Forward Planning

 

Do you have that friend or acquaintance who just oozes confidence.  Nothing fazes her (of course it could be him but for convenience I am going to stick with her).  She has a presence.  She is able to articulate herself and nothing seems to throw her off her stride.

I know someone who just epitomizes the word confidence and I met her for coffee recently.  After catching up on what had been happening in our own lives and our families lives we turned our attention to our working life.

She told me that my recent post “A Change of Title”, which discussed the feeling of being invisible, really resonated with her.  Since she has become a retiree she has totally lost her way.  She had started to withdraw from social activities as it was less stressful.

I realised, that yes, I hadn’t seen her as much in the last year to eighteen months but had never realised that this was due to a lack of confidence.  I was flabbergasted.  Here was a woman who a few years ago would have chaired meetings, talked in front of a hundred delegates and never once believed she couldn’t achieve things.

Since becoming a retiree she had begun to realise that without her job she felt useless and that gradually her confidence had been eroded.  She had no sense of identity.  She had gradually withdrawn from social events.  She had become an avid reader and was a weekly visitor of her local library.

It is so easy to lose one’s identity whether it is on retiring, becoming a mother or father, loosing a job, or a myriad of other reasons.  The effect is still the same.  One’s self-confidence begins to disappear.

As our conversation developed we each admitted to being very apprehensive about forthcoming events which each of us had to attend.  Suddenly I had a buddy who wanted to help me and at the same time I wanted to ease the social evening for her.

Angela never moves without her tablet so, as I had to attend a large meeting she checked Luas time-table to see how long it would take me.  Then Angela suggested googling the hotel where the event was being held.  A large percentage of hotels now have virtual tours so one can get an idea of the various function rooms.  Now that is a tip I will keep in mind for future reference.  We also discussed where I would sit.  An aisle seat would suit as I was giving myself permission to leave at any time while at the same time I wouldn’t be disturbing anyone.

Next we looked at Anne’s social night, where she would know the hosts but no one else. Again we checked out the venue then we looked at conversation topics which Anne could read up on in advance.  Then we looked at outfits.  By the time we had finished, both of us while not being excited about the forth coming events, found we were no longer totally apprehensive about them.

Definitely, a little bit of forward planning was going to make  the experience far less daunting and it is something I would totally recommend to anyone who is apprehensive about a forth coming event. It will ease the situation and more importantly ease the stress levels.

A Change of Title

For a long time, I had felt invisible but in the last few years it had become even more noticeable how I had become invisible to others.

A few years ago, I read an article about Sinead Keane, a marathon runner, who happens to have impaired vision.  In 2015 the organisers of the Women’s Mini Marathon, which is held annually in Dublin, would not let her running guide take part as he was male.  She challenged that decision and won.  A sentence in the interview with her kept reverberating in my head It’s about making invisible visible

This led me to remembering three Dunne’s stores workers who went on strike  in 1984 in Dublin after  refusing to handle south African produce due to Apartheid. When I spoke to them at the time, they talked about supporting  women in South Africa who were invisible.

While researching further into the whole idea on invisibility I came across many organisations who work for those who are invisible in our societies.  From those who are homeless, to those who use the law to secure equality and justice for people with mental disabilities worldwide.

Initially I was going to call this blog Dear Invisible but after my research I found I couldn’t.  There are many who are truly invisible.

However, that doesn’t take away the fact that many a person feels invisible. I initially believed that it was only as one got older that one felt invisible.  With the onset of wrinkles, grey hair, sagging chins, and other parts of the body, that then the sense of being invisible really manifests itself.

However, is this really so?  Or is it perhaps that one learns to feel invisible?  Perhaps we allow ourselves and give ourselves permission to be invisible? I don’t believe this.  I think the feeling of being invisible is linked to confidence or the lack of it.

It is amazing how over a number of years on one can loose self confidence or the feeling of self worth for whatever reason.  Regaining self-confidence is difficult and requires courage.  It is an ongoing process but once one starts it is an intoxicating feeling.

Taking on board Sinead Keane’s quote “it’s about making invisible visible” moving from a lack of self confidence to gaining in confidence enables the feeling of being invisible gradually disappear.  Like anything which is important it requires work and it needs constant help but it is so worth it.

It takes courage to stop feeling invisible.  In order to regain self-confidence, one has to move outside one’s comfort zone.  Even if it only baby steps one takes it taking that first step is that is important.

Feel empowered.  If you start to feel it, then your voice will be heard and you will never go back Mary Robinson.  This quote is so true and so inspiring.  Finding and feeling good about oneself is a very powerful feeling. i keep this quote with me where ever I go. I put it on the first page of each journal.

Taking those first steps and rewarding oneself is essential.  Recently I attended a course knowing absolutely no one.  A year ago, I would not have even contemplated attending.  But by preparing in advance I did attend.  What gave me the confidence was that I went to the venue in advance and knew exactly where I was going.  I googled the key note speaker.  I emailed the organiser with questions I had.  On the morning of the course I was able to walk in with confidence and attend.  It was still difficult especially when it came to coffee breaks but I made myself talk with two other attendees.

By putting into place things which helped me to feel confiden, allowed me to attend the conference and enabled me to speak.  I was visible and although at times the feeling of being invisible started to creap in. However,  I stopped the feeling from developing.  It was exhausting day but so worth it.

I found a saying recently I am currently under construction and that is me at the moment.