Your Attention, Please.

Villain, Victim, Victor: the three ways I can see myself in my quest for attention. As a victim I get consolation; as a villain, condemnation; and as a victor, congratulations. Which of those strokes I predominantly seek will dig ruts for the wheels of my life.

Admittedly, this idea came to me when I was scrolling through Facebook posts. All people crave attention, but social media makes it possible for cowards and complainers to garner attention in ways only possible on bathroom walls a generation ago. Before you flog me, I’m not calling all social media users cowards, just saying some cowards have a new tool.

There is nothing wrong with wanting attention, especially if you can take that long jump of faith and seek God’s attention over man’s. But most of us, in our humanness, want attention with skin on it. We want Likes.

trainSkin attention comes in various shades. The kind I pursue will  set a trajectory for the course of my life, draw certain personality types my way, and drive others far from me. I can change tracks, but it’s not easy. The thought and behavior patterns I adopt hold me in place, in a certain place. We trains chug along for years, unaware of the forces that play upon us. Once in a while an event can throw us off our tracks: marriage, divorce, babies (way off the tracks), landing a job, getting fired, a car crash, spiritual awakening, a trip to rehab, etc.. But generally crazy seeks out crazy; trains get comfy on their chosen tracks, and life flies by us while we gaze at the horizon or at the screens in our laps. We wake up one day, surprised at where our track has taken us.

So I’m asking myself: What kind of attention do I crave? I went back through my timeline and evaluated my posts just now. The majority of my posts are bragable moments; I default victor (although when my cat died, you bet I posted about it).

Most people will find a human mix of villain, victim, and victor posts.

Villains post messages that tick folks off. They cower behind Facebook and slam whoever recently offended them. In general terms, of course, but we all know who they’re talking about…

Victims post a play-by-play of their pitiable medical conditions, in minutia, or they find a thousand different ways to say Woe is me. Or I’m such a loser. (You better comment that he’s not a loser, or else.)

Victors use Facebook as a trophy case. That’s cool, so long as we keep it human. Our high water marks can encourage people or make them feel like dirt. Be aware. Be sensitive.

I admit it was interesting to scroll through my own posts and see what kind of attention I generally seek. What flavor of attention do you prefer? Villain. Victim. Victor. We’re all asking the question: May I have your attention, please?