Do you want to be adored, cherished and given attention - like a queen?
How does this question make you feel? Scared? Intimidated? Excited?
Or, do you just want to yell out "hell, yeah!"?
I used to have an uneasy relationship with attention and adoration for most of my life - whether it came from a man, being in front of the room speaking, or even asking questions in a classroom. It made me feel uneasy. Shy. Exposed. Vulnerable. So I'd push it away, hide or not speak up.
But, when I did not get attention, I'd grow resentful, bitter, critical. I'd cry silently, "why doesn't anyone see me?"
Fast forward to today ...
That's me wearing a crown on my birthday a few weeks ago in a vacation get-away in the Sierras. I got to be Queen for the day - and I LOVED it. I had asked for this experience, and my friends were happy to oblige. My desires were my their commands.
Wearing my crown all day, I was the center of attention wherever I went. I walked around tall, receiving the attention, feeling the sensation of heat of everyone's eyes on me. It was hot and it was scary.
Most people celebrated with me. And, there were the occasional judgmental looks too, which I withstood with a smile.
How did I get here?
After peeling (and peeling and peeling) the layers of my fears and beliefs about myself, I had realized that beneath the resentment I was used to feeling all my life was unexpressed desires. Desires that I was too scared to admit to myself.
I was too scared to admit that I want to feel valued, special and cherished. To be appreciated. To be seen - and yes, even adored. I want it all! Exquisite attention on me. Adoration.
And, this is the kicker ... I wanted to feel my own power to move and affect another human being. Especially a man. Yes, I wanted to be that powerful.
Most of the time, I was not aware that I even had these desires … until I felt disappointed, hurt, angry, or resentful.
What was in my way? Fears and a big bunch of limiting beliefs.
- I disowned my desire. In my old way of thinking, seeking attention was taboo. I had a deep fear of being judged - as selfish at best, narcissistic at worst - if I asked for attention.
- I did not believe that I deserved attention. I had to earn it - and in my eyes, I was not thin enough, smart enough or accomplished enough to deserve it. So I hated attention because I feared that it was just a spotlight on how ugly I felt inside.
- I feared that if I received attention, I would owe something in exchange. Because of our brutal history, women often fear that we'll have to reciprocate, sacrifice or owe something in exchange - especially when it comes to sexual relations. In my mind, there was no way that someone would want to give me attention without an equal exchange of favors.
And all of these beliefs had me shut down, shrink and hide myself from attention.
Can you relate?
Here is the truth. Wanting attention is natural. It's wired in us. It's part of the human experience to want to be appreciated and understood. It's our birthright to be seen - deeply and for who we are.
Like we need air to breathe, food to survive, we need attention to nurture our souls. We need to be seen.
To admit to myself that I wanted that attention took a lot of working through my fears. I took a hammer to a brick wall of my false beliefs - and my own glass ceilings. And it took many hours and thousands of dollars of deep work with dedicated coaches to untangle a web of my own beliefs that dictated what I can and should desire.
This experience shifted how I now stand in front of the room, teaching and speaking. It shifted the grace with which I can receive attention. It influenced what I look and ask for in my relationships. And it opened the door to being deeply filled and nourished by the attention I had always wanted.
What is your relationship to attention?
Here are some questions for you to ponder:
- How do you want to be cherished and adored?
- What excites you about that?
- What scares you?
- What's what it like to not receive attention?
And if you are feeling particularly brave and are ready to break free and go after what you want ... Grant yourself permission to be a Queen, whether it's for a minute or an hour. Wear that crown and walk around like it's your birthright to be loved, cherished and adored. Experience what is it like to be the center of attention.
Let yourself be seen.