Oh how some of us crave attention. And why not… what is wrong with wanting the limelight. Everyone has their turn in it, why shouldn’t we have our’s. A man wiser than I once stated attention is healthy. Far be it from me to dispute this. However, craving constant affection from a crowd or a person is not healthy. For one, it puts undue stress on the group or individual we are sourcing attention. Secondly, we do not deserve the emotional roller coaster. So, how do we find a balance? Let’s go back to the beginning.
Our parents started our cycle of wanting attention. But, wait! They aren’t the cause. Sorry Freud. Some of us were praised for doing good, while others received no recognition. The same can be said for when we did wrong. This brings us to two types of attention; positive and negative. I’m sure we can figure out which attention belongs to what scenario. So, I will jump to the next point. What if one only received attention when they did wrong. Enter the “mislabeled problem child”. Keep in mind that negative attention is still attention. As a child we need nurturing. We need a healthy amount of focus. Our inner voice screams:
“Give me special treatment.”
“I want the spotlight.”
“Don’t ignore me.”
Even as adults we have the same inner voice. Maybe our parents gave us attention and we thought the whole world was going to give us the same amount. Or perhaps, we were neglected and the first positive attention came from our teachers. Have you ever heard of the child who was an angel at home and a little devil at school? (or the other way around). Does this shine a light on a possible cause?
This is where discipline comes in. No, not the belt, brooms, torches or pitchforks. I’m talking about self discipline. We must learn to refrain from our craving. This brings us to our favorite topic. BRAIN CHEMICALS. Bwhahaha. I mean, a positive experience provides dopamine. Oh, how we love dopamine… Did you know getting yelled at can cause your body to produce adrenaline. Its part of the fight-or-flight defense. If this pattern continues there is likely chance we will associate adrenaline with the getting attention. Thus starts a state of mental confusion. This is not to a mental illness. Think of it as a misunderstood word. One would have to relearn to associate dopamine with getting positive recognition; just as one would have to learn inflammable actually means capable of being set on fire. True life story.
Recognition should be a dopamine experience, not adrenaline. We should not experience an elevated heart rate nor fight-or-flight. That mindset is not healthy. Attention should feel relaxing and calming. A sense of “I did it.” should be at hand, not “Whew, I survived.”
We now take a look at ourselves. Do we need attention on a daily basis, hourly, or even each minute? Be honest. How often do we seek approval? “Look at what I did.” Have we ever asked for an opinion then debated why our opinion was better? I feel that at some point in our age of learning we have all done this. Let’s not look at whether its good or bad. Rather, we should see it shows that we all want attention. There is nothing wrong with wanting attention, but moderation is needed.
Our need for recognition is just as important as our peers need for recognition. When was the last compliment we gave? How sincere was it? Did we notice the smile we received? Giving attention is just as important as receiving. Sounds like a gift, doesn’t it? If we neglect our peers, what are the chances they will act out in a negative manner? Remember, negative attention is still attention. As juvenile as it may be, we need to recognize it. If someone is demanding more attention than we are able to give, then we need to explain why we cannot provide that attention. Yes, setting down and talking takes time away from other business matters. But, in doing so, we are setting ourselves up for future success. Communication is key. Stay positive. Stay professional.
Moderated attention is what we need and what we need to give. Take a moment and think of each person we interact with each day. Are we proactive with our praises and constructive with our reprimands? Is the attention we give positive or negative? Are we seeking too much attention? As one can see there is a lot to take in when factoring how we interact with others. The key is to exercise moderation in ourselves and in others. Find a balance that won’t cause one to be overtaxed.
Until the next blog here’s to living life, being happy, and finding life’s happiness.