With technology being the center of our lives, we grew up thinking that we’re all unique and important people. That no matter what, we need to show that we’re the best at what we do. As a teenager who uses social media I can confirm that our generation is the literal meaning of “attention-seeking”.
With social media being on the rise (it’s probably going to stay at the top for another decade or two) everyone is trying to grab the viewer’s attention, which sometimes leads to clickbait. Social media is basically this nursery. Everyone in it needs attention and if you don’t pay attention to them they’ll start to feel neglected. Wanting attention is a normal thing, it’s probably as normal as eating or sleeping. It usually comes in the form of love or comfort. Where when someone is having a bad day they seek comfort and in most cases when someone is single they seek love. It can also happen in friendships. You seek your friend’s attention, comfort, and love. The idea that humans, more so this generation is attention seeking is usually a thought stuck in the back of our heads- we never really do talk about it. Why?
If we always kept in mind that we’re attention seekers, our whole perspective of everything will change. Art, music, politics, crimes, love, and just everything in general. The fact that there are millions and even billions of people on social media, demanding for attention from their group of followers is mind boggling. We never realize our actions until we see them from another perspective or read about them.
Scientifically, many people have shown to need a type of attention which psychologists call ‘belonging’. The need to belong. The need to fit in. But you don’t necessarily feel this type of attention with just any random person, but you need to feel a positive sense of belonging with people who you really know. Now that I’ve explained why we seek attention and how it is normal, let me explain why we’re attention whores and why that’s not okay.
I just want to say that the word whore isn’t the thing that makes this negative, but the meaning itself. The literal definition of attention whore is a person who behaves in a provocative, outrageous, or reprehensible manner in order to attract attention. In other words it’s someone who does something terrible to gain attention and fame. For example, something that’s been getting popular is acting as if you’re part of the LGBT community, more specifically bisexual, to gain support and fame.
Why would you do that? Why would you use someone else’s struggle for your own gain? What kind of person are you for that thought to even cross your mind? Do you even know how many LGBT people, especially youth, get kicked out of their homes, get beaten up, humiliated, and even tortured just because of who they are and who they love? Enough to leave you mortified for the rest of your life.
Another example is, faking mental illnesses for attention. Ever felt lonely in life? Ever felt this heavyweight crushing your heart whenever you think about your loneliness? Well, honestly I can relate, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever okay to fake being ill, especially mentally. Being alone is terrifying, but that doesn’t and will never give you an excuse to fake being mentally ill. Many people receive horrible treatments to cure their mental illnesses. Obviously technology and medical treatments have advanced a lot and are actually effective now, but that doesn’t stop people from treating mental illness as the plague- scared of it spreading around, by just talking or touching someone. Some don’t even believe in mental illnesses. They think it’s the “devil” messing with you or that you don’t pray or thank God enough. Mentally ill people have been treated horribly since the beginning of time. Why do you think it’s okay to fake depression? Or anxiety? Why do you think it gives you the right to romanticize them and make them “trendy”? If you knew and read the history behind about it, you’d understand the shit that they went through.
I absolutely get that humans seek attention. It’s natural. What changes the situation from natural to outrageous is the way you try to grab attention. Also someone can be paying attention to you, but it might not be the attention you’re looking for. Which then leads to a cycle of “Why are they not paying attention to me?” and “They don’t love or care about me enough.”. Paying attention doesn’t always mean talking to you 24 hours a day, everyday- no, it can sometimes mean checking up on someone. Giving someone too much attention will make them depend on it. They’ll as though they are nothing without you hovering above them and paying attention to them all the time. Which can actually lead to a really toxic relationship.
Seeking attention is a part of human nature – we can’t stop it. Don’t make people treat you like trash for wanting their attention. Except if they’re treating you badly for the way you grabbed their attention. Then maybe you need to think things over again. Maybe you’re not the victim- remember the first step towards becoming a better and healthier you is admitting that you were wrong.