It’s a common complaint among older women: People don’t look AT me anymore; they look THROUGH me.
When an older friend recently revealed that she struggled with feeling invisible, I knew she wasn’t alone. But feeling invisible isn’t always just caused by other people’s perceptions of us. It can also be impacted by our own self-awareness, self-esteem, and body image issues. If you struggle with feeling invisible, try these ten steps to increase your visibility and your engagement with the world around you.
1. Ask yourself the tough questions.
Why and where do you want to feel more visible? To whom are you invisible? By really discerning why and where you feel that way, you will be more prepared to come up with a solution. And don’t be surprised if you are the worst offender.
2. Get to know your current self.
When we are younger, so much of our identity is rooted in whom we take care of and what we do. As we age, our life shifts, but our understanding of ourselves does not always shift with us. Get a journal. Use books like The Artist’s Way and Beautiful You to really re-engage with your core values. Take personal development workshops. A lack of confidence is usually at the root of feeling invisible, and finding out who you are right now—and why—can dramatically change things.
Read Related: Learn Self-Acceptance by Asking Yourself 3 Questions
3. Do something you love.
Boost your confidence by doing something you love and that makes you feel proficient or confident. Schedule time for your passions.
4. Check your body language.
How have you been carrying yourself lately? Do a personal body language inventory and review your posture, eye contact, handshake, and general presence. Can you project yourself more confidently? People believe in those who believe in themselves.
5. Don’t hide.
At different periods of our lives—new motherhood, retirement, etc., we might adjust our clothes to what we think is more practical but we might actually be making ourselves less visible because we aren’t certain of who we are in this new role. Consider whether or not you are dressing to hide yourself and make adjustments.
6. Organize something.
Wish you were part of a book club or dinner group? Don’t wait for an invitation. Create the experience yourself.
You might find you are craving new connections. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to reach out to you. Take charge of making new friends. I once overheard a woman in spin class saying she wanted to start running but didn’t think she could do it. I introduced myself after class and offered to get her started. Soon, she was a much better runner than me. We no longer run together, but we became close friends.
8. Try something new.
My friend from spin class never thought she could be a runner. Yet, she could. By trying something new, she exploded with confidence and was soon not only doing triathlons, but coaching them.
Just because your life has changed some doesn’t mean you have less to offer. Increase your sense of purpose and confidence by volunteering with a cause that is important to you.
10. Speak up.
Have you accidentally contributed to your invisibility by playing the part of a shrinking violet? Give it up. Share what you think and why. Offer help. Engage. People are magnetically attracted to those who share of themselves. That is charisma. Own it.