During one of my classes last week a lady in the group opened up and said that as she got older she felt invisible. She said that it was like she had no purpose anymore and that her very existence was insignificant. If she died tomorrow it would mean nothing.
She did not say it with anger or even particular sadness, just as a matter of fact. That got us all thinking about that feeling of being invisible. Personally I thought it was more to do with age, especially when you are living alone and suddenly without a partner.
Then another younger lady said she felt the same, her reasons were that she had suffered great loss in her life. Things had not turned out the way she had dreamed as a young girl. She never had her own children and somehow that made her feel less of a woman, at least she felt judged by others because of that.
Why Do We Feel “Invisible”?
I understand how you can start to feel invisible, I’ve felt that myself in the last couple of years. I was a mother and wife for so many years that when my main role changed I felt I had to recreate a whole new identity. This time based only on me, hard to do after so many years but absolutely necessary for my survival.
And I guess that’s what it is. We identify ourselves with a role and usually that role has something to do with others. Perhaps it’s our role in our family, relationship, society or work. It’s how you perceive yourself and how others see you. It’s your purpose in life and when you lose sight of that, suddenly you start to lose sight of who you are.
It’s like you don’t matter to anyone anymore and that can make you feel very insecure. As a mature woman I find it can also be about how others see you and your role in society. Dare I say it but in many people’s eyes you are passed it, a has-been as they say.
How to Start Feeling “Visible” Again.
The interesting point about feeling invisible is that most of us feel that way, at some point in our life. The first thing we can do is to accept that this feeling of insignificance and invisibility is just in our heads, it’s not real and so perhaps we can just let it be. We are all equal, status, appearance and whatever we measure ourselves against is all just man made.
Becoming aware of where this feeling stems from can help us to put it into context. To me it seems to come from the need to be validated by others. We want others to see us, approve of us so that we can make sure we don’t just disappear. But what if we just removed that need?
What would happen if we just let go of having to live through the eyes of others? That’s not to say we should live in isolation, without friends and family. But our relationship with others should not have to make us feel more than we are, we should feel whole, significant and beautiful without anyone else having to tell us that or make us feel it.
Easy to say I know. But if we can practice this everyday then we will feel whole and perhaps our relationship with ourselves and with others will be much healthier.