Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
One of the areas that I have always struggled with is getting attention. On the one hand I crave it, and on the other hand, I get afraid of it. This is a fear that I have faced, but it is multi-layered and I am noticing that it is a complicated thing. It is not as simple as just being afraid of being noticed by people, it is a fear that is triggered by some events, but not by others.
Let me explain: I have been in Toastmasters for a number of years. This is a non profit organization that teaches public speaking and leadership. I have given a lot of speeches over the years and I’m quite comfortable doing it. I have also appeared in community theater and I’ve made some short films which I acted in. I like doing that. Not to mention of course, that I also write this blog where I routinely explore my own emotions.
Clearly, I’m not a wall flower. Yet when I meditate I find that there is still a deep fear there of receiving attention. I notice that I flinch a bit when I receive praise. When I ask myself where this comes from, I’m fairly certain that this has to do with the high level of sensitivity that comes from being psychic.
We all have pictures in our minds of how wonderful it is to be the center of attention, but this is a far cry from how we normally act when this actually occurs. For most people, this is an unusual occurrence and therefore tends to put their minds on overload. I’ve seen people’s faces turn bright red, watched them get very stiff or go into an aw shucks routine and then retreat to someplace else without looking anyone in the eye.
The fact is that for highly sensitive people, becoming the center of attention often carries unwanted associations. As children, most of us were rarely the center of attention except when we did something wrong, in which case, the attention was of the type we feared the most: being yelled at and/or scolded. Because we assumed guilt and shame so easily as kids, these incidents got hardwired into our brains. In this case, attention becomes something to be actively feared.
Now the interesting part is that this doesn’t apply in all cases. The belief systems behind getting attention aren’t consistent in all cases. For example. I can take a deep breath and give a speech to 200 people more easily than I can tell a story in front of five people and have them all stare at me with undivided attention. These two situations don’t feel the same. I can get up on stage and act out a part more easily than I can accept more than a couple of people giving me praise for something.
So this difficulty in receiving attention is not an all or nothing affair. There are shades of gray. I get the impression that it has to do with how personal the attention feels. Acting and giving speeches allows a bit of distance and there is something else to concentrate on. I know that personally I can diminish my fear simply by focusing entirely on the task at hand. But it is triggered if it is too personal. I think that when a few people are giving me their full attention and I have to give it back, that it is harder to switch off the fear-of-attention mode. Immediacy makes a difference.
The real challenge comes when highly creative people (that would be us psychic types) need to have attention upon ourselves in order to be successful in our creativity.
This puts us in the uncomfortable position of both needing and dreading attention at the same time. This is a recipe for neurotic behavior, which can often be observed in psychic people. I can’t help but wonder if this is somehow tied to our efficiency, (or lack thereof) in using psychic ability. If we have an unconscious fear of attention, then dampening our psychic ability would certainly be part of this because when it is spot on it attracts a great deal of attention.
And this might have something to do with the depression that psychic people often experience. Both needing and fearing attention can be very debilitating. I just have to wonder how much this has to do with our psychological make up.
Examining this fear of attention brings up these issues and more. I think that it is an area that deserves our attention. What I’ve written here is only a start. I’ve written this as much to try and give myself more perspective as to share it. I promise to return to this subject if I can get some more perspective on it. Right now, I feel as if it is too close.