How to Stop Being Invisible After 50
If you feel like you are not seen anymore because of your age, I want to share how to stop being invisible after 50.
As a woman who is now 61, I feel like I have successfully navigated this. I literally carved a new place for myself in the world with my blogs and my life and weight loss coaching practice where I help other women claim their starring role in their own lives.
Women in their 50s often complain that they feel invisible. This social phenomenon is so common that it has a name: The Invisible Woman Syndrome.
While you might not want to always be in the spotlight, you don’t have to settle for feeling invisible!
Around the time I turned 54, I decided that I would never be invisible and at age 61, I feel the most visible and relevant of my entire life.
At a time when we feel like our physical appearance and self-confidence are going down, we need some inspiration to be the kind of woman we want to be.
I’m here for you!
I also recorded a podcast about the Invisible Woman on the Midlife Spotlight. You can listen wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you haven’t discovered podcasts yet–this is a great place to get started.
How to Stop Being Invisible After 50
When I was in my mid-fifties, I decided to become visible. I didn’t want to hide anymore.
I decided as a 54-year-old woman that I would become the author of my own life. I was going to show up. And seven years later, I’m still showing up.
You can show up too!
What I discovered in the ensuing years was, that visibility is a choice. We, meaning not just me, but you as well, decide to be visible or not.
To some extent, women of our age have been conditioned to just blend in. Or perhaps we got a lot of attention when we were younger, and we assume that it is our age that is keeping us hidden.
Also, as we grow older our looks, our bodies, our values, and our beliefs change. Sometimes we reconnect with a younger version of ourselves and wonder where she went.
How Did I Become the Invisible Woman?
Here is my personal belief. I believe that women spend their entire lives trying to fit in and taking care of others.
Eventually we don’t even know who we are anymore. We become a shell of ourselves, walking around doing things but completely cut off from our true selves.
Our true self IS invisible, not just to others, but to ourselves as well.
I often hear something along the lines of “I don’t know who I am anymore.”
This often happens as our nest empties or as we approach retirement. Without our major roles, we really don’t know who we are.
The irony is that we have spent so much time trying to be perfection for others, we’ve lost sight of ourselves.
No amount of cosmetic surgery is going to fix that. It’s our own self that we need to make visible again.
Why We Really Become Invisible
I think the invisible woman is so used to hiding that she doesn’t know how to show up as anything but her shell.
We think it’s because of our gray hair, our wrinkles, and the way society views you.
Here’s the thing. We have hidden the parts of ourselves that we don’t love. We hate the parts of ourselves that we believe are lazy, awkward, sexual, mean, selfish, hurt, abandoned, angry, etc.
We banish those parts from our lives! God knows what trouble we’d get into if SHE was allowed to be out and about!
To summarize, we allow only a part of ourselves to be seen and we hide everything that we think is wrong with us. The result is that we are only partially showing up.
No wonder we feel invisible!
Why A Woman Should be Visible
Being visible is good for you and good for everyone else. Being visible, means you are putting your real self out into the world.
Being visible is more of an attitude as opposed to being what you do. I’ll explain fully throughout this post what I mean by that.
I just don’t want you to think that you have to go do wild or showy things to be visible. Though if you want to, that’s great too.
By being visible, I mean you make yourself relevant and a presence wherever you go.
It is a myth that we are less relevant after a certain age.
It blows my mind that at what could be our most vibrant and exciting time of our life, we also believe we are supposed to shut up and hide.
Women are so used to being silent and keeping what we believe are our most unflattering parts hidden that we don’t even realize what is happening.
Yet, like I said, this time of our life can truly be the most exciting. We have years of experience and wisdom to share.
The world needs you to stay visible!
We often have a wider set of choices than we believe. This time could actually be a time of celebration.
While you may think that the judgment is coming from others, it’s more often a case that we judge ourselves.
So, keep in mind that there are plenty of delights ahead in life and that you can love your everyday lives.
What Keeps a Woman Over 50 Hidden?
Women hide for many reasons. We think we are too:
- Less than in some way
These are the top reasons I hear all the time and I have compassion for all of us. And media and our culture have not seemed to value women of our age group.
However, you’re in the best company now, with women who don’t want to be invisible and in a place where you can find encouragement.
The only person who gets to decide whether you are visible or not is you.
Choosing to be visible is courageous.
Yet, it is also the most life-giving thing you can do for yourself. Not only that but it is great for everyone else in your life.
Unfortunately, most of us have bought into the idea that we are supposed to just fade away the older we get.
We believe the lies that we aren’t good enough anymore.
And we go along with all of it—thinking it’s because there is something wrong with us.
There is nothing wrong with you except that you don’t accept all of you.
How You Became Invisible
Somewhere along the line, you began to dismiss and hide parts of yourself. It might sound weird but keep reading, and I know you’ll start to feel those parts of yourself.
When I work with women, these parts are usually the ones that we think are:
What often happens is that when we are young, we get in trouble, or we see others get in trouble and we vow that we will never be that way.
I’m telling you; these early vows and decisions are POWERFUL. They will literally rule your life for decades.
By the point you start having hot flashes, you will be someone responsible, appropriate, rule-following, and productive. That wild young girl has been banished.
You thought she was a problem and good riddance.
But she holds the key to everything you want. Not the responsible appropriate things but the things your heart truly wants.
How to Become Visible
It’s kind of scary to be visible and also fun too.
While being loved for our visible parts feels nice; it feels amazing to be loved for the parts we think are bad.
Here’s the thing. Acknowledging who you really are doesn’t mean you have to go out and change a thing!
You aren’t going to suddenly quit your job, get a divorce, move to another country, or sit on the couch all day.
However, you will feel better! You won’t be putting all that energy into hiding parts of yourself.
You will feel more authentic and whole than you ever have.
To some extent, I believe we all want to be seen, known, and loved just as we are. But the problem is that we don’t think we are loveable just as we are.
Despite saying we hate being invisible, I believe many women actually choose to be invisible because they are ashamed of themselves in some way.
As I said above, this can be because of several things but one of the ways, I hear the most is that they don’t like how they look.
We don’t like our bodies, our aging faces, or our status in life. So, it is in some ways easier to hide rather than put ourselves “out there” just the way we are.
Here are 5 Thoughts About Being Visible
Be willing to be seen
Yep, being seen, is a decision you make for yourself. Not in a year when you’ve lost weight. Not later, when you feel ready.
Later never comes. You won’t feel ready.
When I started this blog years ago, I didn’t feel ready to be seen or heard. I felt a little sick when I pushed publish the first few times.
Since then, my words have been read by more than a million people. My words have helped thousands of women.
If I hadn’t gotten over my fear of being seen, I wouldn’t have met the people I have, helped the women I have, built the business I have, or had the joy of growing into the person I was meant to be.
Not everyone is going to like you
In the last couple of weeks, two women wrote me emails to tell me that they didn’t like my emails and to please unsubscribe them. (There is always a link to unsubscribe at any time at the bottom of my emails if you want to unsubscribe yourself.)
It doesn’t feel great when someone lets you know they don’t like you. Every single email I send, motivates people to unsubscribe.
And I’m willing to feel a little bit bummed, because almost 7000 people don’t unsubscribe. I do not let the minority of people decide how I am going to feel about myself.
Most women want everyone to like them. We are chameleons when it comes to being the person that we think another person wants us to be.
We twist ourselves into pretzels to make sure no one gets upset with us. We say yes, when we want to say no. We say no when we want to say yes.
We smile when we feel like crying.
The problem is that we lose who we are in all that people pleasing! To be seen, you have to be yourself.
Here’s the good news. The people that love you, will still love you. In fact, you might experience even more love than ever before because it is based on who you really are.
You don’t owe anyone an apology for existing
What kinds of things do we apologize for?
Well, I will tell you.
Women apologize for being themselves. Their real, full, authentic selves.
We apologize for
Our moods and feelings
We apologize for forgetting, for being too much, for crying (why do we all apologize for crying???)
We apologize for having a different opinion, for disagreeing, for being right.
We apologize when we put our needs first, for needing a rest, for taking care of our bodily needs.
Women work themselves to exhaustion and then apologize because they can’t do more.
If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this. You are doing enough. You are enough. You don’t need to apologize for being yourself.
For wanting what you want. And for living in a body that needs to rest, food, and to do things that don’t lead anywhere.
You deserve to unapologetically be yourself. And yes, I know that feels really uncomfortable. But my friend, twisting yourself in a pretzel to please everyone feels terrible too.
Being visible makes a difference
Being invisible doesn’t do anyone else any good. Sure, it’s kind of safer to hide yourself.
I love being a feisty visible 61-year-old. My choice to be visible has inspired so many younger women to look forward to their 50’s, 60’s, and beyond.
When I discovered how to lose weight in my fifties, I started sharing it in as many ways as I could on the blog here.
Eventually I became a life coach so I could do deeper work with women.
Every day, I make a difference.
Even if it is simply a conversation with a barista in the coffee shop, I show up.
Being visible doesn’t require feeling great about yourself all the time
For anyone that is a long-time reader, my early fifties were tough! I went through a divorce and lived in mild terror for years.
I had to confront and get to know all the parts of me. What I discovered was that I am at my best when I have love and compassion for myself.
This doesn’t mean that I feel great about myself all the time. I feel all the things about my looks at times.
I can feel scared.
I’m developing a podcast and I was paralyzed with fear for two weeks when I realized that I’d be putting my actual voice out there.
But being scared is a feeling. And the great thing about being scared of a feeling is that you can learn to just feel that feeling.
For the most part the thing that holds most of us back is the fear to feel certain feelings. We can avoid so many things so that we don’t feel uncomfortable.
Our nervous system wants us to believe we’re in danger—but most of the time there is NO actual danger. It’s just our fear of feeling uncomfortable.
However, I am convinced that having the most satisfaction with our lives depends on our ability to feel uncomfortable and still do the things we want to do.
How to Stop Being Invisible
I really hope that if you have felt invisible that you will accept this invitation to stop being invisible!
Being visible is a decision you make about yourself.
All of you is worthy and loveable.
You will make a difference if you become visible.
The parts you don’t like, are the parts that need to become visible.
Being uncomfortable doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
You will feel more alive when you stop hiding.
Feeling alive feels way better than being comfortable!
Keep showing up my friends,
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Schedule a free consultation today.
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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.