What are the root causes of the hunger for attention, approval and/or acknowledgement?
And how can a person who chooses to be self-contained and emotionally mature move beyond these needs? I see the causes for seeking attention, etc., in myself, have chosen to move beyond them, and have found (through personal reflection, intuitive knowing and life experience) ways that work well for me. I am interested to read what others will share.
Man is a social animal. Being so, you either feel respected by your group or otherwise. So for those who don't feel respected, they will either strive for acceptance by doing things that they won't normally do, or else they will leave the group. For me, I choose the latter because there are so many choices, LOL.
Yes, leaving the group is a way to not make oneself small by striving for a feeling of acceptance or belonging. Staying self-contained and true to oneself while participating in such a group can be isolating - unless a person is also self-content.
As a psychologist I must factor this "hunger" into most of the work I perform. It is of great significance; some attribute it to the observation that most babies and toddlers exist in this very environment; that would be one of a hunger for attention, approval and/or acknowledgement. We all were in this stage and perhaps not all have moved completely beyond this stage. If indeed, some never get beyond this stage or perhaps the threads of this stage could that explain this issue? I bet Jean Piaget was on to this...
And do you feel personally that moving completely beyond this stage is possible and desirable? I do see evidence that the feeling of a lack of attention in childhood can haunt a person through life if not consciously addressed. Great significance!
Yes indeed Emanate P, I do believe Jean Piaget would have concluded the same, that is, that it is possible to move beyond this stage, many do and it is indeed desirable. Research supports lack of attention affecting many children later in life...
connorj, I looked up Jean Piaget. He declared in 1934 that "only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual." What groups are working with processes and tools developed from research like his?
Emanate, the whole field of Emotional Intelligence has followed up on Piaget's theme. See Goleman (1996). Also Joseph Chilton Pearce (Magical Child Matures, and other works). Also the HeartMath Institute.
Sid, interesting. I visited HeartMath Insititute in Boulder Creek, California and did not know the connection. Thanks.
Everybody wants attention, everybody wants to be acknowledged. We are social creatures and we cannot live alone. We always want our friends to appreciate us, in that way we can live positively. We always want to stand out and make people see us no matter what. Some have more hunger for attention than normal but I think that everyone has the same level of hunger for attention. So in the end the only reason why we want this attention and acknowledgement is because we are human.
Yes, I understand this, and do not contradict you. I am wondering though, are we 'whole humans'? Or are we incomplete, functioning at far less than our wholeness because we don't face issues like neediness for attention and growing into maturity?
I believe that we are not yet "whole" as we are born without much knowledge, but this knowledge is earned as we grow older. And yes, we are incomplete without others, as to say once again that we are social creatures.
It would be great to sit over a cup of coffee and talk about this. The comment section is so limited. I feel that being complete in oneself first, without dependency on others, is essential. Each person whole in themselves makes a healthier society.
I am not professionally trained in this, but I'll take a shot anyway.
I lean toward the root cause as being a huge ego, paired with a very low self esteem. I know. Don't make sense. But read me out. Many people require a huge amount of attention to validate their own existence. They require this attention to convince themselves that they do count. They "need" to stand out. That is why many people will associate themselves with people that are less educated or less talented or less wealthy. They have this insatiable need to feel above the rest but cannot acheive this on their own merit. So to fulfill the need to feel on top, they lower the bottom rather than to rise themselves. They don't have enough confidence in themselves to risk failure in order to achieve success. So, by doing this, setting yourself apart, you automatically attract attention. Whether this attention be positive or negative, almost doesn't matter. Attention is the goal. That is especially prominent in children. ConnerJ, I'm sure can appreciate this idea that if a child doesn't get their required attention from their parents by doing positive things, they will do negative things. Attention is attention. Adults do the same. We are just a little more complex in a much more complex world.
So, in a nutshell, people needing much attention, want to be equal or greater than others while feeling inferior or less than others.
I work with new people in alcohol recovery and most of these people have a very low self image. After time, when they realize that they are not bad people trying to be good, but are sick people trying to get well, their self image improves dramatically and their need for attention diminishes at the same rate. I don't know how that works, but it does.
Idono, you have made an astute observation. Huge ego and low self esteem are the same as 'incomplete human' (comment to Darksage.) How can this be addressed? Self-awareness, passion to be whole, and relentless inner work. Letting go & re- pattern
I think it starts with being honest with one's self. That creates foundation to build on that can possibly attract attention to what you do, rather than the image you try to project. Then, attention just happens. Creating attention no longer needed.
Nothing needs to be added to make us whole. We just need to discover all of our parts, actualize each, and integrate them in harmony. (That's body, mind, and more, not just mental/brain functions.)
Sid, 'We just need to discover all of our parts, actualize each, and integrate them in harmony.' - Well said. Will look into this further....
I've been reading Buddhist psychology recently, and what is found there mirrors my own 30 years of practice. These needs arise from our experiential advanced mammalian mind, the brain that creates social groupings, sometimes called the "right brain." Experimental psychology has identified five such needs: security, connection, feeling worthy, feeling competent, autonomy. They can work with or against one another. (Autonomy, in particular, can run against connection and security.)
We can embrace, fully accept, and transcend these needs in a few different ways. My personal favorite is meditation, based in Zen, that integrates all six neural centers. When right and left brain are balanced, and are guided by the heart, pre-frontal cortex, and neocortex, these needs are easily held in a higher or deeper consciousness.
We can also work with a simpler balancing of right brain and left brain, seeking rational balance in meeting our needs for others and also for autonomy, opening to higher purpose and to the spiritual work of being truly alone and all one.
At least, that's how I work on it!
Research to support Left-Right brain localization has been refuted...
Sid, I say, whatever works for people is worthwhile. As you know from our conversations, I like to go beyond facts and figures (connorj's research) as I feel there is natural intelligence beyond the intellect and academics. Still they have a place.
ConnorJ, we agree. That's why I put "right brain" in quotes. Localization is still a problem, and neocortical integration the solution. Emanate, we each find our own way. I do, and then share repeatable processes all can learn.
'My personal favorite is meditation, based in Zen, that integrates all six neural centers.' - from this I am interested to know more. You said earlier you are writing a book?
I have learned that seeking attention could stem from the inherent need to belong or a feeling of insignificance. To belong to a certain group. If you're in the group, then you have their seal of approval. And therefore you are acknowledged as someone. No!
You can focus on the bigger picture, the grand design, so to speak. Look at it as, you being a small but very important part of that picture.
Like in a jig-saw puzzle, all the pieces fit together to form the bigger picture. Similarly, you are already a part of something bigger and doesn't need to feel the need to seek a special type of attention. You are already special, you are beyond the need to seek attention, approval or acknowledgement.
Excellent. The way out of the mental self-imprisonment of neediness for attention/approval is a shift in the way one looks at oneself and the world. It is helpful to *feel* the grand design, the greater reality - to experience it in the body. Thanks!
Each answer given contributes to my forming a more complete picture of the root causes and how can a person move beyond these needs for attention, approval and acknowledgement.
Each of our perspectives is unique, based on our individual life experiences, and that makes this brief Q & A interaction richer.
Personally I feel like connorj that the subject is of great significance.
I would like to continue dialog on subjects of significance to the emerging new humanity, with opportunity to clarify and expand on the thread, explore and share additional insights and so on. Yet it is not feasible in this Q and A setting. Today I discovered a forum for such discussions at http://www.collectivelyconscious.net/
I have keen interest in such things as the experimental psychology mentioned by Sid and the research cited by connorj, up to a point. Then I am urged to continue ahead finding my own unique way as I suppose each person is.
If a person is passionate about making their own shift in consciousness, self-awareness is crucial. It can be a pain in the butt to 'know (as Kahlil Gibran wrote) my self, to know it completely, to know its minutiae...' Traditions, teachings and techniques have not worked for me. It seems I am here this lifetime to know and re-create myself through reflection, intuition and integrating life experience.
I don't relate very deeply to the language of brain science or research. I see their value and respect the information, but my poetic soul is drawn in another direction.
The grand design of skperdon speaks to me, as I have found that experientially feeling the greater 'inner' reality is a truly effective way to go beyond the needs of the incomplete human for external social and sensory attention. Meditation will help some people. I have my own 'direct' way. I don't claim to have arrived at self-completion. It is, as they say, a process.
There is so much more that could be discussed such as IDONO's writing of "a huge ego, paired with a very low self esteem" which makes perfect sense to me since I define ego as the incomplete self. It compensates for low self esteem through its need for attention - the human infant which never matures.
Wow, we didn't know we were entering a group session, but I'd say, 'good work, everyone!'
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