My husband worked with a young man who often led worship. One day, he was caught doing something illegal, and as a result, my husband didn’t remove him from his responsibility completely, instead, he placed him backstage, or as a backup, rather than the lead, until he could get back on his feet. The problem is that this young man could not see himself succeeding in life unless he was in front, leading. He made the statement; “Without this, I am nothing!” I don’t know if you have ever met someone like that, who felt the need to be in the spotlight constantly in order to feel successful or even worthy before others.
The Free Dictionary defines to be in the spotlight as literally, to be positioned in a beam of light, typically while performing onstage, and by extension, to be the center of attention.The Free Dictionary
The appealing thing about being in the spotlight is that it comes with some cool perks like recognition, adoration, appreciation, fame, popularity, etc. However, it is one thing to be thrust into the spotlight as a result of your career, as in the case with actors, writers, public speakers, and politicians among others, and another thing to seek out to be the center of attention. Lauren Conrad once said; “Some people are willing to betray years of friendship just to get a little bit of the spotlight.” Sadly, there is some truth to that.
Billi Gordon, Ph.D., is a co-investigator in the Ingestive Behaviors & Obesity Program, Center for the Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Gordon was recently named as one of the 50 most influential Neuroscientists alive today. He calls the insatiable need to be in the spotlight as Excessive Attention Seeking and Drama Addiction. In his article by the same title, he states that, “Excessive attention seeking is not a character flaw. It is a brain wiring response to early developmental trauma caused by neglect. The developing brain observes its environment and wires itself accordingly to survive in that world that it presumes will be like those experiences.”
I know you probably think that cannot be the case, however, keep in mind I am not talking about occasionally being in the spotlight, I am talking about people who fall into a deep depression if the universe does not revolve around them. You probably know some of them or might be one yourself; attention seekers who are magnets to drama everywhere they go. Dr. Gordon explains that these are actual addictions which are not fixable, however, they are manageable. Here’s my disclaimer: Although there is psychological damaged done, God can heal ALL conditions, and addictions!
With that in mind, here is what Dr. Gordon prescribes:
1. Begin by accepting who you are.
2. Love what you have more than what you do not have (even if it is a challenge and difficult to manage.)
3. Find a person who is honest, and cares enough about you to tell you the truth, even when you do not want to hear it. You can ask this person if your emotional interpretation of a situation is over the top.
4. Use creative outlets to lessen your baseline stress level. Meditate. Do yoga. (I will insert, Pray and exercise as well)
5. Act as if you are not a drama queen and a compulsive attention seeker. The more you do that the more efficiently those neurons will fire. Hence, the easier that behavior will become.
He concludes his article stating that it is important to realize that not all neglect is evidence of a lack of love. “Sometimes, people only have so much they can give; sometimes that is not enough. There is healing in accepting that your parents did not give you as much attention as you required. Forgiving them for being who they were is getting to higher ground. Sometimes, you have to give yourself the attention you needed from parents.”
Personally, no matter what difficulty I face, I try to motivate myself to remain positive and fight through the urges to give into irrational thinking, or damaging behaviors. I often think back on something I learned in one of our Leadership principles with Abante International, “Always be aware of how your presence affects others.” See, the thing is that we must remind ourselves that contrary to our own belief, we are not the center of attention. The universe is enormous, and we are simply a speck in a sea of stars, planets, and cosmos. However precious, we remain a simple particle in the mix of it all. However, just think with me a little about the beautiful harmony of it all, as it works together to bring glory to the creator, rather than draw all the attention to the creation.