Feeling Ignored?

 
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Dear Jane,
I get lost in a crowd, like I’m invisible. I pretend not to care and I know I make things worse by dressing in drab clothes. But I feel like I don’t matter to anyone. What can I do short of screaming, “Here I am! Pay attention to me!”

Being ignored—not feeling special or valued—is one of the most hurtful experiences to endure. Unless we’re so Britney Spears-like famous that we lose all privacy, I think all of us have felt invisible and ignored.

Given that the way you dress reinforces your pain, it’s likely that you have an old belief that you are unimportant. As I point out in my book, Enough Is Enough, our most consistently painful thoughts come from childhood. So here are some ways to change this thought so your suffering abates now.

Step 1: Recall a specific incident where, as a child, you had the thought that you were unimportant. Maybe some kids excluded you at lunch or when picking sides for team sports. Maybe a teacher didn’t notice your skills. Perhaps you grew up in a crowded home with a lot of siblings demanding the limited attention of your parent(s). Maybe you had a sibling who was the smart one or the pretty one or the athletic one—the one who got noticed.

Step 2: Give your inner child reassurance that being ignored had nothing to do with him and that he matters even now to you.

Step 3: There’s a saying: It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. Start treating yourself the way you wish you had been treated. That means paying attention to your wants and needs, your likes and dislikes, and doing what makes you happy. Make your first question in the morning be, “What would make me happy today?” Maybe it’s buying new, brighter clothes that attract attention. Maybe it involves participating more in your community. Maybe it is asking for a promotion or joining a club. Whatever it is, commit to following through so that your inner child isn’t subjected to more of that invisibility. The gift of being truthful about your pain is that you can now do something for yourself to alleviate it. You deserve to feel special and to know that you matter.

This blog and my accompanying podcast, which you can download from my Web site, StopEnduring.com or from iTunes, were inspired by a poem dedicated to me by Hemdan in Egypt, who wrote The Greatest Pain in Life in Arabic and translated it into English.

The Greatest Pain in Life
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The greatest pain in life is not to die, but to be ignored

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To lose the person you love so much to another who doesn’t care at all

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The greatest pain in life, is not to die, but to be forgotten

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When you show someone your innermost thoughts and he laughs in your face

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For friends to always be too busy to console you when you need someone to lift your spirits
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When it seems like the only person who cares about you, is you

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Life is full of pain, but does it ever get better?

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Will people ever care about each other, and make time for those who are in need?

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Each of us has a part to play in this great play we call life

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Each of us has a duty to mankind to tell our friends we love them

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If you do not care about your friends you will not be punished
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You will simply be ignored… forgotten… as you have done to others
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ANNOUNCEMENTS

Enough Is Enough! Seminar in New Orleans
I have been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop on November 18, 2007 for some folks whose lives were impacted by Katrina. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, StopEnduring.com. If you live in New Orleans, you are invited to attend this free workshop. Contact me at Jane@janestraus.com.

Donation of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation to New Orleans Schools
I am donating 120 copies of the Eighth Edition of her bestselling reference guide and workbook, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. If you know of a school in the New Orleans area that could use the book, contact Jane at Jane@janestraus.com.

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
I will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. I will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

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