I like getting attention. You could almost say that it is quite a fundamental need of mine because it is tied into how I perceive my own value in other people’s lives. It is also potentially one of my largest flaws.
While the name of my blog may be misleading, the truth is that I really don’t care to be the center of attention. I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t need to be leading the conversation, or in the limelight, but I do thrive when I receive a little bit of recognition for who I am, my contributions, or skills, or whatever it is that I think I am doing well and would like other people to appreciate. I really get a lot of mileage out of genuine and heartfelt compliments or thanks.
Like I said, this is something I am not proud of. I would really like to not care what other people think of me. There are some areas of my life where I do this better than others. At this point, I’m not sure any person still building their sense of personal worth can really thrive without any recognition or at least a little positive reinforcement, but I know that I could be a lot less reliant on it.
Perhaps because of my innate need to be seen, heard and noticed, I often do find myself getting a lot of attention. While I am far from being the most popular person in the world, I do garner some attention in my little internet space. I have a presence that seems to draw other people to watch me, whether on Facebook or whether it is here on my blog. I also tend to find a way to get noticed and put to use at church, or actually, in any social structure I am in – at the work place, or in the swing dance community, for example. I am aware of this, but this is not done as consciously as you might think.
Well, some of it is more intentional than others. I will say that in organizations, I am intentional about making sure people get to know me, and that I get to know others. I look for opportunities to get involved and contribute because it solidifies my sense of belonging in the group. And belonging is important to me – I know it isn’t as important to everyone in the same way.
At the same time, it is never my aspiration to “float to the top” and assume leadership positions. I don’t care to lead. I just want to be involved. It is never my intention to flaunt or show off my skills so that I can gain popularity or a following of fans. Often, I do things out of a desire to share. I love to sharing everything that I enjoy. This desire is genuine, though it can be construed as being showy. I am not completely innocent, though. Because of human pride, I admit that I sometimes do things for the sake of showing off, subconsciously or otherwise. I really don’t like that and am constantly trying to keep myself in check.
Anyway, this has been on my mind because I have lately found myself smack dab in the middle of a lot of things and getting a lot of attention, at church, and to a smaller extent, on the internet. At church, this has come in the form of opportunities to serve, which leads to compliments, and then, naturally (as church goes), increased responsibility and usability.
Here, I admit, sheepishly, that I like it. I love being able to be useful. I love knowing that I can be good at what I do. I love being someone that the ward or the stake needs. I am not being cocky when I say that I have been blessed with many skills and talents. It is the truth. Denying that would be untruthful and ungrateful of me. Everybody has talents, I’ve just been lucky to have been given opportunities to discover them and hone them. I like being able to use them, because using them makes me feel valuable, because I really want to serve and build the Lord’s kingdom, and because I like this process of improving myself.
There are many kinds of people who get responsibility in organizations. There are ones who are proud of themselves and their leadership positions, and there are those who are humbly and quietly doing their part. Both cannot avoid attention. Both will always be looked to as examples. I hope that I will learn to be more of the latter.
I hope that when I am asked to serve, it will not be because I am the obvious choice – extroverted, social, skilled, or possessing of leadership qualities. I hope that I will be asked to serve because I am willing and committed, and because I am focussed on doing things with the right spirit.
The way I live my life, I think the attention is unavoidable. It is something I simply have to be responsible with. At the end of the day, I hope that I never make it about me. Right now, I am still learning to work this balance out because I like that I am noticed, but I need to be more humble.
I want to get to a point where when people see me, I won’t want them to think what an awesome person I am. Right now, I still want people to know that I’m great (I like to be liked, ok?), but my truest, deepest desire that I aspire for, is for them not to see me at all. I want them to see my righteous yearnings, perhaps, but when I speak, all I want them to hear is the Spirit. When I serve, I hope that they will feel the Savior’s love. Whatever I have that they want to enjoy, I hope they will see that it is simply blessings from a loving Heavenly Father, and nothing to do with me at all. I want to be a witness of his goodness and mercy. I want my life to be about Him and not about me.
I keep thinking back to the song by Julie de Azevedo “A Window to His Love”
I want to be a window to His love,
so when you look at me you will see Him.
I want to be so pure and clear that you won’t even know I’m here,
’cause His love will shine brightly through me.
I want to be a doorway to the truth,
so when you walk beyond you will find Him.
I want to stand so straight and tall, that you won’t notice me at all.
But through my open door He will be seen.
I want to be a window to His love,
so you can look through me and you’ll see Him.
And some day shining through my face, you’ll see His loving countenance,
’cause I will have become like He is
A window to His love.
A doorway to the truth.
A bearer of the message He’d have me bring to you
And with each passing day
I want to fade away.
‘Till only He can be seen And I become a window to His love.
In my life so far, I’ve been so focussed on developing my individual identity and personality. While I will always be individually me, it is my hope and prayer that one day, all you will see in my countenance is the reflection of the Savior, and that who I am will be swallowed up in who He is.