Elie Wiesel wrote, “The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference.”
Apparently there are have been scientific studies which prove that the brain registers as physical pain when a person is being ignored. I have read a couple of articles on it but I don’t have the scientific sources. If it is true though, why do we feel so much pain at being ignored and what can we do about it?
Silence can feel like a dignified, high road response but the silence is really saying a lot. It’s also a way to inflict pain without fighting. It’s a type of passive aggressive behaviour.
When someone ignores you how do you feel? Angry? Hurt? Irritated? Sad?
When we are ignored we start to think all sorts of things about ourselves such as:
- They don’t like me
- I’m unloveable
- People always ignore me
- I am invisible
- Fill your own in here ………………
These type of thoughts and beliefs we have create the pain we feel.
What can we do?
Ask yourself questions. For example:
- Is it true that I am invisible? (No it’s not because if you turn to someone and ask them they will verify that you are visible to them).
- Is it true that they don’t like me? (Well unless you ask them you will never really know).
- Do I need to care that they don’t like me? (Well do you?)
- Can I be myself no matter what? (It may be hard but chances are you can give yourself the permission to be yourself).
- If someone ignores me am I unloveable? (No.)
Affirm yourself with words of love:
- I am a loveable, visible human being.
- My worth is not measured by these particular people.
- There are people who take notice of what I say.
The bottom line is that yes, being ignored is hurtful but it doesn’t mean you are not a beautiful, worthy human being. You just need to remind yourself of that and try not to let others affect your beliefs about yourself and the world. Keep in mind that we inflict this kind of pain on others too and it is good to be aware of our own behaviour and to rectify it in some way.
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We deceive ourselves by making up stories in our heads. Here are two examples.
- Peggy was concerned because a good friend of hers seemed to be ignoring her text messages and not replying to any of them. She started getting anxious thinking something was wrong. When we analysed it together we noticed that the thoughts that had been going on Peggy’s mind were along the lines of: she’s purposefully ignoring me; I must have upset her; she doesn’t like me anymore, I’m not loveable. The truth is we don’t know any of those to be true, we make stories up and believe them as though they are real. How can we know if she’s purposefully ignoring her or if she’s upset or doesn’t like her anymore, maybe she’s just busy.
- Lulu saw someone at the shop and the person looked her up and down in what seemed to be a disapproving manner. Lulu had already been feeling self conscious that morning having eaten a half a slab of chocolate the night before.The thoughts that she had unconsciously been thinking were: I look terrible today; I’ve put on 3 kilos from the chocolate I ate;this woman knows and she’s thinking that I have no self discipline; I’m a terrible person. Now all of these thoughts that Lulu thought are unverified and therefore the answer to them is unknown. How on earth could she know what this random stranger was thinking? For all she knows the woman saw the colour she was wearing and was thinking of her ex-husband whose current girlfriend had a dress in that colour.We never know what other people are thinking.
I do not mean to undermine Peggy’s or Lulu’s experiences here. I am trying to demonstrate how we subconsciously think thoughts that seem real to us and we get freaked out. These thoughts however, are just thoughts. Often though they relate to experiences we have had previously in our lives which trigger us (almost like flicking a light switch on) and it’s as if we are reliving that same moment from many many years ago. These experiences can be unravelled and put into perspective with someone who has experience in this area.
We continue to deceive ourselves and make our lives a misery by thinking thoughts and believing everything we think to be true.
If you want help to unpack your thoughts and work through them, to see what is plaguing you, please contact me by clicking here.
All the best
The word “busy” has powerful connotations. When we keep saying we are busy it means we have no space left for anything or anyone else.
We fill our lives with so many activities and there’s no time to just chill.
There are things we want to be doing but we are just too busy. Usually those things are the most meaningful ones. Like going to see a play, getting some fresh air at the botanical gardens, doing a good deed, taking the family on a really nice outing or having a long relaxing bath.
When we leave out the things which mean something to us It’s because we haven’t really thought too deeply about it and therefore don’t have proper direction. When we have direction and intention and know why things are important to us we make place for them in our lives. Filling our time up with rushing leaves a certain emptiness or frustration within us at the end of the day.*
It’s the same for our children. I hear some of my children’s friends say that they don’t have time for social arrangements because they are too busy. How can a child be so busy that they don’t have time to play? If that’s what is happening to the children then certainly for us as adults it must be worse. These children are also perpetuating a “busy” value system into their lives and when they are adults they will do the same thing and won’t have time for what is important to them.
The consequence is burnout, depression or physical ailments.
What really fulfills us is meaning, fun, laughter, love, giving, sharing, connection. We won’t find those things in filling up our days to the brim. Look at your schedule and see if you can take something out. Leave time to lie on the grass and look at the birds flitting around in the trees. The other day I had the amazing opportunity of seeing a bird of prey on my roof (I think it was a kite – click here to see what a kite is). If I had been on my phone or rushing around doing lots and lots of stuff I would have missed it.
Yes of course there is a lot to do but try and take out something and put yourself and the things which mean something to you into your calendar. If necessary physically write them into your diary and make them as important as any appointment would be.
There’s freedom to be found here……
*I will be running the Power of Purpose on Sunday mornings in July and August. Early bird special ends on 30 June. Book now.
The truth (to me) is that it’s not about impressing people, it’s about being the best you can be in this world. It can be completely anonymous and very quiet. No-one needs to know. Just be yourself, use your gifts, and be a good person. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Don’t try too hard to be noticed or to impress people. Impress yourself.
People will love the real you.