Attention is an amazing thing! It helps us know who we are and that we matter. It can be received on so many levels, from the deepest connections with loved ones to a total stranger living on the other side of the world.
In recent years we have been told to express our uniqueness and celebrate the aura of our souls.
With this abundance of expression comes the urge to amplify or tweak the essence of who we are. Doing anything we can to ensure we receive the attention we deserve.
Without knowing what others are thinking, we can get sent into a spin of self adjustments and doubt.
For the purpose of this article, I will break down our attention into online and offline.
Offline attention is a lot easier to assess.
If you notice that your loved one hasn’t been giving you the attention you feel you deserve you could ask them, “hey, I have noticed that you haven’t been giving me a kiss when I get home from work anymore, is anything the matter?”. Which could result in a slight awareness shift and life goes on.
The online space isn’t as logical and let’s be honest, we wouldn’t want to private message hundreds of ‘friends’ with a “Hey! Why are we friends if you don’t like or comment on anything I do?”.
Our assumption is that what we are putting into the world is “us” and it should be accepted by others. But, even if you are true to yourself, sometimes you won’t get the reassurance you’re after.
Know that even the best fisherman with the perfect bait and best equipment have sad, empty bucket boat rides back to shore.
Your thoughts will be the same as for those flummoxed fisherman returning without dinner, “what did I do wrong?” The truth is, nothing. You’ve haven’t done anything wrong.
It’s not your job to anticipate the attitude of others. Whether they give you attention or not could be impacted by something as small as them being “hangry” (angry because they’re hungry).
The important message here is not to react to the feedback because it often doesn’t matter, and stay true to your inner guidance system.
How to be your true self in this attention-seeking social media world:
Know your purpose online
This point is not just directed to business owners. It applies to everybody and I believe it’s actually more important for people who use social media for personal use as it’s so easy to get swept away if you don’t know what you are doing there.
Spend a few minutes and write down exactly what you want to get out of your online engagement, why you do what you do.
This reflection may help you recognize the true reactive emotional reasons behind your desire to be online.
A few common reasons are:
- Connect with my close friends
- Share my thoughts with the world through beautiful words/videos/images.
- Grow my business
A few reactive reasons may be:
- Distraction from other areas of your life
This won’t be comforting, but will ultimately let you be happier and more accepting of who you are. This isn’t a judgement exercise, it’s a curiosity one!
Let a friend take a snap!
Let’s face it, the selfie is here to stay and people want to know the face behind your online profile. But did you know that 36% of people have admitted to altering or enhancing their selfies, and that’s just the ones who admit it!
If you are in this group or even if you have been trying to perfect your selfie, break the pattern by uploading a picture taken by someone else. You will hate it but stay strong, the initial cringe throughout your entire body will fade and acceptance will arise.
Letting go of the control you have towards your personal image, but is necessary to stop caring about what people think of you, so that you can be yourself.
Never lose site of your purpose
I know so many people who have started out with the purpose to inspire, teach or connect. They wanted to promote health, happiness and to change the world!
Over the course of many months they were able to stay true to their mission, but over time, there’s a shift.
It may be just a moment that triggers this. Something as simple as sharing an image from a holiday in less clothing than what they may normally do.
Suddenly they get double the engagement! The attention that they get feels good and then it can be addictive to start sharing pictures to showcase that side of you.
Always be aware of your audience and what message you want to give to the people around you. Any attention is easy but the right attention is what will keep your soul happy.
Turn off notifications.
Have you experienced this? You’ve planned a day trip with a friend, it’s the best day, lots of laughs, living in the moment and then they decide to upload or share the experience online.
The day is done, they have vanished from the present moment, face down, waiting and checking every time a notification pings!
All platforms have a way to manage these notifications, this is a great way to break the addiction, especially if you’re the friend from the previous story.
Create other ways to show yourself.
Humans are spectacular beings and we’ve never had more opportunity to express ourselves! Write, dance, sing, make videos, create memes, do voice memos. Whatever you can think of, there’s probably an app or a social network that lets you share it.
Add energy to offline relationships
When was the last time you reached out to an old friend in person?
Here are two questions you could ask yourself before your next catch up:
- What can I do to make this time amazing for them?
- What is something they have been talking about that I can help with or be interested in?
The other side of spending quality time with friends is that they can keep you in check! A true friend can let you know if they feel you are acting out of line with your values.
The goal here isn’t to hate online connections, but to understand who you are while using it.
How you use it has nothing to do with how others use it. Strive to uncover your true self and let it shine. Attempting to please others by changing your core values will always end badly.
If your goal is to be seen, be yourself!