Ralph Ellison wrote a novel in the 1950’s prophetic for our times, The Invisible Man, which deals with the identity crisis of a young black man who becomes invisible eventually to re-emerge and accept his complex individuality. Like the narrator of Ellison’s novel, who among us has not wished to be invisible similar to an undetected fly on the wall, safely overhearing conversations and observing others?
However, like the narrator, many of us grow increasingly upset and tired of being invisible for example: Senior citizens who keep a low profile in a youth-driven culture, victims of the judicial system and patients who are viewed as money-making medical test takers, so physicians can beat the insurance system. And please don’t break up with me or fire me in an email! See me!
Then there is the ordinary person who is celebrity-struck wishing to be extraordinary too. To counteract facelessness Facebook with its posted selfies and photographic journalism is a genius concept designed to immediately raise status creating a desirable identity which expresses:
* Good side out. You don’t need to know my struggles unless they make me more interesting
* Hey, look at what I choose to show you – now aren’t you jealous?
* Maybe celebrity magazines don’t write about me, but on Facebook I can document my “adventures” which people Like
But is all this virtual visibility good for you?
Did you know that people who spend hours on Facebook tend to be depressed? Self-esteem could be eroded by other people’s exaggerated claims of happiness as jealousy takes hold. Clearly, we need more face time with real people and real life interactions that evoke true sharing and compassion. Can you differentiate between narcissism which means being self-absorbed and entitled to all kinds of things and healthy narcissism which means feeling worthy of love and respect?
To build true self-esteem:
- Rid yourself of emotional programming that dictates ideals like the perfect job, perfect spouse, and perfect children. You will never achieve this false perfectionism, so why limit your self-discovery?
- People-pleasing conceals identity. Take off your social mask and say what you really think and want. Keep practicing to speak your mind succinctly and politely.
- Learn to keep yourself in good balance between sharing your private thoughts and hiding your truth. Sharing too much can get in the way of being admitted to a good school or hired by an employer. Remember today’s friends could be tomorrow’s enemies.
- Create a “business card” for your signature strengths: What you are good at doing and what you love to do. This means a brief phrase which describes your best attribute or a personal message. For example, Lucy Deane, Captain of My Ship; Pamela Connor, magical gardener.
- Shed outworn self-images the way your body sheds old cells and a snake sheds its skin. Don’t let past history define your identity today.
- Realize that an intense connection to material possessions sabotages your joy in life because your fear of losing possessions makes you think your identity lacks worth.
- Pay attention to other people and raise their self-esteem by greeting them verbally or with a smile; hold the door open for them. See them and they will see you.
For more info on health and happiness visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com