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Why we need Attention

Why do people crave attention? 

The human’s need for attention is not just superficial. Primal man navigated life in tribes with reasonable role clarity; if you didn’t play your role in the team then survival was under threat. Therefore all tribe members had an element of reliance and attention on the roles their peers played. 

In modern man, our need for attention is greater as we are more isolated, the threat of survival is not so tentative and we are far less reliant on each other for basic needs - most of our basic needs are met by technology and convenience. 

So what we need attention for shifts, we no longer gain so much attention for being an integral member of a group, therefore we crave attention towards the separate sense of I. 

And this need can be for positive attention but unfortunately, when starved of any good attention, many of us settle for any attention at all which can often be toxic and not conducive to our well being. The need for attention for children often reflects this; they will often misbehave in order to receive because being seen is more satisfying than being invisible. 

Worryingly, in the younger generations, they are growing up satisfying their needs for attention with overly sexualized images and an emphasis on the physical veneer as opposed to inner beauty. 

So what can we do as 21st-century humans to satiate the primal yearning to be seen and validated? 

To know that we are useful and appreciated in the world? 

Firstly, we give our children our undivided attention when they ask us something or display a need for us…5 minutes of genuine interest in a person’s needs will save hours of game playing/ misbehaving/ playing up in order to get it. 

Secondly, we should applaud the younger generation for their skills, talents, and competencies rather than let them feed purely on appreciation for what they look like. The need for attention can be met in a space where we see them beyond their outer appearance. 

If we start at the beginning, we can rear adults who can gracefully receive attention and give it back, wholeheartedly. 

And for the generation we already have? 

We can take the wisdom from primal man, seeing that humans appreciate being seen for the value they add to their lives and others, so let’s start pointing this out: 

let’s always show appreciation to a colleague for the role they play in a team; let’s always listen attentively, without distraction when others talk, let’s start complimenting others for their strengths whether they are practical or emotional; everyone has them, without fail. We just need to look deeper than the veneer and give attention to the deeper aspects of the human who just wants to be seen. 

So why do we crave attention?

 It’s our heart that calls and when we are seen fully, that’s love. 

And that love helps us to see ourselves - our own sense of worth…then we won’t need the reflection from others.