I crave love and touch and attention.
That’s not a bad thing. It’s human nature.
It’s the way you satisfy the craving that can be dangerous, or awesome!
In an ideal world we all would find love by first giving love. We’d never crave attention because our self-value wouldn’t be tied to whether or not people like us. Our awesomeness would attract people who want to spend time with us. Those people would feed our souls with laughter and love and sex. We’d create a close circle of connected friends and family. That’s the best kind of attention.
But that kind of self-love takes time and work.
Unfortunately, most of us live in a world where technology creates false connection and the illusion of friendship. Meanwhile, our craving for attention and love never gets satisfied. (no matter how many of our photos get Liked)
So when times get desperate and our identity needs a serious boost, there’s a quick fix that we can access anytime.
We fixate on whatever isn’t going right in our world and dress it up. We put it on display and get everyone around us to feel the same sadness, pity and misery that we feel. Co-miserating feels sooooo good. For about 30 seconds.
Then self-esteem crashes. There’s a consensus that your life sucks, but no solution or support. You’ve scraped the barrel of your soul for any self-value you might’ve had and traded it for some woe-is-me.
How is that working out for you?
Where it gets dangerous in relationships is when people start to use the temporary power of self-pity to seduce a partner. Whether it’s to convince someone to go to bed, to get into a relationship or stay in a relationship, playing the victim is a surprisingly effective mode of relationship building.
The problem is, it only lasts for a hit.
You have to create a constant stream of escalating drama to sustain that relationship. The constant crisis is exhausting!
No partnership can thrive when you desperately need drama and conflict to feel connected. It eventually crashes and burns in an epic Michael Crichton-like story that can be told by each partner to their friends to generate more attention and pity.
This never-ending cycle is impossible to break without facing yourself and looking inward to find the love and acceptance that you are really craving.
So what do you do?
Start a gratitude practice
Get out your ol’ moleskin. Every morning write down the 3 things you’re most grateful for. When I started doing the 5 minute journal, and gratitude was the first thought I had after opening my eyes, my whole life shifted. Yup.
Talk to a coach
Self pity happens to everyone, and it sneaks up on you. Sometimes talking to a coach (like me) can help you see things from a new perspective. Unfortunately, your friends and family can’t be completely honest with you about how negativity is affecting your relationship. It’s your friend’s responsibility to encourage you and make you feel safe. It’s my job to challenge you and call you out for defaulting to self-pity. I’ll also give you tools and exercises for figuring it out. Whether you connect with me or any other coach, talk to someone!
Start giving love wherever you can
Write a love note to your Mom, your dog, your inner critic or the person who last broke your heart. Give a friend flowers for no reason and call the friends you’ve fallen out of touch with. Whatever you wish other people would do for you, start doing for other people. They will get the hint and start mirroring the love and attention back to you.
By practicing gratitude, talking to someone and giving love, you will stop confusing love and adoration with cheap attention. But it takes patience and effort.
So prepare yo’self.