When you have low self-esteem it’s very tempting to try to be invisible. You don’t feel as good as other people, or as worthy of attention, so you shrink back and try to hide. You make yourself seem small and hope that people won’t notice you.
And, generally speaking, it works. You’re waiting at a busy bar, shop or fast-food outlet. There are lots of other people there, all of them more important than you. So you shrink back, don’t make eye contact, smile patiently at the floor or pretend you haven’t decided what you want yet. Nobody notices you until eventually it quietens down and you get served.
Does that sound familiar?
Does it feel good?
I’ve done it myself and it didn’t feel good. It just made my already low self-esteem feel worse.
So one day I tried a different approach. It was New Year’s Eve, I was out for a meal with a group of friends, and I went to get drinks from the restaurant bar. There were several people clustered around waiting to order from the two harrassed-looking staff. I felt myself starting to shrink, trying to be invisible, falling into the old familiar pattern of behaviour.
Then I stopped myself. I wasn’t going to do this anymore. I moved my feet a little bit apart to give myself a firmer grounding. Stood up straight and tall. Imagined my whole frame broadening and taking up more space. And smiled at the busy bar staff as they flew backwards and forwards with drinks. I was visible. People could see me.
And sure enough, I got to place my order when it was my turn. And I did a little happy dance inside.
Sometimes it feels hard to push yourself forward a little bit, to just make people notice you. But you deserve to be seen. You’re as important as anyone else and if you act is if that’s true you’ll start to believe it.
So stop being invisible. Make people see you.