You’re out with your friends, and one of them keeps saying “Oh I am so ugly, and I should change my looks, my personality, and my everything” and keep going on and on with it. And you repeatedly tell her/him to stop it because they are awesome and beautiful, but they refuse to believe it. This is simply attention seeking, and here is why they do it, why you do it, and what you can do about it:
We all have an ego, that likes to have a mind of its own and takes over our thoughts. Usually, it takes over in a ‘you can’t have/be this’ way and makes us feel bad about ourselves or our actions. Every person has that ego, some can control it better than others. And when you let it get the best of you, it often likes to ask for attention, and confirmation that you are good enough and worthy.
Now, why do we tell our friends that we are fat or need to lose weight? Firstly, because we usually believe this is true. However, if it is true, then why do we have to tell them, and why don’t we just do something about it? Because, no matter how much we think it’s true, we want it not to be, and thus seek approval of others, just to make sure they don’t have the same image of you. Secondly, because we are insecure and need to be made sure that we are wrong, so that we feel loved by others. And we feel like we need this, because we lack love from ourselves.
This is not only an issue with weight or appearance, but it could be anything, like feeling like you talk to much, brag or keep repeating the same things. So it can be habits or issues you have with your own personality. It is hard to have someone tell you that there is something you need to change about yourself, and so you phrase it in a way that they would give you compliments about that specific insecurity. It’s kind of like a defence mechanism for your own mind.
But don’t worry – you can change this. All you need is a little bit of willpower. Once you get over the issue yourself, and start approving yourself despite the insecurity, you will no longer feel the need for attention from others. And trust me, your own attention is so much more worthwhile. Use affirmations like “I approve of myself” and say them over and over again, and when you see yourself attention seeking, stop it and talk about something else.
You can also help others stop the habit.
When they ask for a compliment by downing themselves, simply ignore it and change the topic. They will realise that asking for attention will not give them what they want anymore, and they will break the habit. Then, they would probably realise that they themselves have insecurities and will proceed to release them. This has worked with some of my friends, and it also made me feel better, because they were no longer telling me how awful they were – nothing a friend wants to hear.
So have an awesome, self-approving day