How Sensitive People Can Feel Seen

As a highly sensitive person do you ever feel invisible? Or maybe you feel only seen and appreciated for what you can do for others and how you make them feel about themselves, instead of for who you truly are.

How often do you feel invisible? Maybe at your job you’re more introverted and quiet than others so your boss or coworkers rarely ask for your input, or maybe with your friends and family if you feel overlooked or dismissed by those who— in a perfect world— would not only value our thoughts and intuition but love you without question and embrace your sensitivity as something to be respected and valued? 

I know I’ve felt this way too many times throughout my life- sometimes feeling more like a prop in the movies of other people’s lives instead of a real human being with a voice that deserves to be heard. Feeling invisible to those we care about or ignored by our boss or coworkers and even people we interact with on an irregular basis can really begin to wear on us over time so much so that feeling invisible can even become part of our identity. 

When we feel overlooked or dismissed on a regular basis it can increase our emotional distress and manifest in unhealthy ways through feelings of sadness, anger, envy and shame, it can affect our sleep, eating habits, and energy levels. 

When we feel as if we don’t matter to others it hurts emotionally, spiritually and even physically. This can make it even more difficult for us to form connections and bonds with others. 

Feeling rejected and ignored can lead us down a lonely path, leaving us isolated and disconnected and this is something we must be mindful of when it comes to our mental health.

 If we weren’t respected or validated growing up or didn’t feel as if we could express our emotions freely we can carry that with us into adulthood. Withdrawing emotionally from others is a way of protecting ourselves. Maybe we feel unappreciated because we often do nice things for other people, but they never seem to return the favor or sentiment with the same level of emotion that we express? 

How can we feel seen as Highly Sensitive People? 

Before we start anywhere else or look outside of ourselves for acknowledgement or acceptance finding ways to validate our own self-worth is key.

This is the foundation of changing how others see us and respond to us. Now I’m not saying that just because we improve our self-esteem that others will suddenly change how they behave, but what does change when we have a solid foundational belief about who we are? Is how WE respond to how others treat us. 

Whether we feel like we want to be more visible to 2 people, 20 or 2 thousand, the best way to feel and be accepted and understood is to first accept and understand ourselves and our journey so far.

It feels good to be praised, to be told we’ve done a good job and as HSPs it feels phenomenal to have our feelings affirmed, and to be appreciated for our compassion and sensitivity and it’s completely normal to want to be seen and validated by others. 

But we can’t rely on others to make us feel good, to validate our worth and existence. When we do this we doubt our abilities and our value as human beings. Learning to really see ourselves, to not only acknowledge but feel and embody our self worth isn’t easy. If we weren’t valued growing up, if our emotional needs weren’t met, or  breaking a pattern of feeling invisible isn’t easy. 

But as we develop an awareness of where this feeling comes from within us, where it surfaces in our lives, what situations, and with what people we can recognize the stories we’re telling ourselves when we’re feeling invisible. 

Ask yourself: 

When do I most feel invisible? 

Where am I and who am I with what am I doing? 

What thoughts run through my mind when I feel invisible? 

Do I blame myself for feeling this way?

And why?

Make sure you take some time with these questions, maybe keep a notebook with you for a few weeks so you can look back to see how you were feeling during these moments to get a clearer insight. 

Now ask yourself…

When have I felt seen in the past?

Who was I with, where was I… what was I doing?

Who in my life has made me feel seen?

Who in my life now makes me feel seen? How does that make me feel?

How can I see myself the way they see me? 

Now… How does it feel to see yourself in this way?

let’s sit with that feeling for a moment…  

What came up for you during that quiet moment… 

And remember there are no right or wrong answers just noticing… noticing what came up for us and how we feel about it… without judgement.

The judgements we pass on ourselves are usually based on someone else’s opinions of who they think we should be, their opinions about how we should think, feel look behave, and much of that judgment is not based on who we truly are. It’s based on someone else’s impressions, biases and limited life experience. And we all do it, its human nature, but this why we need a good solid foundation within ourselves, when we know who we are, when we are able to validate and see ourselves, the less we rely on others to make us feel seen. 

Try to treat yourself as you would a close friend that you care for, how would you embrace them? What would you say to them if they felt invisible and give yourself the same validation, love, and compassion. 

Sometimes we’re so sensitive to other people, our environment, and all the outside forces that we encounter everyday that we forget to be sensitive to our own needs and we don’t take the time to be still and quiet and look inward. 

Try these affirmations:

I treat myself kindly and with compassion.

I have value.

I feel safe and seen wherever I am.

I am enough.​

Changing our self-beliefs takes work. It’s not like flipping a switch. In order to see real change we have to feel it and experience it and when it’s new work for us it takes time.

Do you feel seen as a sensitive person? Do you feel invisible? Reach out in the comments.

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