At a party with some friends one time, my friend Angela asked “if you could have any super power, what would it be?” I said I would want to fly — just me, my body, no airplane needed. She said she would want the power to go invisible whenever she wanted. We all agreed that was a good one.
I have a friend who was almost invisible for a while. She served in her job diligently, helping people in trouble, and never got any thanks or acknowledgment from her bosses. In fact, it was the kind of job where the average Joe didn’t ever see her work, and although she was instrumental in many people’s lives, it was all behind the scenes. She worked for the Victim Support Unit, and when people go through a crime or tragedy, that’s when she stepped in to help. These kinds of situations aren’t talked about commonly, and so, in regular society, she was invisible.
Have you ever known someone who was very “visible?” I have. Besides being a bit of a “showman,” he needed to be thanked for every good deed, acknowledged for every participation and sympathized with for every hardship. Everyone knew when he was in the room — not always in a bad way — and he was dynamic, intelligent, and needy.
What is the difference between these two types of people? The difference is self-esteem. When you have extremely good self-esteem — literally, esteem or respect for yourself — you have the power to be invisible. You don’t need to be acknowledged, thanked or applauded. You know what you have done, you are proud of your work, and that’s enough. In some ways, being an author is being invisible — you contribute to the world, but not in a flashy way. If you want to, you can even remain unknown by using a pseudonym or writing anonymously. Even if you use your real name, as I do, you can still stay invisible.
In a strange way, I like this idea. I first heard about while listening to a recording by Carolyn Myss. She said that being invisible was something that appealed to her about being a writer. It strikes a chord with me too, because I am not interested in fame. I am not a seeker-of-approval — which I guess is another form of having good self-esteem. I don’t really want to be on Oprah (you know what I mean), I just want to sell 100,000 books and help people!
You can use this idea of being invisible as a way to measure how your self-esteem is doing. Would you be okay with being invisible, with never getting any applause or recognition for your work?
So, if you ever feel like you’re invisible, don’t worry. It’s not a flaw. It’s actually sort of an honour, and it’s a source of internal power. It means you have a pretty good level of self-esteem, so congrats! 🙂