Behavior Modification

Attention Please! Love Needed!

Attention Please! Love Needed!
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I strongly believe everyone's basic need is to love and be loved. From the baby to the elderly, everyone wants love -- even the animals and the planet. As I look around me, especially if I look at what's happening in the world events, I realize that this basic need has somewhat become distorted. The need for love has been translated by some as the need for attention. When we were children, the people who loved us also paid attention to us. We learned to interpret receiving attention as being loved.

What happens? People who are starved for love go out and try to get attention! Now some people may do that by becoming prominent in a constructive way by being in theater, media, or the top in their field. Others choose another route. They go the way of theft, murder, rape, bombs, wars, etc.

Gone are the days where we can sit and shake our heads at how terrible the world has become... the youth of today... etc. We are part and parcel of that world. If it has 'gone downhill' we are also responsible. We have contributed to the society that has turned over their children to TV for upbringing. We have supported those same programs that teach children (through role-models) that crime is a way of getting attention. We even watch movies that are real life stories of murderers of children and parents (talk about giving them attention). There are no innocent bystanders here... we are all a part of the show.

Even our beloved planet has gotten in on the action. She also is looking for love...for us to nurture her, stop hurting her, etc. She is vying for our attention through earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, viruses, etc. Planet Earth is saying, along with all other attention seekers, pay attention please! I need help, I need love. Is someone out there? Can anyone help me? Is anybody listening?

The answer to the above questions is obviously "yes". We are here, and we can help. We have already started to help the planet somewhat by focusing on recycling, replanting trees, teaching children (and adults) to love and nurture the planet and themselves.

What can we do for the violence, anger, crimes? My answer to that is: Pay attention! But not by focusing on the crime, or on 'how terrible it is'... (i.e., Did you hear what so-and-so did?, etc.) That is just rewarding aberrant behavior. We need to start paying attention to the youth. Give them attention now before they turn to criminal behavior to get noticed, to get the media to print their names, TV to talk about them, and so on.

There is no need to look down upon people who have turned to 'negative' ways of eliciting attention. We need to reach out and help them out of the rut they are in. We need to show them, by our caring and loving actions, that there is another way to get attention. We need to help them learn that attention backed by love is much more fulfilling and rewarding than attention fueled by fear, anger and rejection.

What Can You and I Do?

As people who are "into" higher consciousness and spirituality, we need to take action—positive action. Contact your local schools and see what organizations need volunteers. Donate your time to youth centers, offer used books to prison libraries, organize some activities for children and teenagers where they can learn the value of getting attention in positive and collaborative ways.

Ask city hall, talk to the teachers, the baseball coaches, the parents. How can we start giving children attention now? How can we help rehabilitate society so that attention-seekers do not have to revert to crime. Let's provide opportunities for supporting the development of self-esteem, self-respect and self-love in the youth... This will lead to their respecting and loving the environment and the people in it.

Let us also remember the adults. Look around you and see how you can share your love and attention with those who need it. Sometimes, a simple smile can make a world of difference... someone who didn't think they mattered may feel special because you took the time to stop and chat, or to really listen to them, or hold the door open for them at the supermarket.

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There is one commodity that we all have an abundance of — love. It's free and it comes in an unlimited supply. Love is ours to give. It is a powerful healer of emotional wounds. It answers all needs. Let's share our love with those who need it (and don't we all?) and watch love grow — and see the transformations happen!

It is up to you and to each one of us. If we are the light bearers, then let us shine our light where it is needed, in the dark corners, in the gutters, in the hearts of those who need it the most.

It is wonderful to love other light bearers...that is easy. Now let's go out and plant some seeds of light where they are greatly needed, and really watch the world light up!

Related Book

Coming of Age at the Millennium: Embracing the Oneness of Humankind
by Nathan Rutstein

 Coming of Age at the Millennium: Embracing the Oneness of Humankind by Nathan RutsteinIn the twenty-first century, humanity is in a far different condition than it was at the last turn of the century. Mind-boggling changes have taken us from horse and buggy to manned spaceflights to the moon, enabling us to see the planet we live on from outer space. As a result, the provincialism of nationhood is giving way to a growing sense of globalism. Humanity stands at the threshold of a reality that has always existed but which has never before been recognized by the masses: the oneness of humankind.

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About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on

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