We are conditioned to earn the attention of those we love. Be it our parents, our friends or our partners. This human condition was instilled in us in adolescence and carries through to our adult years without us ever knowing that it exists.
We have been trained to work in order to earn the attention of people, this was taught to us by our parents, our teachers, our family members and our friends. When we asked dad to come and play outside with us and he said he couldn’t because he was busy with work.
We then learnt that in order to get dad’s attention we needed to start trying to earn it. We would do this by trying to find out about his job, or by asking if we could help him when he was working on the car or on the house or even changing a lightbulb. This conditioning which seems very normal, to take an interest in what our parents were doing, is destructive. While yes we learn from our parents and we gain knowledge and skills by attempting to do things with them, it should never be the job of a child to have to ask permission to help their parents, especially if helping is the only way to gain their attention.
What this teaches us is that unless we work to be noticed we will not get the attention of the ones we love. This is why women are attracted to “bad boys” and why men are attracted to the women who ignore them. We feel obliged to gain the approval of those who deny us because we have been conditioned to do so. We consider rejection to be a normal stage in the process of affection and therefor try harder to get noticed – even after we have been turned down. Being rejected in some cases adds to the affection we feel for the individual.
This conditioning translates into our professional lives as well. Whereby we are constantly seeking the approval of employers or of our customers. We need to be noticed so much that we work ourselves insane. This conditioning leads to us having less fulfilling social and professional lives as we struggle day by day to receive the attention/validation that would make us feel more complete.
This struggle for approval can lead to more than personal destruction, it could be the starting point for a life of violent and unhealthy habits. This type of conditioning can lead to a person never feeling adequate, never feeling wanted or loved. We could go so far as to say that this type of conditioning could translate into a person never understanding the meaning of no. Seeing “No” more of a challenge rather than the personal right of another individual.
A man who has been conditioned in this manner might be more susceptible to the idea or rape as he has never had the acceptance of a loved one and therefor the word “No” to him is an invitation to try harder. (I would like to state for the record that I in no way believe that there is an excuse for rape or violent crimes of any type). It is this conditioning and lack of acceptance or lack of love, that could drive a person to self-harm, suicide or drug use – having never experienced acceptance the person would begin to work towards finding an escape.
It is a desire within each of us to feel loved and accepted. This is the “true human condition”. While we are unable to change our pasts, we can learn from them, we are able to show kindness and admiration freely without placing a cost or an expectation to our attention.
Give out compliments, build each other up rather than asking yourself “what can they do for me”. None of us ever really know what someone else is going through, and it is for this reason that I ask that you assume that whoever you are talking to has gone through worse than you have and that you’re able to show more empathy, more compassion and provide them freely with kindness.