Why am I such a beggar for attention? What can I do about it?
It is one of the human weaknesses, one of the deep-rooted frailties, to seek attention.
The reason one seeks attention is because one does not know oneself. It is only in other people’s eyes one can see his face, in their opinions he can find his personality. What they say matters immensely. If they neglect him, ignore him, he feels lost. If you pass by and nobody takes any attention, you will start losing what you have put together – your personality. It is something that you have put together. You have not discovered it, it is not natural. It is very artificial and very arbitrary.
It is not only you who is a beggar for attention; almost everybody is. And the situation cannot change until you discover your authentic self – which does not depend on anybody’s opinion, attention, criticism, indifference, which does not have anything to do with anybody else. Because very few people have been able to discover their reality, the whole world is full of beggars.
Deep down you are all trying to find attention; it is nourishment for your personality. Even if people condemn you, criticize you, are against you, that is acceptable, at least they are paying attention to you; if they are friendly, respectful, of course that is far better, but you cannot survive as a personality without some kind of attention. It can be negative, it can be positive, it doesn’t matter. People must say something about you; respectful or disrespectful, both fulfill the same purpose.
I would like you to think about the word respect. It does not mean honor, as it is said in all the dictionaries without exception. Respect simply means looking again, re-spect. When you are passing by on the road, somebody looks back again, you have caught his eye – you are somebody. Because respect gives you the idea of being somebody special, you can do anything stupid just to get attention.
In all the ages people have tried in a thousand and one ways to get attention. Those ways are not necessarily rational – for example, the punks in the West. What are they really wanting by cutting their hair in strange and weird ways, and then painting it with different psychedelic colors? What are they wanting? They are beggars. You should not be angry with them because that is what they want. You should not condemn them because that is what they want. Their parents should not criticize them because that is what they want. They cannot survive without people paying attention to them.