.
Despite constant comments about my beauty, I longed to be plain and blend in with everyone else. Now that I’m older, I regret not embracing the attention.
One of the lingering effects of emotional neglect is feeling invisible. If our upbringing taught us to smother our needs and emotions, we learned to shrink to win acceptance.One of the lingering effects of emotional neglect is feeling invisible. Click To Tweet
Instead of taking our rightful place in the spotlight, we retire to the background, convincing ourselves that’s where we prefer to be. Or, we crave visibility but sabotage our heart’s desire to be seen and heard.
This is not our fault as it often stems from our upbringing. But, as adults, it is up to us to reparent ourselves and create the life we want to live.
Here are 5 ways to stop feeling invisible and start taking your rightful place at the table.
1 .Start the conversation
If you’ve grown up feeling like you should be seen and not heard, initiating conversation may be difficult. You wait to be asked before offering information about yourself.
That leaves the control over your visibility in someone else’s hands. Take back control and determine that you’ll volunteer information rather than letting someone monologue at you.
If you’re at a party or in a work meeting, make your presence known. Instead of waiting to be noticed or picked, choose yourself and share your ideas and opinions. It’s the only way people will know what you have to offer.
2. Say ‘no’ to stop feeling invisible
If you struggle with people pleasing, you may have grown up with the idea that your needs are less important than others’. You had to prioritize your parents’ or caregivers’ needs to stay in their good graces.
Though it will feel selfish at first, practice saying no to things you don’t want to do. Instead of defaulting to ‘yes’ when someone asks for your time and energy, make ‘no’ your default instead.
Once you start putting your needs first, you’ll feel more confident and connected to your inner self. People who stand up for what they want and don’t want are never invisible.Once you start putting your needs first, you'll feel more confident and connected to your inner self. Click To Tweet
3. Self care
Take time for yourself to care for your needs. Rather than pushing through when you’re tired, take a rest. And let your people know you’re taking this time for yourself.
Vocalizing your needs and your intention to fulfill them will help improve your visibility. And when you take care of your needs, you lose the neediness and resentment that build when you expect others to fulfill them for you.
4. Speak up to stop feeling invisible
You may be used to people interrupting or talking over you. If you’re like me, you’ve trailed off when someone cut in while you were talking.
Refuse to defer to these rude people. Instead increase your volume slightly and continue talking as if you never heard them. Unless they’re especially boorish, they’ll stop and let you continue.
This lets yourself and everyone know that you intend to be heard. You are a person who takes her place at the table and will not let anyone shove her away from it.
5. Connect with your emotions.
We’ve established that emotional neglect is a common reason for feeling invisible. The answer lies in getting in touch with the emotions we detached from in order to survive.
Acknowledge and express your emotions as they come up rather than stuffing them down or ignoring them. Suppressed emotions come out sideways in the form of rage. That’s not the kind of visibility we want.
For helpful strategies on how to reconnect with repressed emotions, click here.