We’ve all heard (and maybe used) the phrase “attention seeking” put on individuals (and pets). That label can sound negative and perhaps somewhat shaming. Human beings (and some pets maybe?) are social creatures. We desire to be “known,” to be loved and appreciated, or some might say, to be seen. This social aspect in us is crucial in our overall wellbeing since early development all. This is important because social relationships help validate us as we remain connected to the “other.” However, when that connection suffers or minimizes (whether perceived or real), it causes an internal angst within us.
I prefer to think of “attention seeking” as “connection seeking.” I suspect many behaviors we witnessed as “attention seeking” are more related to individuals looking to connect with another. Being lonely (or “unseen”) just sucks, we know that, we have felt that, whether we choose to admit it or otherwise. It exposes the cavity in our hearts that only fellowship and companionship can fill.
So the next time when someone demonstrates behavior you consider “attention seeking,” I wonder how our perception may shift if we frame the underlying behavior to be that of the person seeking some sort of human connection? How will that shift also change/affect the way we feel about the behavior, and the way we interact with the person?