What would it be like if no one called, text, messaged, social media’d you for 48 hours? How would you feel? Would you like the uninterrupted solace or would you check your phone every hour in hopes for some form of digital human interaction? Some proof that someone is thinking of you, cares about you or needs you.

We all crave attention and there’s nothing wrong with that. We are social creatures who thrive on giving attention to and receiving attention from others. However, like with anything, too much of it can be addicting and alter our healthy behaviors. What’s crazy is most of us don’t even realize we have this addiction because it’s subtle and seemingly harmless. So who cares, right? Think again. When we place our self-worth in others’ hands we give them control of our self-esteem. No one should ever be in control of your self-esteem but you…that’s why it’s called “self”-esteem not “their”-esteem.

Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to determine if you have an attention addiction:

Are you using the “but people need me to be there for them” excuse?

There’s nothing wrong with helping people and being there for them. However, often times the people who we think need our help, really aren’t ready to change. They just need someone to listen to their drama and have no intentions of making changes to minimize their drama. You need to snip, snip those relationships because they are taking your time and energy away from healthy and positive relationships.

Do you always seek an outside person’s approval, counsel or attention to validate your value?

If your happiness level is directly related to how much outside approval you receive in a day, then you probably are placing too much of your self-worth on what other people say or think about you. Nothing wrong with admiration from others, but if you can’t find joy and happiness in yourself without it, then you are addicted to the attention of others.

Kicking Attention Addictions to the Curb

Like all addictions, you can get rid of them. Here are a couple of simple steps:

  • Don’t make a big deal about your addiction. Just know this is an area of your life you want to improve. If you judge yourself for your attention addiction, you will erode your self-esteem.
  • Schedule time with just yourself. At first, time by yourself might seem incredibly uncomfortable. To get you over the hump, do something you enjoy or are passionate about. Make sure you disconnect from all digital interactions. Start with short periods of time slowly extending your alone time to build your endurance…just like with exercise.
  • Search for your value. During your alone time, you will discover who you really are, not what the world says you are. You will also unveil your strengths and gifts. The more you explore your gifts, the stronger your self-esteem will be.

You see breaking your attention addiction isn’t that hard. You just need to give it a little time and “attention”. 

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