Are you visible? Do you want to be seen?

Have you ever been in an embarrassing situation where you mistakenly said something inappropriate, and just as quickly wished, “Scotty, beam me up!” In that moment you wish you were invisible; and in that circumstance such a wish makes sense. But, as a normal thing, invisibility is not good. Let’s say you feel invisible in situations where you wish others would recognize you and they don’t, that type of invisibility is a cancer that eats at your self-esteem.

A source of unhappiness for many people is a sense of exclusion, or separateness, that prevents them from engaging with others. Those same others are blamed for exhibiting traits ranging from indifference to meanness, but is it really true?

Suzanne (a composite of my weight loss clients) had body image issues and was quite insecure, despite being a highly proficient professional. She was guided to understand that it was her own insecurities that led her to ascribe negative motives and behaviors to her co-workers and spouse.

Over subsequent weeks she was pleasantly surprised to hear spontaneous positive remarks and complements from those same people directed toward her. Her response? “It was so nice to be ‘seen’.” They did not change. She did.
The truth is that she was invisible only to herself. Her caring and competency at work and at home made her quite ‘visible’ to others. They valued her work and presence. But low self-worth caused her to ‘hide’, to make herself invisible so that perceived mistakes and inadequacies would pass unnoticed.

Practiced over a long enough period of time, she convinced herself that she was invisible to others as well. The unintended consequence, then, was that she felt marginalized and ignored. Bottom line, she created a condition, then blamed it on others. “The whole world is against me! Nobody likes me! I am surrounded by nasty people!”

Ask many people to describe themselves and they initially draw a blank, followed by a statement of their work title or family station. That is a caption. When pressed they describe interests and hobbies. That is a mere silhouette. None of that explains how and why you respond to particular praise or criticism, how you make choices, or contribute to humanity. You are invisible to yourself.

And yet, as in Suzanne’s example, you ARE visible to others. When you become visible to yourself, it can come as a delightful surprise that others have been treating you better than you thought. Or, in the case of actual nasty people, who truly are indifferent or mean, it is THEIR problem, not yours.

Take a look at yourself now. Not in the mirror, but by looking inside. Describe the person you see. If you feel a bit transparent, ask Dr. Kweethai to help fine tune your image.

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