“YOU DIDN’T JUST WANT ATTENTION! YOU WERE JUST BEING YOU!”
I was having a conversation with a long time friend who’s on his own journey of self-reflection and growth. A friend who is learning to get real with himself and turn shit around in his life.
After talking about the realizations he’s been having regarding his own experiences and things that he used to assume or misunderstand he blurted out, “I USED TO THINK YOU JUST WANTED ATTENTION!”
I was like, “Wait, what?”
I could tell he felt very “foot in mouth” at that moment. He went on to explain that he used to see my social media posts or Snapchat story, or he’d see how I acted in public, or how I dressed and think I just wanted attention. He really thought I would take a picture or do something just for a reaction.
He admitted to being irritated and annoyed by it at times.
“There goes Jamie again, Just trying to get a reaction.”
Honestly, I sat on the other end of the phone feeling a little shocked. This friend was someone who I thought knew me really well. He’s someone I had shared deep down, real, raw shit with, long before it was the norm for me to share that sort of shit out loud with everyone. And here he was telling me that “I WANT ATTENTION” was the vibe he was getting from me?
Wow- Just wow! Because that couldn’t be further from the truth. And it really made me think, but it also made me smile.
I was silent for a minute, and he said: “Let me finish….”
He said that a couple of months ago it just clicked and he realized nothing I was doing, both online and in real life, was for attention, it was just who I am. I was legit just sharing WHO I AM with the world.
He thought back to a time he was at my house when I was sitting on the couch in some silly graphic tee surrounded by puppies and weird things and being silly and loud and fun.
He said it was that memory that made him realize, “You’re not just posing, showing your cleavage and your cute dogs like, ‘Hey look at me!’ That’s literally just how you look all the time. That’s just your life.”
We both started laughing, and I could tell he felt awkward.
And I realized something pretty cool in that moment, I WASN’T OFFENDED AT ALL.
It was just more proof that THE REACTION DOESN’T BELONG TO ME. And that is one of the most freeing things I have ever accepted.
Think about it. Every time you share something, each person who sees it will take it a different way. It means something different to each person. They interpret it differently. One person may think you’re inspirational. One person may think it’s annoying. One person may think you’re an attention whore. One person may think you’re a strong person. One person may think you’re a weak person. One person may think you’re an asshole. One person may think you’re a sweetheart.
THE REACTION DOESN’T BELONG TO YOU.
It’s not about you. What you spark in other people is about THEM, not you.
When you realize that, and truly accept it, you’ll reach a whole new level of freedom and authenticity.
So this conversation affirmed that understanding even more for me. Someone who knew me—really well—was looking at things I was posting and still taking it in a negative light, still judging me… but that negativity and judgment didn’t have anything to do with what I was doing.
It was when he started LOOKING IN THE MIRROR that he realized his judgment of me was actually a light shining on his own insecurities. It was pointing out the things he wasn’t doing. The things he didn’t like about himself. And it turned into something “about me.” Because that’s easier.
Because that is what we do when we’re uncomfortable; we blame other people for it.
We point our fingers when our hands are dirty.
We throw stones that bounce up and crack our glass house.
We let our demons reflect onto someone else in our eyes, so we don’t have to see ourselves.
So there are two sides to this lesson my friends:
1- If someone triggers something negative in you, look in the mirror.
Look deep inside of yourself and identify WHY. What is going on in your life or what are you ignoring that is triggering this? Because that’s a heavy weight and you owe it to yourself to dig deep, shine the flashlight on that dusty secret or issue, and clear that shit out!
2- If someone reacts negatively or different to you than you expect, before you get your feelings hurt or start to try and defend yourself…Remember that it’s not about you. You’re just helping that person grow and learn more about themselves.
So do you. Be real. Be raw. Be passionate. Have integrity. And Be. The. Change.