Updated: Mar 1
What does it mean to be ignored? How does it make us feel and most importantly, what can we do about it?
The picture above is one taken from Camden Town. As expected in such a culturally diverse borough of London, it is meant to excite and to be evocative. The picture showing the harsh lines of graffiti in large bold font gives us less of a sense of uniting as a community, but more so creates an Orwellian image of the masses rising up against their masters.
To be ignored does not necessarily mean you have not been heard. It could mean you have been heard but then dismissed, which one could argue is worse. But at least it's honest right? In a world where everyone is talking and vying for attention, whether that be in an effort to be liked, shared or commented on it would seem that to be ignored could potentially be catastrophic to the human psyche in 2020. We aren't saying that ignoring some people isn't necessary however.
Before the rise of the machines, you had to go a long way to ignore someone. You needed a good reason to turn your back on an individual and their voice, and you had to be prepared for rebuttal and consequence. This blog isn't about how the internet has changed how we communicate with each other; we are aware of this fact. We are no longer children of the internet, with over 25 years of experience interacting with it for the majority of us. We should have a better feel for how it may or may not be used as a tool. One would hope we would feel comfortable taking it for a Sunday afternoon drive, going camping with it and by now we are most certainly married to it with a few linked, smart devices in the form of children. So why then, in a world where almost everybody is connected almost all of the time, do we get this sense that peoples voices are being ignored? Could it just be a subjective state of mind and in fact you are being listened to but do not realise it? Or, is everyone just too busy shouting in order to listen? In some cases, it may even be a form of discrimination.
Studies carried out in Canada have shown that almost 80% of elderly people say they feel less important to younger generations. More worryingly perhaps is that when asked, 35% of people responded saying they felt they themselves treated someone differently based solely on their age. With one fifth of those people stating that they saw older people as a burden. And this is Canada, ranked 10th in the top most welcoming countries in the world.
So, what can we do about it? Looking internally is a good starting point and reviewing our actions towards other people. Perhaps even asking those we are closest to if there might be any reason why we are now feeling ignored. My most treasured friends are the ones who tell me when I'm being unreasonable or foolish, even if I don't thank them for it at the time. Then comes communication, do we really care if a keyboard warrior from the other side of the world is ignoring us? A celeb you are following on social media is overlooking your witty post? Or is it more important than that. You are feeling undervalued at the work place perhaps. Or could it be that a close friend, for whatever reason, no longer feels so close. Planning a carefully thought out dialogue for situations which are important to us is always a good start. Once you open up this dialogue, the feeling of being ignored has a chance to be repaired.
Lastly, feeling ignored can lead to the sense of feeling under-valued, which in turn could lead to problems with self-esteem. It may be that speaking with a trained professional could be of some use for you, to help see the wood from the trees. Family and friends may sometimes muddy the truth as they simply do not wish to hurt your feelings. At Person Centred Counselling the aim will be to find some answers which make sense to you. With you at the centre, being listened to and driving the dialogue.