We are attention-grabbing beings
I believe that humans are an attention-grabbing species. If it wasn’t for the attention-grabbing impulse, there would be no public art. People would write, draw, speak, and dance in their bedrooms and that would be that. If the impulse to grab attention wasn’t there, we’d have no Mona Lisa or Marvel Comics. We are a tribal species which means we need others to notice and like us.
The problem is when we lose ourselves in it. When we hang the totality of our self-worth on the attention we get from others. The god of attention is a bastard of an idol. When we bow to the frail god of attention, a few scenarios can sprout from this religion…
If we get no attention or negative attention, we flog ourselves. Even if it’s just a small dose of negative attention. Even if it’s from your passive-aggressive third cousin twice removed who trolls you on Twitter. You’ll take her words and your ego will amplify them to the point where they take up the whole of your existence. The walls of your home will bulge with those 280 characters (yes, she maxed out that character limit) and they will own you. Soon, you’ll be living in a Ford Fiesta down by the crick (yes, you’ll call it a ‘crick’ when you lose every ounce of self-worth you’ve ever had) living on Tostitos and sour cream.
On the flip side of this, if you get a lot of good attention (or even a little hit of it), you’ll get high off it. For like a minute and a half. But you’ll find that this high is followed by a prompt jonesing for more good attention. Your ego will want more and you’ll seek it in all of the wrong places. The god of attention will leave you a crusty shell of yourself as you dry out and thirst tirelessly for more.
Let’s be okay that we’re attention-seeking beings. But may we put our self-worth into something more indestructible than the fickle opinions of others. May we never forget that it is God’s love that names us, claims us, and ultimately defines us. This is our starting point. Before we created one thing, we were created and deemed good by Him. Before we created any art, we were His art. This is our set-point.
May we put our self-worth into something more indestructible than the fickle opinions of others.
In knowing and trusting this, may we grab for attention out of wholeness and completeness not out of desperation and lack.
Will you care what others say or think about you? Yes, of course. And thank God you actually care. It means you have a soft, fleshy, bloody human heart.
But man, when you feel that heart of yours buckling under the weight of their toxic and sordid opinions… May you rub that chest of yours and know that their flighty gum-gnashings never have the first or last word about you.
Breathe that in and grab attention for the fun of it
without placing so much weight on the result.