Do any of these things sound familiar?
- You feel sort of “wrong” a lot of the time.
- From the outside, it probably looks to others like your relationship with your partner or spouse is more okay than it actually feels.
- You feel taken-for-granted at work and/or home quite frequently.
- You yearn for more compassion or acknowledgment from your partner or maybe boss.
- When you think about making more time for self-care in your life, deep down that seems indulgent and unrealistic for the realities of your life.
- When you finally do get to slow down, sometimes your purpose seems unclear.
- You sometimes doubt the authenticity of people who seem happy or fulfilled.
- If you look back on your relationships, it seems they often start well, but often they don’t go the distance.
- You feel frustration about other people in your life.
- You are more motivated to reach a goal when direct competition is involved, or you see that someone else has something that you’d like to have or achieve.
- At times you’d just like to take over the controls for someone in your life and finally fix the issues that so obviously need fixing.
- The old adages about “loving yourself” never really made much sense to you.
- It feels irresponsible and even unsafe to imagine stepping back from caring for other people or work projects.
- You used to love your work and felt a natural pull toward professional contribution, but it may be fading now.
- You think, “It must be nice that…” e.g. “some people get to treat themselves.”
- You find yourself fixating on things that aren’t satisfying and cost you money, health or peace like eating too much, obsessing about diet, organizing, redecorating, cleaning, work-a-holism, finding “the perfect”… etc.
- You remember feeling more optimistic when you were younger and miss that now.
- You seem to unintentionally interrupt others in conversations, especially when it’s with someone you don’t know that well yet.
- When stressed you have a strong preference to either never be alone, or mostly be alone.
- Worry, exhaustion and exasperation can be regular parts of your day.
If several of these sound familiar, I’m willing to bet you’ve developed a habit of attention that is a little too external. The most important thing about feeling invisible is that you must remember yourself first. If you feel invisible to others, you aren’t containing your own need for love and connection to yourself. You’ve forgotten allegiance to yourself.
It sounds so simple, but over time, if you don’t bring loving attention back to yourself and your inner experience, every once in a while, many of these stress-fueled circumstances can develop. But thankfully, many of these effects fall away when you love and care for yourself and your stress more consistently. And micro-mindfulness practices are a great way to begin.
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Jessica is a psychotherapist, relationship and addiction expert, and creator of The Visible Self ® and VisibleU™ system. Over the last 17 years she has helped hundreds of busy adults create healthier habits and more satisfying relationships.
Jessica received her Master’s in Applied Psychology from New York University, and completed mediation training at the Columbia University School of Law. She has held numerous clinical roles, managed clinical operations for a national EAP, and advised executives on employee-relations concerns at Fortune 1000 companies. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and a master instructor of mindful living …their Border Collie/Pointer-mix “Abby”.