Can I have your your attention?
By Mike Maeshiro
Children have no problem demanding attention and exposing their shameless desire for it. Did our appetites change or did we just learn how to hide them better?
Attention is such a hot commodity we’re taught to pretend we don’t want. We’re told that maturity means we’re content to live in the shadows.
But there’s a problem...
We want people to notice us.
We want to be seen.
We want to be recognized and acknowledged.
We want to be celebrated.
We’re not allowed to admit we want these things?
Well, I disagree.
On my journey, I’ve found that my desire for attention hasn’t increased from getting it, it has matured. I recovered from being ashamed or embarrassed for harboring a deep longing for the spotlight. Having received plenty of attention throughout my life, from speaking on stages all around the world to having a social media following of hundreds of people responding to my daily activities, I’m grateful to have discovered that I never actually craved attention; I craved the light. I craved being known and understood, both in intimate relationships and in the world I lived in. I didn’t want to be noticed for my own glory, I wanted to be acknowledged as a legitimate contributor to the conversation. Once that desire was validated, it’s amazing how little I cared about whether people noticed me or not. The irony of this journey is the less we need to be seen, the more seen we become.
Everyone wants to be seen, to whatever degree. Maturity isn’t disguising this desire but admitting it and allowing ourselves to be seen in that place. We let the light touch us and as we acclimate to the warmth and applause, we discover within ourselves the desire to expand the light and warm our brothers.
There’s a clash that happens when we accept being seen. It’s the relinquish of the illusion that we have some control over how we’re perceived. The truth is, we’re not as in control of other’s perception of us as we like to think, we simply rest comfortably in the delusion that they can’t see us if we hide.
Being seen isn’t as much a natural state as it is a spiritual one. It’s an internal struggle of accepting who we are, glory and faults alike, regardless of whether other people follow suit or not.
When we embrace the light, we defy the lie that hiding is acceptable. We expose the drudgery of cowardice in the dark. We become the object of offense to those who are still hiding whilst simultaneously becoming the beacon of hope to those who want to come out.
God didn’t create a glorious people to hide them but to put them on display. Maturity looks like embracing the light, whatever our platform, and standing tall regardless of who’s watching. It’s time to grow, it’s time to be seen. It’s time to admit you want it and that it’s okay that you desire for your traits and feats to be recognized. Go ahead, admit it. You were born of love, it’s only natural that you should celebrate what you are and what you do, that’s definitely what love is doing.