“I Like Attention,” The Difference Between Co-Dependency and Self Worth

I wouldn’t call myself an attention-seeker for a variety of reasons. I am a shy, introverted person upon occasion, and especially in large groups I tend to “entertain” better in smaller groups. It has come to my attention (ha-ha) lately that within certain relationships I crave attention. These certain relationships tend to be the more romantic genre, and through my teenage years I wanted the attention of my romantic partners and only their attention. I take this aspect of my relationship history as a stepping stone to understanding myself and respecting myself, and the only way for me to learn was to know both sides. I would’ve referred to myself as “co-dependent” back then.

Now I trust that I can be alone and still sustain happiness and other relationships. Good for me, right? I still crave attention. I still want to have someone think about me, think about an outing or inviting me somewhere, someone else planning something for my benefit. Is that selfish? Well, no, I have come to think of it as getting what I deserve.

That in itself sounds selfish, hold on.

Growing up I was taught to not rely on a man, woman, or anyone else, to believe in myself, a proud sign in my eighth grade classroom that I keep with me in my memory to this day read “Stand Up for what YOU Believe in Even if You Are Standing Alone!” and that rang a sense of independence into me. Through my elementary years I was told to date lots of boys, travel, and study hard. Great things to learn at that age, and I took that to heart through highschool, I dated a lot of boys, but the things that I was being taught didn’t tell me that I was entitled to some things within relationships.

Like honesty, loyalty, input on any decision making, things that are sort of common sense now, thngs that I would not put up with now in my relationships used to drive me away from my independence when I didn’t think I was entitled to it. I remember a good friend of mine telling me in my later teens that I would date anyone who would give attention to me because I liked the attention and that’s it, it didn’t matter who the guy was, my type of guy was one who would talk to me. That’s incredibly rude to me now, because I value attention, because I want to feel like an equal part in a relationship, but back then those boys weren’t giving me attention to give me an equal part, but for other reasons.

So, as I’ve grown up within my own relationships and my own self, I’ve come to terms with my self worth. I’ve learned to respect myself, and accepted the fact that I do like to have attention. But now I consider having attention in a relationship as being valued, as given the attention I deserve instead of attention that is for a sexual purpose or to serve a boyfriend’s needs. I want attention in all aspects, I want a voice, because I deserve those things.

So, it may seem uncommon or unsavoury to come out and say that I want attention, but its justified for me to want to be valued and get what I deserve in my relationships. There comes a point in your life where you have to acknowledge that although it may seem selfish (in a childish way, in my opinion) to take care of yourself first, but that is essentially what we are here for. Maybe that is a twenty-something-centric mindset, but I believe that we must take care of ourselves sin order to serve others, and that is the best way to get through this crazy, chaotic, ever-changing, strange, confusing, beautiful life that we had no choice but to lead.

Xx Jess

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