Once upon a time, it was a hot day. I was wearing thongs. (Feet thongs.) The sun was shining. I was walking across a bitumen car park.
I can’t remember if the birds were singing or silent but if an accompanying acoustic helps to bring the story alive for you, please imagine happy little birds tweeting their beaks off!
I was innocent. I was free. I was walking.
I was walking innocently and freely.
Until… BING BANG BOOM…PAIN PAIN PAIN…
I felt something extremely sharp on the underside of my left foot. I stopped. I halted. I paused with as much dramatic gravitas as I could summons and inspected aforementioned left foot.
A drawing pin had penetrated my rubber thong and was in my foot. A sharp pin – dull gold in colour – was in my foot.
IN MY FOOT.
Let me repeat – the drawing pin had entered the tender flesh of my left foot. This had never happened to me before. My feet and drawing pins had never been acquainted in this way.
I hopped and stumbled. I sat down in a most inelegant way. I pulled the drawing pin out of aforementioned foot. And stared at my precious, tender foot with great concern.
Much to my disgust, my foot boldly refused to bleed. There was not one single drop of blood. I repeat: not one drop of blood.
It was friggin’ outrageous. I was sure that something as horribly intrusive as a metal pin in my sweet flesh would cause blood to gush.
And it got worse. Not only did my foot boldly refuse to bleed, no one cared that a pin had been in my foot.
No one cared.
The pain had stopped
The pain had long stopped. There was no blood. Any chance of disease had been taken care of by some booster injections I’d had earlier that year for an overseas trip. The sun was still shining and the birds were unmoved
The pain: well… truthfully, it was a sharp prick of approximately one second with some residual stinging that lasted maybe 8-12 seconds. That’s all. But I made it mean SO much more.
I made it mean that no one cared. And once I’d attached that meaning to the drawing-pin-in-foot incident, I got dramatic. In my mind, no one cared. So, I did what any normal human toddler would do and carried on like a pork chop.**
And still no one cared.
Or, that’s how it felt.
It was technically over but I clung to the hurt
For whatever reason, that day and that week, I needed some extra TLC. I needed a bit of appreciation and attention and affirmation. And because I wasn’t very good at either giving that to myself or seeking it from others in a healthy way, I got incredibly dramatic about a minor incident that didn’t even draw one drop of blood.
I was craving attention and took advantage of an innocent drawing pin that happened to fancy my left foot.
And the less attention I got, the more I dramatic I became. I didn’t get what I needed, so I upped the dramatic intensity. But the strategy had the inverse effect – the more I had my little attention-seeking tantrum, the more others withdrew, retracted and avoided.
So it continued to its inevitable ending and…I cried. I cried whilst the sun shone and the birds continued on their merry tweeting way.
Attention is a legitimate human desire
Affection and appreciation and TLC are all requirements for a healthy, happy life but, sometimes, they’re in short supply. Don’t create unnecessary drama like I did. Instead, let’s figure out how to receive attention in a healthy way.
How to get the attention you deserve
- Honour yourself for desiring attention. Don’t judge yourself if you’d like some extra affection or if you need a D&M with a close friend. They’re perfectly normal desires and we all require that sort of care and emotional intimacy on a regular basis.
- Don’t mistake someone tolerating your tantrum for genuine loving attention. They are two very different things! Passive bystanders who are mildly frightened by your antics are never going to give you what you need deep down.
- Tap, tap, tap. (See below for EFT suggestions.)
- Give yourself whatever it is you’re seeking from others. There is no doubt that you are your own harshest critic. No one bullies you more than you bully yourself. No one will ever judge you more than you judge yourself. Start treating yourself with a bit more TLC. One simple (and often confronting) exercise is to stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye and tell yourself “I see you and I love you, I see you and I appreciate you, I see you and I love you, I see you and I appreciate you.”
- Give it to others. Not in the hope they return the favour but because it creates good ju-ju. The more people in the world who feel appreciated, the more the love spreads.
- Learn how to ask for more attention from your loved ones in a healthy, emotionally mature way. The ‘healthy, emotionally mature way’ is often the tricky bit and where we come undone. Stereotypically, little girls get their needs met by playing the cutesy card and little boys get their needs met by asserting themselves. Try something different: state your feelings, make a direct request and accept the answer with grace and dignity (even if it isn’t in your favour).
“I’ve felt a bit frazzled this week and really need to just hang out on the couch with you. Will you watch this movie with me?”
“I feel quite overwhelmed by my family dramas and would love to talk about it. If I make a cup of tea, are you available to listen for about 20 minutes?”
Some tapping tips
- Do you have permission to receive attention?
“Even though I’m not allowed to receive attention, I give myself permission right now…”
- Do you feel safe asking for and/or receiving attention?
“Even though I don’t feel safe asking for attention…”
- Do you feel worthy and deserving of asking for and/or receiving attention?
“Even though I don’t deserve attention because I’m not good enough…”
- Do you believe your loved ones can/will pay attention to you? (Or is it a hopelessly doomed situation?)
“Even though she is completely incapable of paying attention to me in the way I want…”
What about you?
What was your biggest a-ha from this blog? Share it in the comments below and let us know how you are going to implement it!
**slang that implies a foolish person is exhibiting inappropriate behaviour
PS. If you’re ready for some coaching to clear out the blocks that are holding you back from feeling seen and appreciated in your relationships, you can apply for an “Is this right for me?” chat here: firstname.lastname@example.org