WASHINGTON, January 23, 2015 – Nationwide Insurance has shared its upcoming Super Bowl ad starring actress Mindy Kaling, a member of both the invisible woman and invisible actor subsets, which the company has tagged:
After years of being treated like she was invisible it occurred to Mindy Kaling she might actually BE invisible. #InvisibleMindy
It may have hit a nationwide nerve that is none too funny as too many people feel they are just not being seen, or heard.
Women, working from home, raising families, invisible. Support staff in millions of offices around the world, invisible. Americans, in general, who are not being seen by their government, invisible. Children, shuttered aside by working parents and an uncaring educational system, invisible.
Why do so many people feel that they are invisible? It isn’t that they are physically unseen, it’s that they are ignored. Or feel ignored. What we care about is just not important to anyone else. Our ego has been wounded, our self-esteem in the proverbial toilet.
The ability to say, and be heard saying, “What I feel, say, think is valid because I am valid” has escaped us.
Advice to fix these feelings abounds online including a favorite: “Address the issue. What is wrong with you that is allowing people to ignore you?”
First, nothing is wrong with you, but there might be something wrong in your approach.
In his book “Three Signs of a Miserable Job,” author Patrick Lencioni says people struggle when they think their work has no value. If they believe no one really knows them, they end up just going through motions.
Look at yourself – see yourself and what you are passionate about. Do those things: Go to movies by yourself, cook fabulous meals and open a bottle of wine for you. Get out the good china or that item of clothing – whether fancy underwear or a special tie – that you are saving for a special occasion. You are that special occasion.
Stand taller. Throw your shoulders back, straighten your spine, lift up your eyes, and adopt a bit of Ms. Kaling’s talent – pretend that you are visible and that the ‘character of you’ has some lines to deliver!
You can change your invisibility status by simply boosting your self esteem. Easier said than done, you might say. But it can be something as simple as wearing a brighter color than the black you normally hide in or wearing a colored shirt when you normally only wear white.
Make yourself visible to others. Sitting down in a cafe, ask a stranger “Can I share this table?” They might not want to talk, but give them a chance and they might start a conversation with you – if you smile nicely.
Better your odds by choosing someone else that just might be “invisible”: an elderly person dining alone, or a young mom that could use someone to talk to while they wrangle their little ones, or a person that seems to just always eat lunch alone at a favorite cafe or park.
Help someone. Carry a bag, open a door, share a cab, shovel a walk. Random acts of kindness, accompanied with a smile, an outstretched hand, and eye contact, can raise your sense of self worth, your esteem and make you feel more visible.
Then take that feeling and protect it, nurture it, remember how good that shared smile with a total stranger make you feel when you begin to fade.
Starting to feel better? Organize something. A book club, an online discussion or skill sharing group.
Ask yourself where you would find people that you would find interesting, and go there. Join the local community organization, or start one. Volunteer through the local Boys and Girls Club, or church.
Really stretch your comfort zone. Join a Toastmasters club and learn how to offer a proper toast. Try out for a local play or production. Join a cooking class and learn some new skills, and meet new people who are there to commune over food.
And remember, you are not invisible. You just have to see yourself first.